The Green Party’s rose-colored glasses


By Nell Jaskowiak, Parkway West High School

Physician-turned-politician Jill Stein has been a name among the Green Party for years, and as frustrations grow with mainstream presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, she is breaking onto the national stage as voters search for other options. As a physician in the 1990’s, Stein noticed a link between pollution and toxic waste to illness in her patients, and ever since then she has been a devoted environmentalist. In 2002, the Green Party recruited her to run for Massachusetts governor, and she has been a politician ever since.

When most people think of the Green Party, they think of environmentalist, peace-loving social liberals, and they’re not wrong. Stein’s campaign platform is built upon those three principles, and it is extremely naive. She does not understand the realities of political conflict, how fragile our economy is or that removing hatred is not as simple as saying “stop it.”

Stein seeks to “create 20 million new jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030.” While the intentions behind that are great, Stein is forgetting the entanglement of politics with climate change. Economically, transitioning all current fossil and nuclear fuel workers to jobs in the renewable industry is not as easy as she wants to think; natural gas and coal companies cannot just disappear and neither can the money that they control. Along with that, renewable companies don’t grow like grass, they need money to get started and have to be making stable profits before they can hire en masse. It is not nearly as smooth of a process as Stein seems to think. In addition, in the next 14 years, it is inevitable that succeeding Presidents will come to office who are either not worried about global warming or see better uses of American finances and natural resources. Though she expects the next two or three Presidents that will follow to be as zealous about climate change as she is; realistically, not all will be. People won’t cooperate with her in the way that’s needed for this idea to come to fruition.

A second major push of the Stein campaign is education reform, and she wants to, quite simply, “abolish student debt.” How much colleges can charge for tuition varies between each state, and private colleges wouldn’t concede to slashing their profits without putting up a fight. Furthermore, if the current debt were to be absolved, there would be unpredictable and potentially disastrous impacts to the current state and stability of the economy. All of the money that the government would not get back would drastically impact governmental revenue and thusly force budget slashes on vital programs, affecting any number of socioeconomic groups, and the ripple would only widen from there. While reducing student debt most certainly should be a priority for our next president, Stein loses sight of how much can be accomplished in four years, and that a reasonable, manageable amount of debt isn’t necessarily horrible.

Overhauling the justice system is a key feature of Stein’s campaign platform as well; she fully supports the Black Lives Matter movement and wants to end police brutality, but she has not vocalized any specific vision to counteract social injustices whatsoever. If Stein wants voters, she needs to give them plans for action–not empty battle cries–for all of her issues, especially ones as important as this. Removing jail as an option for youth offenders, ending the death penalty and repealing mandatory minimum sentencing requirements are the primary tenets of her proposed criminal justice reform, but there are issues abounding. While youth do sometimes deserve more leniency from our justice system, so that they don’t have their lives ruined permanently, abolishing juvenile detention entirely without offering up a replacement is concerning to say the least. Without mandatory sentencing requirements, more outrages like the Brock Turner case will occur, and while restorative justice is nice in principle, there is a lot of trust and accordingly a lot of risk involved, a risk that many Americans are not willing to take.

The Green Party has never had success on the national stage for good reason, they are like children living in a glass house; they refuse to step outside and accept that not everything in this world can be fixed easily, that not everyone wants to cooperate to make this world into one unified vision of greatness. Stein’s presidential campaign platform is full of good intentions but reveals a clearly romanticized view of America without any plan for how to deal with its realities, something we simply cannot accept out of someone who wants to be our President.

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