“It should be no surprise that when rich men take control of the government, they pass laws that are favorable to themselves. The surprise is that those who are not rich vote for such people, even though they should know from bitter experience that the rich will continue to rip off the rest of us .” Andrew Greeley (Chicago Sun-Times, February 18, 2001)
I first met Rocky Anderson when came to Washington State to testify in the Legislature in support of a Joint Memorial to investigate President Bush and Vice President Cheney for war crimes; crimes that they had publicly confessed to. As the Democratic Mayor of Salt Lake City, he was the only US Mayor to speak out against the illegal invasion of Iraq, torture, and the betrayal of the American people.
Named one of the top lawyers in the US and an award winning civil rights activist, he was eminently qualified to speak.
Later we shared with Rocky our deep disappointment in the Democratic Party. Their lack of response to Constitutional crises was incomprehensible. Two Democratic members of Congress rushed home to try and shut down the day’s hearings. Other party loyalists attempted to undermine popular support for accountability. Rocky’s response was simple and to the point. ‘We need a new Democratic Party’.
Never one to stand silent, Rocky publicly criticized the Democratic Party. Finally he broke with them. “The Constitution has been eviscerated while the Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interest that buy and pay for the Republican Party.”
Believing voters needed was a real choice Rocky helped found the Justice Party. A party that seeks economic justice, social and civic justice and environmental justice.
No need to ask what Rocky stands for. It’s in his record.
- Led a fully fledged affirmative action program as Mayor, significantly increasing minority hiring and promotions.
- Instituted Restorative Justice; a program that focuses on the needs of the victims and the community with an emphasis on reparations rather than punishment.
- Replaced DARE with effective drug prevention programs and created after school and youth programs.
- Named one of the top 10 straight advocates for LGBT rights.
- Dramatically reduced air pollution, doubled recycling capacity, expanded light rail and open spaces and became a global voice for climate change awareness.
- Led a nationwide fight to increase airport security by screening luggage.
- Voted one of the top 20 environmental advocates worldwide.
- Promoted sustainable business practices through his e2Business program.
- Organized the Sundance Summit for Mayors with Robert Redford to share best practices and discuss climate challenges.
In January of this year Anderson accepted the nomination of Justice Party for President. Believing that big money is poisoning politics, his campaign accepts only contributions up to $100. The Justice Party will accept donations up to $2500. The extra funds are needed to gain ballot access.
Rocky believes that change is a bottom up process; that our leaders must be made to govern wisely. A political party is a powerful organizing tool that will persist long after election day, providing a structure for continued activism and community. Running for president is only the beginning.
Frightened of voting for a third party candidate? Afraid the it will hand the White House to the GOP? Last election 60% of eligible voters stayed home. More than enough firepower to elect anyone we want.
Nader didn’t cost the Democrats the White House in 2000, Gore and party strategists did. In the end it was Al Gore, silencing dissent from Democrat Senators whose constituents were disenfranchised, handing off to the loser. Nader voters were new voters, the young and disaffected.
Democrats lose elections because they betray their base, are addicted to incumbency, because of illegal voter purges, privately owned partisan machinery, dirty tricks etc. They don’t complain and they don’t act. Under a Democratic administration, the FEC still languishes, toothless and ineffective.
We are not the divided nation the media claim. By issue, 70% of us are populist. Yet both parties govern far to the right shredding the social safety net, rewarding the privileged and fighting imperial wars.
Surely we have walked through the looking glass when voting ones conscience is a ‘wasted vote’ or when we are warned against voting for the best candidate. If you honestly believe that ‘the lesser of two evils’ is an acceptable choice, you have all ready lost more than you can imagine.
Courageous and fiercely determined, Rocky is far from naive about what it will take to regain control of our nation. He understands the powerful forces who stand in our way. He has made a start and means to continue. We need to help him and help each other. Contribute what you can . Volunteer. It’s very important we call on the media to cover his candidacy.
All around us are the rumblings of dissent and cries for reform. Rocky has given us a path that we might follow. What we discover on that path depends upon what we are willing to risk.