Green Party in Trouble
Mother Davis remembers that it ain’t easy being green as she notes,
For a while now, members of the Green Party have depicted their movement as up and coming, a the representative of a powerful new paradigm that would change everything. They’ve said that they are the authentic voice of the people.
I say that these claims deserve some honest, critical reflection on the part of the Greens. After all, if the Greens claim the be the authentic voice of the people, then I think I deserve to know why the people themselves are not yet aware of it.
Whether you like the Greens or not, honest eyes can see that they are faltering all over the United States. In the presidential elections, they peaked at a single-digit percentage of the vote in 2000 and then sunk back down to an even smaller amount in 2004. There still is not a single Green Party member of Congress. There are a few elected Green local officials, typically one or two per state, but only in a handful of communities do these Green officials actually have the power to do anything with their offices.
The state Green Party organizations are in disarray after 2004. Earlier this year, we provided a link to the web site of the Pennsylvania Green Party, but take a look for yourself at what it has become: An online catalog for suitcases. I found out later, thanks to a good commenter to this article, that the Green Party of Pennsylvania has built itself a new web site. That’s great, but there’s the problem of the old web site, allowed to run over into a suitcase catalog. An organized political organization wouldn’t have let this confusion dominate its online presence. The organized thing to do would have been to overlap the web sites for a long period of time, providing an automatic referral from the old site to the new site. That would have cost the Green Party of Pennsylvania about $25 per month. I’d like to think that a political party that wants to participate in national elections could afford such an expense, but when it comes to the Green Party, I have my doubts.
The change itself creates nagging doubts in my mind. The old web site was at www.pagreenparty.org. The new web site is at www.greenpartypa.org. Now you’ll have to forgive me for asking silly questions, but what in the world is the important difference between these two domain names? This change reminds me of nothing so much as the year-long debates at many anti-war groups about changes to their mission statements. I’d watch many of these groups spend all of their meetings talking about their mission statements as the invasion of Iraq grew nearer and nearer. Yet, I’d be told by the “activists” in the groups that it wouldn’t be good process for the group to actually take any action before the mission statement was put in place. So, while George W. Bush accomplished the task of dragging our nation into war, these groups accomplished the composition of three sentence-long mission statements declaring that in order to stop the war in Iraq, we first had to rectify the situation in Palestine.
Just so, the Pennsylvania Green Party has accomplished the task of changing its address from www.pagreenparty.org to www.greenpartypa.org. Well, okay, we’ll play along. We’ve updated the link on our Pennsylvania progressive directory. The question that nags in the back of my mind is how many other old links have yet to be updated due to the ideological symantics of the Pennsylvania Greens? How many people who want to get involved in 3rd party politics will instead end up buying luggage?
The situation in Utah is no better. The Green Party of Utah has a web site, for sure, but it also has another web site. That’s because there are two Green Parties of Utah who are fighting with each other about which one is the real Green Party of Utah. In Utah, the Greens get such a microscopic portion of the vote that this battle is the equivalent of a war fought over a grain of sand. But, go ahead and take a look for yourself: Green Party of Utah 1 and Green Party of Utah 2.
I have liked the Green Party in theory for a long time. It has nice ideals. However, every time I’ve actually attended a Green Party event, I’ve had to leave early to purge myself of the feeling that I’ve eaten something half-baked. The Greens are great at talking, but they’re not very good at doing.
A progressive alternative to the Democratic Party is a great idea, especially when we have clunkers like Senator Ben Nelson and Senator Joseph Lieberman giving the Democratic Party a bad name. However, the time is long overdue for the people of the Green Party to take an honest look at their track record of failure upon failure, and ask the question: Is the Green Party still worth working for?
Persecution by the two-party system is not a sufficient explanation for the Green Party’s failure. No matter how idealistic you are, politics is a game, and the Greens have proven to be lousy players. I’d love to see a new political party take the place of the Greens, a Progressive Party, perhaps, but I could not support that political party until it showed the ability to come up with some strategies and tactics more realistic than the Green Party’s plan: Just keep talking until everyone out there agrees with us.
Trading in her granola for some meaty breakfast sausage,