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Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party

Mother Davis looks at the accounts of her America’s third party, as she notices a particular deficit and remarks,

The Green Party of the United States is formally centered around ten “key values”, but operationally, much of the Green Party’s identity is focused on celebrity. There are plenty of good Green Party activists who are building their party from the local level up. However, every now and then, the Green Party as a whole gets tripped up in the sticky stories of individual personality.

This week, the Green Party’s personality trap has been sprung by Israel’s seizure of a boat of activists bringing humanitarian relief to the Gaza Strip. The boat contained last year’s Green Party candidate for President, Cynthia McKinney. The capture of Cynthia McKinney has created a pivotal moment in which the Green Party can demonstrate a commitment to communicating in an effective way to recruit new members, or that it understands nothing more than its own troubles.

Cynthia McKinney is a member of the Green Party, but she is not the head of the Green Party, and she was not acting on behalf of the Green Party in joining the independent relief mission on board the ship Spirit of Humanity. Yet, Greens in the US have seized upon this event with a special fervor, writing articles and engaging in activism at a rate we haven’t seen since Election Day 2008.

Activism is good, but activism ought to be focused on what will get results. What results will a Green Party obsession with Cynthia McKinney’s experiences on a boat lead to? Cynthia McKinney will get some attention, and perhaps the ship Spirit of Humanity will be freed. Perhaps some people will think about Gaza and Israel for a few moments more than they otherwise would. In the large scale, however, these events are not the most important issue of the day.

I don’t think that the story is without merit. There’s reason to believe that Israel’s actions in seizing the boat and its passengers could have violated international law. The situation in Gaza is an important foreign policy issue, and deserves some attention.

However, I don’t believe that the Green Party’s tenacious coverage of this story is called for. Green media has become obsessed with the story of Cynthia McKinney’s capture in a way that it hasn’t been focused on any issue all year – and there have been plenty of issues that Green Party writers ought to have been communicating about, but weren’t.

I’m worried that the Green Party is focused on McKinney’s adventure not because of the story itself, but because McKinney is a prominent Green politician. There are plenty of other stories of comparable magnitude that Green Party media hasn’t discussed at all, because there were no Green Party politicians involved.

I’m extremely sympathetic to the ideals that the Green Party purports to hold. I am not very sympathetic to the Green Party’s whining about its own troubles, and otherwise talking about itself all the time. If the Green Party wants to be taken seriously, it needs to become less self-referential, and learn to tell the stories that progressive Americans in general will respond to.

Taking the green shade off her office lamp,
Mother Davis

9 comments to Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party

  • qs

    They need some way to prove that they were in international waters and not Israeli water to really have a case.

    They say international waters. Israelis claim they were in Israeli waters.

    So it’s hard to know what happened for sure.

  • The CORPORATE MEDIA is focused on “celebrity.” The media focuses on Michael Jackson to the exclusion of other news that impacts us. Cynthia McKinney UNLIKE most celebrities who hide behind words, took GREAT PERSONAL RISK that many activist do or aspire to in an attempt to accomplish something to help lives of REAL PEOPLE in PALESTINE who are in need.

    While many other activists do not get this attention for similar heroics there is no reason to devalue what she attempts or the Green Party’s acknowledgment of her ACTIVISM which is very different that typical “celebrities.” Michael Jackson may have song “we are the world” (and I mean him no disrespect for his talent or his desire to help) but Cynthia actually WALKED THE TALK and took personal risk to help people.

    Listen to her describe her situation in this phone call from an Israeli prison

    McKinney Phone Call from prison

  • Mitch goldman

    She is clearly an antisemite she has no right trying to sneak supplys to these terrorist. The navy should have treated them as the Hamas supporters they are and sunk them to the bottom of the sea

  • Mitch goldman

    if the Nazis would have let blacks in she would be the first in line stay out of israels lands!!!
    God gave us this land and it was free of Palestinians and black Americans and we are gonna get it back no matter what you or the Nazis say. We survived the holocaust and we are still dealing with attacks from the world never AGAIN

    • God gave me your pencil. Would you ship it to me? Also, God says that you own General Motors, though that’s not such a great gift right now.

      I agree that Cynthia McKinney can be a bit, um… I’ll say erratic to be nice… in her actions. That’s another good reason for Green Party activists to stop obsessing about this story. She was a terrible candidate, in style and in substance. The Green Party needs to do better.

      Israel, on the other hand, could do a heck of a lot better, too, than to have a spokesman like you, Mitch, who uses the Holocaust in such a crass way as a tool of political debate and suggests killing people who disagree.

    • qs

      Gaza is kind of like a mini-holocaust. no?

  • Invisible Man

    The Jews use the oldest trick in the book by saying “God gave this land to us.” Well, “God” also gave it to the Palestinians, hellooooo. The US needs to cut funding for Israel and force it to create some plan for sharing the land and creating peace in the Middle East. You’d think the Jews, having been abused by others for so many centuries, would make peace, love, and acceptance their motto and M.O. They are doomed unless they do. They are acting just like those that marginalized and murdered them. The US should not be supporting and funding them. Jews need to let the Palestinians have the housing Jews built on occupied land instead of bulldozing it. Zionist Jews SUCK.

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