Do We Ignore Our Home-Grown Greens?

| 4/30/2008 8:51:45 AM

Tags: Media, Green Party, Progressive Politics, Cynthia McKinney, John Rensenbrink, Third-party presidential candidates, progressive politics, Green Horizon,

Green party

I know more about Ireland’s Green Party than I do about the U.S. Green Party (thanks in part to a charismatic lecturer in an environmental policy class), but I certainly wouldn’t mind learning more about my hometown Greens. It seems, however, that I can’t rely on the American media for this information, argues Green Party cofounder John Rensenbrink in the Spring issue of Green Horizon (article not available online).

It's a point well taken—but unfortunately, in the course of Rensenbrink’s rant about his party’s invisibility (full disclosure: he includes Utne Reader in a list of lefty magazines that ignore the party), he does not explain the Green Party’s principles or flesh out why it should hold such irresistible appeal for American progressives. Rensenbrink gushes about Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney’s nomination speech this winter—“brilliantly crafted, beautifully delivered, convincingly argued, and courageous”—but he doesn’t include a word of what McKinney said.

If Rensenbrink is just blowing off steam to fellow Greens, fine. But he’s not going to win any information-starved converts if even he doesn’t devote print space to explaining his party.

Image by Lili Vieira de Carvalho, licensed under Creative Commons.

emily dale
1/12/2011 7:08:06 PM

As a member of the California Green Party before moving to Western North Carolina, I found their candidates to be exceptional individuals, both on state and national levels. The thing I didn't find was media coverage of important speeches, even though rally locations were filled to overflowing (including the USC auditorium) Not only were the big media unrepresented, but also local TV, press and radio were conspicious by their absence. The problem was not the party or the candidates, but corporate clampdown on all Green Party efforts, however valuable to voters. At present I am registered as "Unaffiliated", as the Green Party is not well organized in NC, but I find myself at odds with politicians in both major parties who turn a deaf ear to all but their corporate donors, and, in the process, turn me off.

joan campion_6
4/30/2009 8:38:01 PM

Here in Pennsylvania, the Green Party has used right-wing Republican money and other assistance to gain ballot positions and screw up elections they cannot, by themselves, win. To me, that says it all. Frankly, it is like allying your alleged Simon Pure principles with the forces of hell. This happened, for sure, right here in my own Congressional District; and just at a time when I might otherwise have considered a Third Party vote. Well, thank heaven I was saved from THAT! The party of FDR, JFK, Clinton and Obama works imperfectly; but on the whole it works. If you want to improve the political life of the country and the world, I suggest you work to improve it.

dave s
5/1/2008 10:54:07 PM

Okay, I basically agree with the above comments. At the same time, I think Greens could take something away from this sort of criticism - maybe we do spend too much time complaining about the media blackout, and not enough time trying to get the press to cover the very positive message of Green candidates. I'm not a regular Utne reader, but if they're thinking about covering America's only national progressive party, then Greens should encourage that wholeheartedly. Do it, Utne! Also, here's the link to McKinney's excellent campaign announcement speech: "Come home to the Green Party!"

tom yager
5/1/2008 8:17:16 PM

Oh, please. The principles of the Democratic Party are not explained in every single article that appears in Mother Jones, Utne Reader, or The Nation. The progressive media blackout of the Greens has been going on for years. The shortcomings of John Rensenbrink's article are being used as just another excuse to ignore the Green Party, not a reason.

wes rolley
5/1/2008 3:56:32 PM

As the co-author of one piece in the Spring 2008 issue of Green Horizon (Greens versus Green-washed), I would guess that this is aimed a bit a me also. I thought that I had drawn some comparisons between the Green Agenda and the current congress (especially Obama) regarding energy. Maybe interns aren't given the time to read an entire issue before that have to start writing.

ian wilder
5/1/2008 7:10:06 AM

One of the reasons I canceled my subscription to The Utne (and stopped giving it as a gift) was its continual obeisance to the corporate political parties and ignoring third parties in this country. I tried opening a dialogue with them about it, but they didn't care. Read Yes! magazine. They give much fairer coverage. The international four pillars of the Green Party are included everywhere on Green party websites and literature: Grassroots Democracy; Social & Economic Justice; Ecological Wisdom; and Nonviolence. More information on Cynthia McKinney's presidential campaign can be found at peace Ian Wilder