Reasons To Vote Green
By David McReynolds, candidate for US Senate
October 25, 2004
On Election Day, voters should consider the candidates for U.S. Senate on their merits. I believe there are nine issues where a Green vote makes sense for the residents of New York.
1. Civil Liberties
If elected, I would vote to repeal the Patriot Act. Senator Charles Schumer voted for the Patriot Act and still supports it. The Patriot Act strikes at the heart of freedoms that have helped make this country unique. In New York City, the "climate of fear" which gave rise to that act was seen during the recent Republican National Convention. A number of my friends were arrested by the police on the orders of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, not for crimes they had committed, but for "preventive" reasons. The police are certainly within their rights to make arrests of anyone violating the law; we expect them to do this. But the concept of "preventive arrest" - jailing people before they have committed a crime - is a tactic borrowed from totalitarian regimes. We need someone in office who will take account of these violations of civil liberties.
2. The War in Iraq
The Iraq war, which Senator Schumer voted for and supports, hurts those in our city who have sons and daughters in military service in Iraq. (It also deeply offends the beliefs of New Yorkers who feel the attacks by the U.S., which have killed many thousands of Iraqis, are in violation of the United Nations charter). Many of those now serving in Iraq are reservists, victims of what is called a "back door draft". Along with millions of Americans who took to the streets in protest against this war, I want it ended now and U.S. forces withdrawn. It is strange logic to say that even though this was "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," we have some obligation to remain in Iraq and continue it. If I am elected, working to end the war would be my highest priority.
I find it amazing that we discuss the issue of terrorism without discussing any of the causes of terrorism. One of those causes has been the one-sided U.S. position in support of Israel. Both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to states of their own. The heart-breaking violence in the Middle East should be dealt with through direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Present U.S. policy in the Middle East - a policy fully backed by Senator Schumer - has not helped bring Israel to the negotiating table. If elected, I would vote to end military aid to any country in the Middle East, including Israel.
4. Affordable Housing
As a resident of the Lower East Side and as a member of the Board of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, I know how urgently New York needs additional federal funds for low- and moderate-income housing. That money is being wasted today in Iraq. I want our military budget slashed, our foreign military bases closed, and the funds used for low-income housing.
5. Drug Policy
As a resident of a low-income area, I know there is a drug problem in New York, primarily with heroin. I favor major changes in the Rockefeller drug laws and other drug policies, which would make addiction a medical, not a criminal issue. I support the legalization of marijuana, which is non-addictive, has medical value, and is less dangerous than the legal drugs now available like tobacco and alcohol.
6. The Prison System
I do not think a sense of security is increased by capital punishment (a policy Senator Schumer also supports) or by the present prison system, which discriminates against African American and Hispanic communities. It is outrageous that on the one hand we talk about the values of freedom, and on the other hand have the largest per capita prison population of any nation in the world.
7. Gay Rights
New York City has a large gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual community and members of that community should have the same rights of marriage as anyone else. It is wrong that gays and lesbians are still being discharged from the armed forces because of their sexuality. In place of the "donít ask, donít tell" policy, I support the full and equal rights of gays and lesbians in the military.
8. Health Care
The cost of prescription drugs is too high. We need a single-payer health plan to cover every American. The driving force behind the pharmaceutical industry is profit. Bad drugs are rushed to market, ineffective drugs are prescribed simply because they return a higher financial return and little attention is paid either to alternative medicine or to preventive medical care. The drug industry should be publicly owned.
9. Sustainable Energy
Finally, we must develop renewable sources of energy. Carbon-based energy sources not only are a major source of pollution, but are simply running out. Our foreign policy is in large part based on control of oil resources in other countries. We need to work on solar and other renewable energy sources as an urgent priority.
David McReynolds is the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate.
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