By Jim Luken
I admit it. I have something of a teenage crush on Green Party Candidate Jill Stein. I guess a 72 year old can still feel like a teen. Jill is definitely a babe, but there are many things about Dr. Stein that are far more interesting to me than her physical attractiveness.
• She loves Cincinnati I had a semi-exclusive interview with Stein five weeks ago at the OM Cafe in Clifton. Now, she had come back to Cincinnati on the afternoon before Labor Day, speaking for a Green Party event at Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park. With about 150 enthusiasts in attendance, she spoke (unscripted) for 53 minutes then answered a series of questions, then generously got up close and personal, doing dozens of “selfies” with her excited fangirls and fanboys (including yours truly. See photo). Her comfort level with people seems incredibly genuine and heartfelt, and this from a rising political “star” with so many impingements on her time, and so hectic a schedule.
One person asked her why she had come to Cincinnati twice. She responded, “I really like your city, this beautiful park, and knowing that Cincinnati sits on the dividing line between the North and the South, between east and west.”
• She is taking up where Bernie Sanders left off Stein began her talk by referring to the sadness and feelings of abandonment felt by so many of the people who had invested time, money, and deeply felt energy in the Sanders campaign. She said she felt our pain. Then she turned on the positive juices.
“It feels as if we are bringing together the perfect ingredients here in this perfect political storm for revolutionary change. It feels like we have found each other in the nightmare of an election, in this disaster of an economy. In this world of endless war, we the people who have been thrown under the bus are finding each other.
“It feels like a family,” she continued, “and I gotta say it feels like everybody here is my best friend who I have been looking for my whole life...I just thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
It felt that we to me: that I was her best friend. After Bernie deserted me, Jill became my best political friend. I'm certain that most everybody at the event had a similar amazing feeling set. We weren't just her supporters. We were her family! Earlier, the Green party candidate for Senate in Ohio, machinist Joe DeMare, informed the crowd that, following Hillary's convention victory, Bernie had been offered the opportunity to head the Green Party ticket. And that Jill Stein had been ready to step down as its Presidential candidate. “But Bernie declined to follow this revolutionary path,” DeMare said. This drew “Boos” from the audience. “I'm supporting everything Jill says,“ DeMare gushed, “because she's right!” Jill Stein and the Green Party's positions fall pretty much in line with those spelled out in the Sanders Campaign, although Jill often pushes harder in certain areas. Both he and she stand against voter ID cards, for, example, but Stein advocates automatic voter registration when a person turns 18. Jill is for term limits for nationally elected officials. Bernie is against term limits.
At this post-convention point in time, the main difference between the two is a huge one. Jill Stein is promising to continue the revolutionary surge. While Bernie, at this writing, is in New Hampshire campaigning for Hillary, whose corporate ties and warmongering he had challenged again and again during the primaries.
• She is right on every issue On Labor Day, Stein made clear that “the only real revolution occurs from the bottom up.” She insisted that “this moment is ripe for revolutionary change.” And she clearly believes such change is possible. Stein pointed out that about 23 million voters lean Democratic, no matter what. And 23 million others favor the Republican agenda. “This leaves about 43million voters who are ready for something different than the two party corporate system offers.”
She ran off a list of problems to be solved, followed by common sense ways of solving them.Here are a few of those ideas.
1. Student Debt: “There is only one place to put your vote [referring to herself]; there is only one candidate who will cancel student debt, and bail out the students like we bailed out Wall Street. It's about time to bail out the victims of waste, fraud and abuse instead of the perpetrators.” Such a bailout would cost the taxpayers, many trillions less that the 2009 bank/Wall Street/Insurance company bailout.
2. Free Public Universities: “College tuition is free in the public universities of all other industrialized countries.” [except us] “It has been proven that there is a sevenfold return when a country invests in higher education.”
3. War: All the other countries of the world have 30 overseas military bases. We have 1000. This is what a dying empire looks like.”...”We didn't get rid of Al Qaeda; we created ISIS.”... “We don't need your friggan war. We need to stop bombing other countries.”
4. The health care system: “I used to say I was practicing medicine. Now I say I'm practicing political medicine. I used to give people pills and then push them out the door and into the things that were making them sick, the food system, the dirty air, the for profit medical system.”
• At 66, candidate Jill Stein exhibits an incredible calmness and focus. Her demeanor is sweet but strong. With every sentence that comes out of her mouth, she exudes confidence, clarity, integrity, passion, but all with an incredible, heartfelt energy and compassion. Be honest now. How many politicians make you feel loved?
• Finally Jill was born on my birthday I guess this means that astrologically, we have similar “profiles.” Since she is a Taurus, she can be bullheaded, as can I. We are different ages, so the planets would have been in a somewhat different alignment when she was born. Nonetheless I find it cool that this enormously attractive political persona would have shown up on my political horizons 66 years later to the day. Will I vote for her? Absolutely. Do I care that I could be blamed for a 'Trump victory just as I was blamed when Gore lost to Bush in 2000, because people like me voted for Ralph Nader. As Joe DeMare pointed out on Sunday, Gore didn't lose the election to Bush. He won the popular vote in Florida, and thus won the election. He and the democrats simply caved, and let the Supreme Court decide a states'rights issue.
Jill Stein will not cause Hillary to lose to Trump. If that unlikelihood should happen, it will be Hillary's fault for failing to prove that she is the better candidate. And none of that changes the reality that Jill Stein, my not-so-secret heartthrob, would make the best President of the United States at this revolutionary moment. Jill, you rock!
[Editor’s note: The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition does not endorse political candidates.]