[Interview] Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein Talks Doing Away With "Politics Of Fear"
If you believe tomorrow’s election is all about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Jill Stein wants you to know there are alternatives. On more than 80 percent of ballots across the countries, voters have an opportunity to cast a vote for Stein, who’s running as the Green Party presidential candidate. In a sit down with The Well Versed, Stein tells us why voting for the lesser of two evils is still an endorsement for evil, how she’d work with Democrats and Republicans and president and how to continue building a Green movement after November 6, 2012.
TWV: I talk to a lot of people, a few are familiar with you but a lot aren’t what made you decide to run for president?
Jill Stein: I’ve been an activist for 20-years and I’m a medical doctor. Seeing health care melt down for the people that need it and seeing diseases affect us. Asthma, cancer, learning disabilities – all these nasty things and it didn’t used to be this way. I said it wasn’t okay for me as a doctor to give people pills and send them back out there sick. The work was more in the community and changing the things that were making us sick. Stopping pollution and poverty.
I thought surely, our elected officials would want to help. We could save jobs and the environment. It was my political wake up that the political parties are there to serve the status quo.
I had never been active at the national level; I was always a grassroots person working at the local level. Last summer when President Obama put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block, I said to myself, “Yikes,” this isn’t okay. If the Democrats are joining the Republicans and dismantling our basic social support. I got involved in the effort to recruit a candidate to provide a strong voice of opposition. You know what happens when you join a recruiting committee [laughs]?
TWV: Some people have a lesser of two evils mentality when it comes to third parties and people are calling third party candidates spoilers, what do you say to people who say a vote for Jill Stein will only get Mitt Romney into the White House?
JS: If you look at the facts and not the spin campaign, Nader [in 2000] drew equally from Democrats and Republicans. Most of his voters were independent voters who weren’t going to come out and vote. It’s false to start that Nader stole the election, it was the SC that stole the election and the Democrats didn’t stand up to stop it. Al Gore did win the election and had the votes been counted, he would’ve won. This is a case where the political establishment is launching a fear campaign to try to silence opposition. In this country we don’t make opposition parties illegal, we make them impossible. We tell people they have to be afraid. Where has that gotten us? Let’s look back over the last ten years. You have to vote for the lesser of evils because you don’t’ want an expansion of war, the dropping of wages, attacks on civil liberties, who will throw home owners out of their homes and bail out Wall Street. Everything we were afraid of we’ve already got. Look at Obama’s record. He’s embraced the policies of George Bush and expanded them.
The free trade agreements that send jobs overseas were vastly expanded. He’s working on another one now that’s the mother of all free trade agreements that undermine wages. The student death crisis has gone ballistic. We’ve got a generation of students that are recent graduates that are basically indentured servants. The war on drugs has gotten bigger. This was going to be the peace president on Day 3; he intensified bombings in Pakistan and drones. The only reason he withdrew from Iraq is because we couldn’t keep troops there in the first place. We’ve been here before. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
The first thing Barack Obama did was appoint Larry Summers, the guy who helped engineer the Wall Street crisis. Then he brought in Timothy Geithner — he turned the other way and acted like he didn’t see abuse in Wall Street. That speaks volumes. On core policies, it’s every bit as bad as George Bush. To go to the polls is to give them a mandate. It may be a lesser evil in your mind but it’s a mandate. If you don’t like what they’re doing, don’t vote for more of it.