Clinton Democrats Seek to be 40% Congressmen at Local Candidate Forum
Are our prayers for peace interrupted by calls that we vote for war?
Last week I got an invitation to a forum for Congressional candidates cohosted by Indivisible Georgia Sixth District and the Roswell Community Masjid. Indivisible is a Clinton PAC financed 'grassroots' effort, according to USA Today, focused on fomenting resistance to Trump' as a vehicle for building the Democrat Party.
I have been excited by the efforts at RCM to engage folks in our community in the electoral process. Its hard to imagine why one would endure the hostility faced in this country by immigrants without wanting to participate in the process of self-government.
Warning: democracy does not work in this country the way they say it would in your high school civics class.
Historical note: the organization of people power can align this nation's actions to better match its rhetoric.
There is much immigrant Muslims in the suburbs can learn from the African-American Muslim communities in town. The history which created the geographic segregation described in the preceding sentence has its own story to tell.
Not only have these older communities often times navigated this country as Muslim far longer. They have also engaged with the political process sufficiently to develop some very clear ideas about its limitations. Engaging with this process in ways which promotes justice in our world would benefit by building stronger relationships among our congregations towards that end, from a study of the history of this nation's Human Rights movements and by an examination of the barrier to entry erected by the status quo to protect it from democratic challenges.
I already knew the Indivisible forum would run by the script and be tightly controlled.
Our congregation's board chair offered opening remarks and handed off the event by recognizing a local leader of Indivisible who without consultation or input from the audience posed prepared questions of three of the four Congressional candidates participating in the Democrat Primary for Georgia's Sixth Congressional District.
Conspicuous by its absence among the opening and closing remarks, and among either the scripted questions by Indivisible's moderator or the answers from the candidates seeking the primary nod, was any mention of US foreign policy, although the nation's imperial aims consume over 60% of discretionary Federal spending.
Every question related to health care seemed designed to solicit, and every candidate was content to offer mere tweaks around the edges of ACA, and its mandated markets, clearly a broken system organized to benefit a profit-driven health-care denial industry which exists to stand between a patient and her doctor.
No mention was made of either the single-payer models or the national health programs enjoyed by every other industrial nation on the planet which somehow manages to provide universal access to health care to everyone regardless of ability to pay as if it were a human right; and does so at lower costs and often times with better outcomes than we enjoy, all without bankrupting families as we do in this nation.
For those concerned with creating peace on this planet, we have learned from long engagement with the political process that the war parties will not serve as an effective vehicle for achieving that end. We also know the steep barriers they have erected to protect their political power from from democratic challenge.
By contrast, candidates seeking the nomination of the Georgia Green Party for federal office at our state conventions are unlikely to earn the Party's nomination without vocal opposition to US imperialism abroad and the militarization of our communities at home; without being prepared to challenge the US exceptionalism which has made this nation a pariah in the global community.
Our members will demand support for H.J.Res 48, to amend the constitution to permanently ban private money from public elections; funding to extend Medicare to all, to relieve educational debt and take urgent action to combat global climate change and address its impact on human populations.
We heard not a mumbling word of substance on any of these questions at the mic, during the Indivisible-scripted event. They talked about gun control for our citizens, but not for their government. They discussed protecting ACA but made no mention of any policy which would make real a commitment to health care as a human right. They mentioned 'climate change' as if checking a box, but advanced no strategies for addressing it.
After the event, a member of our congregation reflected on how we could have done a better job of turning out our own congregational members to the event. Only a dozen or two folks excused themselves for the asr salat before rejoining the after-forum reception.
I actually find it hopeful that folks in our community are not fooled that these neo-liberals are somehow relevant to the political aspirations of a justice-loving people.
The red and blue party primaries are the 22nd of this month. For us Greens, our 2018 Nominating Convention of the Georgia Green Party is June 9th in East Point and the ballot access petitioning deadline is the 10th of July.
The 2018 election cycle is well underway. Now is the time to engage with our communities on the issues and to be clear about whether our ballots this year offer us or not, meaningful choices which reflect our values, which support our prayers for peace on this planet.
Should we find our options lacking, it is left to us to take the action now to create better choices for our communities in future election cycles. We urge those committed to enjoining what is right and forbidding what is reprehensible to explore with us how the Georgia Green Party might serve as a vehicle for that work in the electoral realm.
Hugh Esco attends RCM in Roswell and serves as Secretary of the Georgia
Green Party. He is urging those committed to a just and sustainable
future to use this election cycle to support Green Party organizing.
He invites calls (912-571-1833) to discuss building independent
political power for our communities.