The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution expresses our Green goals. It says: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty….”
The military industrial complex enriches itself at taxpayer expense, and produces poverty. The military is too often the only job for low-income young adults—black, brown and white—but when they return with physical and mental
injuries, they become our homeless, addicts, and inmates. I am studying each of the Military Occupation Specialties—veterans know them as the MOS--to apply them to the goals of the Constitution and the Greens. For example, the Army Corps of Engineers could fix bridges, roads and Flint’s water infrastructure. The Medical Corps could provide health care for rural populations, who now drive hours to get it or die in the ambulance on the way to the distant hospital.
“Provide for the common defense,” the Constitution says. Today, we need to defend ourselves against the attacks on our shores caused by Mother Nature’s reactions to the man-made Climate Change. Michigan is the Great Lake state. Water, water everywhere and not a drop of clean water in Flint or access to water by low-income persons in Detroit while corporations and institutions are behind in their water bills, Nestle pays only $200 to suck out 130 billion gallons of our groundwater to put into the polluting plastic bottles; and horizontal fracking to reach hard-to-get-at natural gas destroys even more groundwater, Enbridge’s Line 5 is leaking into the Straits of Mackinac. Green Party members are active in all of these issues.
The Green Party's national Green New Deal includes a jobs program, to transition to 100% renewable energy such as wind and solar, and give all of us clean air in the bargain. And did you know how much money our government
pours into nuclear facilities that never get built by the very corporations it pays. They know these are not good private investments. The beginning of the Michigan Constitution of 1963 stated simply that we are “earnestly desiring to secure” the blessings of freedom “undiminished.” The blessings of freedom include voting. Our votes have been taken away from us by gerrymandering, corruption, restrictions on registering to vote and voting itself.
Michigan law is far behind most states in regards to voter registration. Bills introduced to fix that have been sitting for over a year without a committee hearing.
The Governor refuses to call a special election to fill John Conyers’ Congressional seat, but he DID call a special election to fill a seat gerrymandered to go to a Republican.
Today, elected county officials in SE Michigan have opposed the kind of regional mass transit that could get people to jobs. I was angry when Mayor Duggan, in his State of the City last year, referred to “those who want to work.”
Let me assure him that people DO want to work. If he won’t bring jobs into the city, then get workers to those jobs. And a Q-for-questionable Line isn’t doing that. Nor does it take students to their schools, which are no longer in their
neighborhoods. In education, both Republicans and Democrats get failing grades.
Nearly 20 years ago, Gov. Engler did the first state takeover of Detroit Public Schools. It had above average achievement and a nice surplus of funds, so he stole that money. Snyder did the same greedy grab, adding unelected Emergency
Managers. During these two decades, Detroit residents had only 2 1/2 years of the school board its citizens voted for. The Kalamazoo superintendent of schools came to be on a panel held in Detroit because, as he said, “Our kids are your kids. What they do to yours, they will do to ours.” We need job training, not only college graduates (even without the massive debt).
Back to the Constitution: “provide for the general welfare.” Welfare at that time meant “well-being, health, comfort, security, safety, protection and prosperity.” It should have that same meaning today. These are necessary to the
beloved community. With one in seven Michigan residents struggling with hunger, and one in six children, we are morally failing. Greens support the Poor People’s
Campaign to eradicate for people of all colors the condition of poverty. When my husband left me with a three-month old, we ate only because someone told me about “food stamps.” I’ve been there and I’m white.
With the massive foreclosures—even of houses with people still living in them, Duggan is clear cutting neighborhoods for the new carpetbaggers—the developers and returning whites.
There’s so much more about elections and this so-called democracy. Although disregarding the extent to which the majority of voters consider themselves independent, rather than following behind either of the two party duopoly, the redistricting ballot issue will end gerrymandering. But there is more. I personally witnessed many irregularities with the Detroit Elections Department counting of absentee ballots and wrote affidavits based on what ten others witnessed there and at polls in its precincts. Yet the voting photo that went viral— of the trash can used as a ballot box and sealed with duct tape—was not Detroit but Ionia County. I spoke with an Idlewild voter, who said their concerns were ignored
by the Secretary of State office.
“To insure domestic tranquility,” we need an attitude change around how too many police deal with people, people who have become afraid of any encounter with law enforcement.. I want to change the job title back to “peace officer” to start
with. “To establish justice,” the Green Party supports the Michigan ballot issue to legalize marijuana, as alcohol is, to remove its misclassification as a Schedule 1
drug, to stop using it to discriminatory incarcerate especially black young men.
When I wrote the first edition of Michigan Law for Everyone, a reader wrote me that I had omitted drugs from the Criminal chapter. I realized that was because it was not in our criminal statutes, but rather in the Health Code—and that is where it belongs. We need to strengthen the Public Defender system, to have as level a playing field in the criminal courts as there is on the tennis courts.
You have just heard how the four pillars of the Green Party are connected with each other: the e, sj gd and non. The environment with both health and jobs for social justice, education with elections.
We invite you to be part of Greens in government. Run for office, campaign and contribute for those sacrificing to do so. Vote for Greens—most democracies do not have an only two-party system. We can be the change we seek to see.