Sick of politics and locker room talk yet? Let Bill Bartlett, former co-chairman of the Colorado Green Party tell you about the 10 Key Values, following the money, and how it ain’t easy being … sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.
How long have you been with the Green Party and what’s so appealing about it?Five years. [The Green Party] began appealing to me after the Obama election. I didn’t immediately jump to it. I spent a little time as an independent, figuring things out. Not to say that I was totally bought in to Obama changing so much stuff, but his initial cabinet and all of the stuff that started happening turned me off enough to where I wandered loose in the wilderness for a couple of years before I began to align with the Greens.
Thanks Obama.The main thing was his immediate alignment with all of the big money – Goldman Sachs, Larry Summers – all of the big names that were involved in the old Clinton administration, all the big names that hung out in the shadows during the Bush years. Eventually it all comes around. The same people who were begging for money in 2008 when everything was going down. The same companies that are making money off of our students to go to college, they’re making money off of the bombing in Syria – all of this stuff is interrelated with big money interests. When he put together his cabinet, he put all of those same financiers in there and that just showed me for sure that things weren’t going to change. And they haven’t.
Why the Greens?The thing that really got me is that they don’t accept any corporate funding. That was a big deal for me. That, and their 10 Key Values.
What are the 10 Key Values?Grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom, social justice and equal opportunity, non-violence, decentralization, feminism, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, community-based economics, and future focus and sustainability.
Impressive.I had to bust out my cheat sheet!
How does one become an informed voter?Greens stay informed by not getting their news from the mainstream media. You’ll tend to see Greens reading Common Dreams [website], Democracy Now!, RT has some good shows. If a Green is looking at MSNBC, they’re just trying to figure out what the hell is going on. People who are watching the 24-hour news cycles aren’t really hearing the most important topics of our global politiscape. My pet peeve lately is the Hillary/Benghazi scandal. They spend all these hearings wondering if they could’ve saved these guys, but where is the hearing to say, “Should we have destabilized Libya to begin with?” Where is that hearing? For Aleppo and the Libyan people starving to death – literally a human tragedy – and we caused it because we’re invading the country. But our news won’t say anything.
What would you tell young voters?Become involved and don’t allow party lines to separate. I’m a Green Party guy, but I want to sit down and talk without being divisive with people just because they’re in a different party. I would hope that young voters don’t get so centralized on a party particularly, and instead stay connected to their government and work to make it better, make it part of their routine. Too often, we’re not taught to make it part of our routines, so people don’t get involved until their 30s, or they have kids and it starts to matter to them in a different way, or something horrible happens. Democracy would work better if people get started early. Get on a board, get on city council. Make sure you know how things work. It’s become too mysterious to too many people. That’s part of the reason there’s so much tension in the government, I think.
Why do we need more than two parties?We see the same solutions over and over again. We need more voices. We’re big enough to warrant a slightly more complicated system, not only of parties, but of voting. To allow people a greater depth of power in the voting booth.
What’s so compelling about politics?It’s the people. I care about the issues and I would like to see more good, normal people involved. I don’t think I have any extreme qualities that set me apart as particularly better or worse at being involved than a lot of people. We just need to set examples for each other. It’s the disconnection between us that causes these crazy imbalances over the world. We’re being represented overseas by drone bombings and things of that nature. It’s imperative that people get involved to displace the companies who hire staff to get involved. That’s a such a weird thing – companies can hire staff to be more involved than the average American can be!
Cyle Talley can’t help but notice that the one thing every party representative bitched about is the “mainstream media.” We’re not so different after all, folks. If there’s something you’d like to GET SMART about, email him at: [email protected]