I have been taking a very long time to write about this – like a year. It has been hard to think about how to write about where I am politically. I think I have finally found the words to express myself in this regard.
I love politics. I love reading and writing about politics and issues that are affected by our political system. If I had more time I would spend as much time as possible on Capitol Hill and I would run for office. I would spend more time writing more lengthy articles for blogs. In my distant past I have written for newspapers on non-political issues. I love writing and I absolutely love interviewing people and creating posts on those interviews. Oh for more time…..but other things take precedence at the moment!
I came to Utah as “non-declared” to a political party. I did not want to be tied to the Democrat (and certainly not Republican!) party. Four years after moving to Utah, I found the Green Party.
I began my political affiliation with the Green Party of Utah (GPUT) in 2001. The Green Party platform was everything I had always believed and valued. I became quite involved and eventually became a delegate to the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) and on to Co-Coordinator of the state party. I ran for Salt Lake County Council in 2006 in my district. I became a leader at the national level on committees. I helped organize local and national Green Party events. I spent nearly every moment of my spare time on Green Party issues, activities, and politics. I maintained lists, participated in weekly conference calls with my colleagues across the nation and I was a part of the GPUS speakers bureau. Political life was good.
But life in the Green Party was, and is, not without its trials and tribulations. Despite divides in our state party that resulted in the eventual degradation of the party membership, I forged ahead to try to help get ballot access, rebuild the party membership, and educate people on the values that the Green Party upholds in its platform. I volunteered at the local and national levels for various tasks and committees. I spoke at rallies, locally and nationally. I participated in direct action in the name of the Green Party. I marched, I stood up, I spoke out. I lived/breathed/ate (and still do) green values to the max. Even so, I endured hateful treatment from “fellow” Green Party members from locally and across the country regarding the GPUT troubles. I was subject to humiliation and antagonism in front of huge groups of people at national meetings. I did not let that stop me. I continued my work for the good of the people and our world and for my grandchildren and future generations. Fortunately the outspoken antagonists were few, albeit loud. The support from all others, not to mention the fortitude gained from my own convictions, beliefs and values, kept me going.
There comes a point where one has to examine the outcomes based on the efforts put forth. Over the past year I have been conducting such an examination, internally, and came to the determination that the “hard” outcomes – ballot access, growth in membership, increase in awareness about the GPUT – have not only NOT increased but, in fact, have dropped into what I call the “negative” zone. I came to accept that in Utah, we are probably not ready yet for an official Green Party. Further, I am not willing to continue in the same vein. It’s someone else’s turn to pick up the pieces and see if there is any value at this time in starting from scratch and helping the GPUT to grow.
The other outcomes – the life impacting outcomes – are greater. It doesn’t matter what level of organizing I do. What matters is how I live my life, teach others about the Key Values, and how I treat my Mother, the Earth, and all her life. That is what matters. The lasting friendships I have made, the connections I gained and still maintain, the influences and inspirations that have enabled me to take bold steps for myself and my community that I continue to this day……those are the outcomes that matter.
The state party still exists. I am just no longer a part of the organizing body, locally or nationally. Am I still a Green? Yes. Do I still support the Green Party? Absolutely. Do I feel the Green Party is the only viable political party? No question.
I do plan to support the candidates in Utah whose platforms I feel align with Green Party values, regardless of their stated party affiliation. There are some Greens who, no matter what, will not support anyone who is not a card-carrying Green Party member. But in Utah, that is just not realistic. If I were to wait until there is a candidate in Utah who is a Green Party member to support and endorse, I will likely be waiting for a very, very long time. I plan to someday run for office again – probably as an independent in Utah and probably starting out in a non-partisan race at that. When the time is right.
For now I am consumed with my job of educating teenagers in the public school system, along with my increasing voluntary obligations as a grandparent. Between employment and family issues, coupled with where I am in political organizing, the time is right to be taking some physical steps back, regrouping and, in effect, starting fresh with a look at my political involvement and where to expend my energies and resources. One project that I am very involved in is the Utah Legislature Watch site (utahlegislaturewatch.org) which I co-founded two years ago with a friend and colleague here in Utah. I am focusing on Utah politics in what time I have to devote to them. Further, I still dream of building a Utah Peace House (utahpeacehouse.org) for our peace and justice community. The time is not right at the moment to be soliciting donations of land for this, so I am holding on to that dream for now. Personally, I am focusing with Tom on creating a totally sustainable landscape on our property where we live that is primarily edible, and working on improvements to our home and property.
In my heart I know that the Green Party is THE party of the people. It is the only party with a platform that makes sense, advocates for human rights and planetary preservation, and is operated from the grassroots. I will always be a Green Party member and supporter. I will continue to participate in the Green Party Peace Network (greenpartypeacenetwork.org), which I co-founded with my lovely Green friend and colleague from Maine. I will continue to participate in and support the Green Change network (greenchange.org), a network of people who believe in and live Green values and act in ways that effect change in politics. I will continue to follow and support Green Party Watch (greenpartywatch.org), a site that closely follows and reports on Green Party politics and issues. I will continue to follow, support and write about Green Party issues and candidacies on my own blogs.
Stay tuned…..I ain’t done on this earth yet. Just shifting gears. Lots of politics still to explore, experience and write about. Lots of living, advocatin’ and agitatin’ yet to do.