Upon reading Anitas analysis of the Green Party's ultimate effect on the political process with its participation in last November's elections, I was surprised at the myopic view that was expressed in said analysis. Surprised because, although the Greens did attract a mere 3% of the national vote, their influence on the electoral system as a whole was far from miniscule. The significance of Ralph Nader's 2000 run lies in the fact it brought to the public's attention the reality of a political system that has been infested with corporate money and that is rapidly escaping whatever illusory control the people of this country ever had upon it.

Central to the contentions on "The Green Effect" was the idea that the Greens were after some sort of validation from the Democrats as they tried to force them to take more leftist stances on a good deal of the issues. But Ralph Nader's campaign was not solely designed to pander to either of the political parties, but to bring forth a set of issues that had come to be largely ignored by the power elite in Washington. The Greens, under the assumed leadership of Ralph Nader, sought to expose a system that offered no real set of choices. Nader sought to push forth the notion of the system's estrangement from its purpose of representing millions of Americans by becoming dependent on big money contributions that unfairly affect the outcome of its decisions in favor of the largest contributor.

One the most important issues in this message was campaign finance reform. While Nader was not alone in raising his voice in favor of a complete overhaul of campaign financing, his contribution to the debate was certainly important in that it helped build the momentum necessary to force Washington to pay attention. Efforts by progressive organizations and individuals such as Nader, Sen. John McCain and others have resulted in the McCain-Feingold bill being debated in the House of Representatives on July 12th. This being an important step because there has not been talk of campaign finance reform since the 1970's.

Rallying behind environmental concerns that had diminished in a Democratic administration with a less than stellar environmental record, the Greens also gave a voice to people with enough foresight to care about what we do to our planet. Hence, a valiant contingent that remains strong in the fight for the preservation of natural resources with a commitment that goes beyond election-time rhetoric was adequately represented.

Contrary to Anita's belief that the Democrats may dismiss the effect of the Green Party, I contend that they would do well to pay attention. Because the issues the Greens stand for are issues that represent progressive-minded individuals with foresight and vision that will eventually become pressing in this nation's politics. Likening them to the Christian Coalition and suggesting that they stand in a "moral high ground," a comparison and accusation I found unfortunate and unfounded in "The Green Effect," is simply misguided. The Greens dont make a moral judgement on the issues. They, like any other worthwhile political organization, advocate the advancement of politically relevant ideas - not invasive tactics aimed at regulating Americans moral attitudes and seeking to inhibit their thoughts and actions.

Regardless of whether the Green Party survives to participate in further elections, its place in US political history has been cemented as the party that forced a nation to take a look at its system and its politics. Even though the price in the short term may seem to have been to help elect an incompetent president, the fact that Nader and his Greens had the guts to rock the boat to see if would sink is impressive and worthy of respect. And sink it didn't, luckily, but the rocking exposed some creaks that had gone without attention for some time. Maybe it is time more of us start figuring out how we can help repair them.


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