A Letter from Barbara Rodgers-Hendricks
I’d like to comment briefly on several articles in last spring’s issue (Spring/Summer 2012).
Sam Smith concludes that “it is left to us – in our towns, counties and states, to redefine and change our nation to the way it should be.” He advises the Green Party to run only local and state candidates. In general, I agree. I would make an exception for a presidential candidate, however.
If we are to be taken seriously as a political party, I think we must have a presidential candidate on the ballot in all the states. But this candidate should be a dyed-in-the- wool Green. Jay Walljasper uses the word “commons” to denote valuable assets which belong to everyone– “from clean air to wildlife preserves; the judicial system to the Internet; informal social networks that hold communities together to genetic building blocks of life”.
He speaks my language. I feel as though we are old friends, because I was reading the Utne Reader while he was editor. Scott McLarty’s piece on George Lakoff offers an instructive challenge to the Green Party: find your narrative! McLarty/Lakoff states that people do not generally make logical choices, especially in politics. “They often succumb to ruling class propaganda.”
They cite the civil rights movement as an example of a potent narrative. The Green Party needs a phrase such as “Catch the wave”, although that particular phrase is not self-explanatory. Perhaps “Catch the green wave”, huh? And we need music. A jingle maybe. A catchy tune with simple lyrics. Attempts have been made in the past to come up with a theme song, but nothing has caught on. As I read the first couple paragraphs of Rensenbrink’s article on “Catching the Wave”, I was reminded that, in the late nineties, many Green Party candidates used the slogan “Neither right nor left but upfront.” I have not noticed it being used lately, but it seemed to resonate at the time.
Rensenbrink advises Greens not to try to take the world on our shoulders.
That causes burn-out. “There’s a vibrant, creative, life [already] out there”, he says. “Don’t assume a separation.”
What we should strive to be is a catalyst to help enable good things to happen that are beginning to happen but would otherwise not bear fruit. Good advice.
In the twenty or so years I have been in the Green Party, I have seen many burn-outs, and experienced some myself.
A wonderful and freeing image for me is “Catching the Wave.”