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Green Party Response to Bush State of the Union

by NATALIE JOHNSON LEE

Greetings from the Green Party, the party of peace!

Tonight the President promised America a policy of war. War on Iraq. War on minorities. War on the poor. War on regular working people. In response, the Green Party, America’s only growing political party, offers an alternative of peace.

I represent almost 30,000 working people in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I know my constituents personally, and I know their struggles for decent housing and decent work. When my constituents need help, they call me on the phone. That’s grassroots democracy in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Tonight, in Washington D.C., I must ask: “Who phoned Bush and asked for this war?” “Who phoned Congress and asked for this war?”

I know that America did not dial that number.

Someone else did.

I’ve got a message for the CEOs of the oil corporations and of the weapons manufacturers. You’re tying up the line. America is trying to get through.

Like 169 other Green city council members, mayors, county supervisors, school board members, and state representatives, my phone is ringing off the hook. Our constituents are calling us.

They are saying, “We are worried about this war.” They are saying, “We want respect and equality.” They are saying, “We want good jobs, education, and health care.” The Green response is always the same: “You are not alone. We will help you.”

That’s our message tonight.

* * *

The President promised a policy of war on Iraq. In response, the Green Party offers the only national security policy that really works: A policy whose goal is peace, not war.

America can make peace, not war, by putting a stop to the global trade in weapons. We must stop it at its source. That’s here, at home, in the United States. corporations are the prime suppliers of weapons to the world, and European corporations are not far behind. It’s common sense. It’s time to put the weapons manufacturers out of business.

America can make peace, not war, only if we are consistent in our support for democracy. The foreign policy of supporting “our” dictators against “their” dictators has been a failure. Saddam Hussein is in power today because the U.S. government once supported him, just as it once supported bin Laden. It is time instead to consistently support democracy. Perhaps it is unfair to expect George W. Bush to understand democracy, much less consistently promote it, but that’s the agenda that will win America trust and allies in an uncertain world.

America can make peace, not war, by helping the economies of the poorer countries of the world. Exploitation breed poverty, poverty breeds hatred, and hatred breeds terror. Unrestricted corporate power has caused massive unemployment across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and today threatens the United States as well. In its place, we need a global economic policy whose primary goal is the elimination of poverty, the creation of sustainable industries, and support for real democracy based on the empowerment of working people.

America can make peace, not war, by breaking the hold of the oil corporations on Congress. It’s time to kick the oil addiction. Right now. America has the technological know-how and the renewable resources to make the break. We can and should build up our solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources now.

Americans want security, not unending war. In its eagerness to invade Iraq, the political establishment has revealed its true purpose. Not security for Americans, but oil for corporations. Not peace in the Middle East, but military bases across the globe. Bush is no reluctant warrior, he is a warmongering draft-dodger, and together with a weak and compliant Democratic Party in Congress, he is threatening American interests.

The President claims the inspections have failed. He is wrong. In fact, his attempts to drum up a war fever are what has failed. The lives of millions of innocent Iraqi civilians are not worth one drop of Bush’s oil, and American soldiers should not be sacrificed for it. Let us build our security on a foundation of international peace, justice, and democracy.

* * *

Americans want a policy for domestic peace as well.

The Bush administration’s attacks on minorities don’t sit well with many Americans. The Democratic silence in the face of these attacks is shameful. The slogan “United We Stand” is mirrored by “Divided We Fall” and the constant chipping away at the legacy of the civil rights movement leaves us wondering why he is promoting division. Why the attacks on human rights, on immigrants, and on affirmative action?

Tonight, in Washington D.C., I must ask: “Who phoned Bush and asked for these attacks?”

I know that America did not dial that number.

I am a proud to be a member of the political party that guarantees the rights of ALL Americans. That’s the guarantee of the Green Party. We defend the rights of immigrants, and we call for amnesty for all undocumented workers. We support the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in housing, jobs, civil marriage and benefits, child custody and in all areas of life, the right to be treated equally with all other people. We believe in making right the wrongs of history, and we support affirmative action and reparations for slavery.

We Greens say to the President and to Congress: “Immigrants are not the enemy!” “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people are not the enemy!” “People of color are not the enemy!” It’s time to stop your war on minorities. It’s time to secure domestic peace through equal rights for all. That is the Green guarantee.

* * *

Americans want not only peace, we also want prosperity.

Struggling to pay for housing, struggling to pay for school, struggling to find a secure job, worrying about whether we’ll keep it, working people in this country have gotten a raw deal. Now the administration would compound our pain by cutting taxes on the rich, at a time when public services are being eliminated.

Tonight, in Washington D.C., I must ask: “Who phoned Bush and asked for these cuts?”

I know that America did not dial that number.

Bush calls it an economic stimulus package. Greens ask “economic stimulus for whom?” It is time for an economic stimulus package for the rest of us.

Where the Washington establishment wages a war on public education, social welfare, public lands, and local government, the Green Party takes a very different view.

We call for full federal funding to support children, families, the unemployed, elderly and disabled. We call for a graduated supplemental income to maintain all adult incomes above the poverty level. We support a guaranteed living wage for all Americans. We support health care for all through universal national health insurance. We support the preservation of public wildlands for future generations. We support the labor movement and call for the repeal of the undemocratic Taft-Hartley law so that workers can freely organize unions.

The Green Party stands with working people because we ARE working people, and we’re committed to an economic policy that puts human needs before corporate greed.

* * *

Yet tonight, as the economy is failing most Americans, the President promises war.

Mr. Bush, America did not ask you for this war. America did not ask you for these attacks on minorities. America did not ask you for tax cuts for the rich.

Mr. Bush, it is time to hang up the phone. America’s trying to get through!

* * *

And to the members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, the 250,000 members of the Green Party have this to say:

You have wasted too many opportunities to deal directly with America’s problems. Tonight, on the eve of war, America cannot wait any longer.

Our nation cannot afford to see pressing issues, like health care for all, kicked back and forth like a political football from election to election. Working people need health care now.

Our people and planet cannot afford this war for oil. Dependency on oil is unhealthy for Americans and it is contributing to the global warming threat. The time for political procrastination is long gone; it’s time for corrective action now.

I know that many Americans feel the same way. I hear it from my constituents all the time.

To those Americans who are looking for a way out, the Green Party says, “We are here, we are growing, we are your way out!” We are the alternative.

Together with Greens in 90 nations worldwide, we represent a new kind of politics resting on four pillar values: Grassroots Democracy–Ecology–Social Justice–Non-Violence.

No corporate contributors are tying up our phone lines. We are waiting to hear from you.

Call 1-866-41-GREEN. Look us up on the web at www.GP.org.

Millions of Americans want peace, want equality, want social justice. We are with you. We know that another world is possible. If we will it, and act on it, it is no dream.

NATALIE JOHNSON LEE is a Minneapolis City Councilwoman and Green Party member.

 

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