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She Never Had a Chance: a Premortem Eulogy for Jill Stein

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Let me begin by assuring you that Jill Stein is alive and well.  Her 2016 Green Party bid for the presidency, however, will no doubt be a replay of 2012. Therefore and sadly, I shall speak of her in the past tense, as a beacon of light, prematurely and surreptitiously extinguished by her many enemies.  Although I never met Jill, I counted myself among her most enthusiastic followers and supporters.  Jill was a kind and decent woman, and she was taken from us much too soon.  A Harvard Medical School graduate, Jill took the giant leap from medicine to politics, in part, because of serious concerns over the connection she saw between disease and environment.  An avowed enemy of the established tangled web of American foreign and domestic policy from an early age, Jill knew that she was expediting her own untimely death, but a fierce fire burned within her soul transcending all concerns for her own safety.  She knew in her heart that they’d never allow her to touch the reins of power, but she marched forward with heroic determination.  Undeterred by overwhelming odds, Jill was a windmill tilter who dreamed of a world that could be.  Her ideas were just too dangerous to be heard by the minions of brainwashed, subservient, flag-waving citizens of Empire.  Her demise, although extremely unfortunate, was a necessary sacrifice upon the altar of Wall Street.

An anti-war activist since childhood, Jill Stein marched defiantly in the streets of her land, demonstrating against The Vietnam War.  She spoke loudly and clearly against all the wars waged for corporate profit by Empire.  As president, she declared, one of her first acts would be to begin defunding the U.S. Military by cutting its annual budget in half.  She understood well that terrorist organizations and terrorism in general are the intentional product of U.S. militarism, and that modern warfare is not waged with the goal of winning hearts, minds, and victory, but to create chaos, destruction, and permanent military bases in resource-rich countries.  Jill’s grasp of the heartless voraciousness of the military-industrial complex alone was more than enough to sign her death warrant, but there was much more.

The beautiful, gentle woman who I eulogize today had grand ambitions to change the entire complexion of Empire, nay to put an end to imperial activity completely.  As president she would have shut down all 800 or so U.S. Military bases on foreign soil.  She would have pulled all military personnel out of killing fields around the world.  She would have ended private mercenary army corporations.  She would have worked to destroy and permanently ban all nuclear weaponry.  Under her watch, the U.S.A. would have become a productive member of the world community and ceased claims of being the exceptional nation, exempt from all international rules.  Obviously, even the outside chance that a tree-hugging, flower child pacifist might assume the highest office in the land was enough to make the CEO’s of General Electric, Boeing, Raytheon, and BP sit up and take notice.  She was too dangerous to live.

But Jill’s passions were not limited to military matters.  Her heart was filled with empathy and kindness for the most vulnerable among us.  She rejected the bootstrap philosophy of extremist free market capitalism.  She believed that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights.  That these rights include life, liberty, food, shelter, education, medical care, and the pursuit of happiness.  She supported all public programs which accommodate basic human needs.  Food stamps, subsidized housing, public education, mass transportation, single-payer healthcare.  She even dared suggesting taxing the wealthy at a much higher rate in order that the poor might live with some semblance of dignity and comfort.  She sought to save Social Security and Medicare from assault by the right, and to pull senior citizens out from under the bus.  Jill must have known that the folks who own everything and make all the decisions wouldn’t let her get away with such shenanigans.  She never had a chance.

The great lady who might have guided this nation out of the darkness is gone from us.  She sought to eliminate GMO frankencrops and the toxic chemicals which accompany them.  She dared to suggest that we stop global warming in its tracks by moving quickly into sustainable energy, and away from nuclear, coal, oil, and natural gas.  She was strongly in favor of sustainable agriculture, and an end to public subsidization of agro-chemical and oil companies.  She even dared suggest that Americans park their beloved gas-guzzling automobiles and start using public transportation.  Executives and stockholders at Monsanto, Exxon-Mobil, and General Motors must be breathing sighs of relief at Jill’s demise.

In Jill Stein’s United States of Camelot, the private prison system would be destroyed.  Police brutality toward poor, mostly dark-skinned people would cease.  The war on immigrants would end, and the concept of any human being “illegal” would be placed in the dumpster of history.  Living wages would be mandatory.  The “Citizens United” Supreme Court ruling would be repealed and corporations would no longer have human rights.  So-called free trade agreements would be nullified, effectively castrating corporatocracies world-wide.  Campaign contributions and the buying of politicians would be replaced by publicly financed elections.  Drug use would be de-criminalized and treated as a health issue.

If the skies had opened up and rained miracles, and Jill Stein had been allowed to succeed in her impossible bid for the presidency, the world might have become quite a different place.  If she had been allowed to participate in a 2012 presidential debate with Obama and Romney instead of being arrested and handcuffed to a chair, her Camelot might have become more than just a dream.  But that wasn’t about to happen.  Not in this lifetime, not in this Empire.

So today we mourn her passing.  Jill Stein was a dreamer.  She saw her country on a dark path and said “Let there be light.”  She should have known that she was committing a capital offense.  The many princes of darkness killed her.  It was easy for them.  No weapons were necessary.  No bullets, no knives, no poisons.  Simply death by omission, erasure, elimination.  She was omitted from corporate news, erased by the entrenched two-party system, eliminated from consideration as a legitimate candidate.  Jill Stein, candidate for president does not exist. Most Americans have never heard her name.  She will live out her days as a woman forgotten by history, remembered only by a few of her fellow windmill tilters and dreamers.

Perhaps the most mournful chapter in the sad tale of Jill Stein’s passing is the fact that the final nails in her coffin were pounded tight by those closest to her.  By you and me.  She represented every issue we care about, but we refused to bet on the longshot.  Intelligent, caring people just wrote her off and refused to work for or support her campaign.  We’ve all become skeptics who’ve forgotten how to dream, and most of us won’t even do her memory the justice of casting a symbolic vote for her posthumous campaign.  Rest in peace Jill.  We’re sorry.

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John R. Hall is a writer living in Hawai’i.

CounterPunch Magazine

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