columbus Dispatch Voter Guide

How should the United States deal with the national debt and the pressures caused by rapidly growing entitlement programs?

We must reorder our national priorities so that we can properly fund health care,  college tuitions, and Social Security.  This can be done by ending Wall Street bailouts, cutting the bloated Pentagon budget, and closing tax loopholes used only by the wealthy.  Fair taxes on corporations and the wealthy will allow the national debt to be gradually paid off.   Health care and education are good investments that pay for themselves.  They should not be undermined by legislators focused on giving tax breaks to businesses and the wealthy.

What should the United States do to address global climate change?

The United States should provide leadership to move the world toward an enforceable global climate treaty that will bring greenhouse gasses under control before we reach the tipping points beyond which catastrophe is unavoidable.  The inadequate, unenforceable, voluntary measures that our government has promoted recently should be replaced by an effective global framework that is integrated with international trade agreements.   We should initiate a Green New Deal creating millions of green jobs green jobs including jobs in renewable energy, energy conservation, recycling,  public transit, sustainable agriculture,  and restoration of soil and forests (which serve as sinks for carbon).

What should the government do to address the issue of mass shootings in the United States?

As an immediate step,  we need common-sense gun control measures that the majority of Americans agree on, including a ban on assault weapons and background checks for gun purchases.   But ultimate solution to this problem requires us to turn away from the glorification of violence in our society, to stop promoting militarization,  and to greatly improve the delivery of mental health services in our nation.  Good police work and preventive measures are necessary, but the problems of senseless violence will only grow worse if it’s fundamental drivers are not addressed.  We must stop recruiting terrorists by ending our imperialistic military adventures in the Middle East.  We must stop portraying shootouts and bombing campaigns as good solutions to social and diplomatic problems.  And we must do better at detecting disturbed individuals and providing the interventions needed to prevent their emotional problems from leading to a violent climax. 

What sort of strategy should the United States employ to address the threat of ISIS and other radical terrorists?

The war on terror is the longest war in our history.  And it has been a catastrophic failure – producing failed states, mass refugee migrations and worsening terrorist threats. We cannot simply bomb terrorism out of existence because each bombing campaign just creates new terrorists and paves the way to the next wave of terrorism.  We need a new kind of offensive in the middle east – a peace offensive, that starts with a weapons embargo and a freeze on the bank accounts of those countries – including Saudi Arabia – that are funding jihadist militias around the world.  We must work with all non-jihadist states to stabilize legitimate governments and take the winds out of jihadist recruitment.  And we must prove ourselves to be the true friends of the people of the Middle East, and not be seen as insensitive bullies driven by the arrogant doctrine of American exceptionalism.

What else would you like to say to voters?

People are tired of our rigged economy – tired of struggling with debt – and tired of politicians who serve insiders and big money instead of the people. A vote for the Green Party is a step toward a new kind of politics in which voters become more powerful than big money donors and our nation is freed from the grip of lobbyists and corrupt special interests.  It’s a vote for fair taxes,  jobs for all,  alternatives to expensive and failing wars,  affordable universal health care,  canceling student debt,  ending racial disparities,  and launching a clean energy initiative that can really save the planet from climate change.   This is an opportunity to change the system that may not come again in our lifetimes.  Don’t waste your vote by voting to continue the failed two-party system – invest your vote in the movement for real change that is represented by the Stein/Baraka campaign.

We can build a better future together.