Time for a New Governor A CAMPAIGN....A MOVEMENT....A PLACE OF MAGICAL BEAUTY by Joe Keating
Just out of curiosity I went to a Democratic Party gathering the other night. I found it interesting that most of the people there were saying the same thing. They were calling for a renaissance of the Democratic Party by grassroots organizing to build a movement. I asked, “How long will such a renaissance take?” The answer was shocking. They thought 10 to 15 years.
10 TO 15 YEARS? Can you imagine where we will be as a country in 10 to 15 years at the present rate of decay? That is real fear.
Have you wondered why, on the major issues of peace, the environment, health care, and education, our society keeps losing ground despite polls indicating the majority of folks support sensible, progressive and humane solutions? The answer is as basic as it is venal: the power elite of this country want it that way, and they do what is necessary to keep the status quo of the rich getting richer and the rest be damned!
The two-party system has been perfectly evolved to achieve this goal. The Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin, one just a lighter shade of greed than the other.
The Republican Party has a very successful strategy. They realized a long time ago that the Christian Fundamentalists represent a hardcore block of support that they can galvanize without disturbing the pocket books of the rich. The strong emotion of fear is employed as a prime motivator, using “hot button” social issues such as abortion, drugs, immigration, gay rights and, when necessary, war and terrorism to amp up their carefully scripted public messaging. And when all else fails they break out their bedrock PR spin of ‘reducing taxes’. Anything to distract from the real issues at hand.
With all that strategizing and those calls for renaissance in the Democratic Party, why haven’t the Dems been able to counter the Republicans with any effective alternatives? Sadly, it is because the power elite of the Democrats are cut from the same cloth as the Republicans—they protect the status quo of corporate largess, only less stridently. They use different words but achieve essentially the same result. Why do you think Howard Dean’s campaign was betrayed by the Democratic elite a couple years ago? He was getting a little too far out and might have actually produced change. Bad for business as usual.
It’s not unusual that we feel powerless, given the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually on advertising and public relations to accomplish just that result. And it’s no wonder that the progressive community, with the rainbow of our issues that are truly important, remains disunited. There are very clever people with a vast arsenal of wealth and power who are committed to the status quo. The very last thing these folks want is an informed public engaging the real core issues that face this nation.
A Green Alternative I was listening to Noam Chomsky recently on the subject of what we must do to take back our country. His message was simple and true: “We can do whatever we want.” When asked about the Green Party he said, “As long as the Green Party just runs the occasional candidate and hopes for the best, I am not optimistic”.
As a Green, I share Chomsky’s view. The Greens to their credit have created a canvas of excellent values that I think truly represents a path that the whole progressive community can and should identify with. The Greens also provide an opportunity for candidates to run. But that’s about it. The Green party in Oregon are not viewed or appreciated as an agent for change. Like the Democrats, we have not been effective grassroots organizers, and we are certainly not yet a progressive movement.
We can change all that. My Campaign for Governor should be viewed first and foremost as a Campaign that we can win, and secondly as a lightning rod to galvanize the progressive community into a movement. A movement with a strong vibrant foundation built with grassroots commitment to action. This is my charge and responsibility.
Your responsibility is to accept this challenge. Our community must leave our children a better world. A world based on peace, social justice, and a sustainable environment. A place of magical beauty.
Imagine a united progressive movement, as energized as the far right, but with the majority of population involved because of the issues that we share in common.
How do we start? Join the Pacific Green Party. Join it with a commitment to be active. Do not expect the Pacific Green Party to be a well-oiled machine. The Party will be what you make it. The Party is but a canvas that you need to paint, so get your brushes out. Join with a commitment to reform the Pacific Green Party to a party of action. Working together, we can build a progressive movement.
When do we start? TODAY. Check out our website: www.keatingforgovernor.org Join our: Go! Joe listserve: http://forum.greens.org/mailman/listinfo/gojoe-annc Join the Pacific Green Party and help build a movement: www.pacificgreens.org
Joe Keating is a community activist and public servant. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, is the father of three, and served in the US Army during Viet Nam. From 1988 to 1991, he worked as the operations director and action coordinator for Oregon Greenpeace after which he served as a director and coordinator of United Community Action Network. In 1994, he worked as station manager for KBOO Radio. In 1996 Joe was the Pacific Green candidate for Congress. He served as the chair of the Oregon Sierra Club from 1999 to 2000. At the Oregon Center for Environmental Health he served as Portland Harbor campaign coordinator from 2001 to 2003. Additionally from 2001 to 2002 he coordinated the Mount Hood campaign of the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition.
Since 1995, he served as a director of the Oregon Wildlife Federation. He is also columnist for the Portland Alliance newspaper. Currently Joe is the regional coordinator of Back 2 the WALL.
Joe Keating is an innovative activist. He is a founding member of Citizens for Peace and a Rational Energy Policy, the Portland Utility Review Board, Portland’s Yellow Bike program, Witness Against Lawless Logging (WALL), Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group, and the Pacific Green Party of Oregon. Joe currently resides in Portland, Oregon.