April 14, 2003
The Greening of America
The U.S. Green Party has been asking its members whom it
should recruit for various national offices -- such as President, Vice
President, Attorney General, EPA Administrator, Secretary of Education,
and Secretary of HUD.
My vote for President was Bonnie Raitt. As opposed to
Nader, Raitt is actually a Green Party member. She has created legislation
on renewable energy, has led forums on education, and is committed to the
environment. Nader is known for many things -- but commitment to the
environment is not one of his strengths.
Raitt was in town for the inaugural of the solar panels on
the Moscone Convention Center. She shared the podium with Mayor Willie
Brown and several department heads. She blew them out of the water. She
was articulate, thoughtful, and sincere. None of the politicians were. She
talked about real issues. They talked platitudes. She spelled out how the
policy of renewable energy was essentially a peace policy and in a
succinct fashion outlined how her stance on the war was the same as her
stance on renewable energy. Even in San Francisco, none of the elected
officials had the guts to take a position other than the idea that the sun
is a force for good. (We already knew that, guys.)
My choice for Vice President was Joan Baez. She has
appeared at several of the city's peace rallies. She too is articulate,
thoughtful, and honest. I realize that with those sterling qualities, she
doesn't have a chance of winning. But her message certainly resonated with
the thousands of people listening to her at Civic Center. I am not sure
that she is a Green -- but she certainly emulates Green values.
My choice for Secretary of Defense was Medea Benjamin.
Benjamin is the co-founder of Global Exchange, which has been on the front
lines (literally) of every conflict in the last fifteen years. She has
created exchange programs to help the oppressed throughout the world so
that we all can learn from each other and gain a view of the conflicts
that we don't get on TV.
My choice for Attorney General was Matt Gonzalez. The
nine-plus years that he spent in the Public Defender's Office must have
given him a good primer on constitutional law and rights. The current
occupant of the high office of Attorney General seems to have missed those
classes during his years in law school. Now Gonzalez is getting a
four-year practical education in planning law, zoning law, sunshine laws,
environmental law, and municipal law. As head of the Justice Department,
he would be able to keep the law officers mindful of the civil liberties
of the victims as well as the accused.
As the chief U.S. legal officer, Gonzalez would be in
charge of the legal business of the country. He and his office would also
represent the country in all cases pending in the U.S. Supreme Court and
the other federal courts. Can you imagine Gonzalez working on antitrusts (Enrons
of the world, watch out!), civil litigation, criminal investigation, and
civil liberties protection? With his Green background, he might even be
able to get someone to fight for environmental law. Who knows? With
Gonzalez as Attorney General, we might have a Justice Department that
works for the people rather than against them.
For Secretary of Education, the choice is obvious -- Mark
Sanchez. Sanchez works tirelessly for our city's public schools and its
students. He searches endlessly for new ways to raise the skill and
knowledge levels of all of our students.
My last choice would be myself as U.S. EPA Administrator.
People overusing their water rights to the detriment of the watershed
would be turned off. People polluting natural resources would be severely
punished to full extent of the law. I would use the public trust doctrine
to fight for environmental justice and against corporate polluters. Rather
than relying on engineering solutions that have not been proven, I would
invest in reducing, reusing, and recycling. (Why do we need tidal power
when we can get much more energy from energy efficiency?) I would look at
improving technology that is actually working -- solar panels, wind
turbines, and energy efficiency. I would work with Congress on legislation
to help reduce the nation's dependence on natural resources (water,
energy, solid waste, and fossil fuels). A beefed-up and empowered division
dealing with Environmental Justice would have the same support from me as
my division on Superfund sites.
I realize that all of these candidates (with the exception
of myself) are concerned and intelligent people. As such, they represent
the complete opposite of the politicians now dwelling in and near 1400
Pennsylvania Avenue. But who knows? Someday in my lifetime, we may see a
sincere, thoughtful politician occupying the White House. A girl can