Howard Switzer for US Congress

 Howard Switzer for GovernorOur patriotic duty today is to make all major American institutions democratic. While we may have much personal freedom to go where we want, work, eat, live where we want, buy what we think we want, change the channel when we want, etc. we have given up our civic and political roles. We do not have the freedom to participate in decisions about war and foreign policy, domestic health and safety, taxes and monetary policy, transportation or environmental protection or education policy. The media, school system, financial system, labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our political system, even our high courts are now dominated by this centralized corporate wealth. It is an issue that is not even on the agenda of the “suits,” my corporate funded opponents in this race.

I am a hippy, proud because we hippies have been right on every issue for the last 40 years. We were right about Nixon, Racism, Vietnam, consumerism, nuclear power, environmental pollution, organic food, natural birth, green renewable and appropriate technology …and we are right about the corporate control of our national institutions. My goal is not to overthrow the system but to make it irrelevant by reviving democracy, by making sure that every organization, our church, school, or government is run according to its principles.

The corporate wealth I am speaking of represents a very few people, heads of giant conglomerates and the “machine” they command, many of us may be involved in corporations that are hardly the problem. Public policy should first and foremost be aimed at making economic conditions better for ordinary Americans and support small businesses which are the backbone of America. They create more jobs, are difficult to outsource, and are about the only part of the business world that can honestly talk about being in a free market. Further, small business people are important community leaders, we all need to support them. Buy Fresh, Buy Local.

Minorities are a vast resource available by simply opening all the locked doors they run into every day in the pursuit of happiness. We should design our society to make happiness much easier to find. Corporate marketing is designed to make you unhappy so you will buy the latest whatever. It is awful that huge numbers of our young black and white men are offered just two futures: incarceration or pain if not death on the battlefield. We can have much better choices. Americans are putting in too many hours, we have enough hands to lighten the load, it is long past time to shorten the work week.

Decentralization is the idea of localization — having government carried out at the lowest practical level – the spirit of localism, including things like credit unions, coops, and organized communities dates back to our nations founding, its another American tradition we hippies value. It is what makes democracy possible. Our nation seems divided by media constructed divisions but the real divide is not between blue states and red, conservatives and liberals, the religious and the secular, Christians and Muslims, or chevy owners and ford owners, but between ordinary citizens and their corporate sponsored leaders, between the big shots and the rest of us.

Public schools must be turned back to their communities. It worked for 100 years before it was decided to turn American producers into no-producing consumers. Our schools today are grim detention centers where the young are taught to pass tests rather than to learn live. They must be given the tools to grow up and become good citizens. We must teach our children that with liberty comes the responsibility to not only defend it but to guarantee it to others. We can engage in constant negotiation rather than a battle to the death over polarized philosophies. Let’s talk more about a democracy in which everyone wins instead of one in which only approximately half do. Instant runoff voting and proportional representation are good beginnings. I also support public campaign financing, more states, a larger House of Representatives and a constitutional amendment to end corporations’ legal status as “persons.” We must understand the difference between good regulation and regulation designed to handicap us.

I Support the Second Amendment for two good reasons: it works and prohibition laws do not. We don’t outlaw fountain pens or coal, and many more people are dying because of them. I’ve liked all the people I’ve met who own guns. I don’t think, in the process of building resilient local economies for happy self-reliant communities, guns are going to present any insurmountable problem. Guns can be a bigger problem in cities. But they are more like the infection than the wound and we heal the wound to end the infection. Heal the community’s wounds and the guns will become irrelevant. Using them for crimes and injustices remains a breach of the sacred trust freedom dictates regarding gun use and ownership. Guns make it very easy to kill so children playing with them or crimes of passion demand responsible care for safety.

The war on drugs is our nation’s most unsuccessful and expensive policy this side of foreign wars. Ending the war will save that money, reduce the police state, limit prosecutorial discrimination against the poor, lower the crime rate and switch attention to health-based solutions. End this crazy prohibition of hemp, it should be legalized across the board. None of God’s plants should be outlawed, especially one as beneficial as hemp for our farmers. Food, medicine, fuel, fiber, oil, biomass, cellulose, soil and that isn’t the half of it. I think Wall Street made it illegal to punish the farmers, for their audacity in wanting a voice in policy that affected them, and ultimately to take over their farms. They made it illegal in 1938, had to make it legal for WWII because of its value for all the before mentioned, and hemp oil was used in our airplanes because unlike petroleum, it doesn’t loose viscosity at high altitudes. That still isn’t the half of it but we should get the idea.

Christians who listen to usurers, war-mongers, hypocrites, idolaters and groupies of TV false prophets attacking the foundational principles of this nation make me weary while other Christians are a soul’s inspiration. To be free we must all be free. The Bible deserves our respect. The hippies were right about Jesus too, he remains a good example of how to be. The only people who made him mad were the big bankers. Lets be honest, if it had not been for ordinary Americans getting riled up and organized we would not have had many of the things we take for granted; Protection of your bank account, Social Security, A minimum wage, Regulation of the stock exchanges, right to bargain with employers, a Soil Conservation Service and other early environmental programs, National parks and College education and loans for innumerable veterans, The bulk of hospital beds in the country, Unemployment insurance, Small Business Administration, National Endowment for the Arts, Medicare, the Peace Corps and the list goes on. And yes, many of them have since been gravely compromised by corporate management. However, when the North Dakota farmers got mad at Wall Street in 1919 they started their own State Bank. They are the only state today with a budget surplus and it is because they asserted their democratic rights in order to be the artisans of their own destinies.

Liberals and Conservatives are both to blame for this mess as they both refused to defend the interests of working men and women as our manufacturing sector was dismantled, labor unions destroyed and social services slashed opening the door for a virulent right wing. Into this melee steps the Green Party that remains true to values that foster the common good and the very real needs of food, housing, health care, meaningful employment and education.

Democracy is more than two wolves and lamb discussing what is for dinner, it is the cows, chickens and pigs too discussing how they can all keep from becoming dinner. Greens are not interested in designing jobs for themselves in government. Government is by and for the people, the way we say it is supposed to be, a founding principle of our state and nation that we embrace. It was in fact the way the Iroquois Confederacy truly operated for 200 years before Columbus landed which made an impression on a number of our founding fathers.
Democracy was not brought to the new world it was rediscovered here. Let’s lower the voting age to 16 too.

Our water is critical. Buckminster Fuller once pointed out that if you take a 1″ diameter shiny ball bearing, to approximate our planet’s 8000 mile diameter, and with your warm moist breath blow a foggy mist onto that ball bearing you would have then the approximate depth of our planet’s oceans to scale. There is only one ocean all connected, including the fresh water cycle, that we all depend on for life. We are poisoning the water, soil and air we share with the rest of the 30 million species on this planet. Industrial society is driving the Sixth Planetary Extinction as we lose 10 or more species every day due to loss of habitat and toxins. This is what the corporate industrial system has done for us and if we do not turn it around we ourselves may not have a future.

The Green Party is it not just an alternative, it is the imperative. We are the sane third party that needs to be called in to help the dysfunctional couple inhabiting our governments today to help them see reality. I don’t want to dominate anyone, my values reject such notions because we are all valuable parts of this whole. But, we are facing an all-hands-on-deck emergency and it will take us all working together not just as states, or nations or a people, but perhaps even as a species to adequately address this.

We can do this by first turning away from corporate rule to remove its legitimacy, by shunning consumerism, by focusing on building viable, self-reliant communities that can feed, clothe, house and govern themselves, by building communities who can produce the fuels, tools and energy they need to thrive and be happy. This redundancy will greatly enhance state, national and global security. Small businesses can join in by merging clean energy, services and products with cultural
events encouraging a political consciousness that actively defies corporate hegemony. Government could play a helpful and supportive role.

Hippies have been talking about all this for 40 years, we understand the issues but more importantly we have a positive vision of the future. We understand Tea Party anger, I was angry too when I found out my society and government was a sham. We all have reason to be angry, the first stage we go through in grief. Eventually we get through the anger, denial, and depression to find resignation and then we can begin to do what is necessary to make life better. I came to Tennessee because I found the people here to be a kind and loving. I
know we can make our state a paradise instead of a patsy.

Please join me in this vital effort.

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