Dr. Jill Stein, a Harvard-trained internist, says she now practices “political medicine” to treat the “mother of all illnesses” which ails our country, the corrupt political duopoly.
When the Green Party presidential candidate takes the podium, her passion to see ordinary Americans lead healthier, happier and safer lives is tangible.
We traveled to Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, to see Jill Stein in person. The campus Greens, who organized the event, were gracious hosts–up to and including serving free pizza for lunch, when Dr. Stein’s arrival was delayed. “We need a recovery for the 99 percent,” Dr. Stein said to an audience of college students, faculty members, their friends, and families gathered on the sunny lawn next to the student union building.
Dr. Stein says she’s observed how many Americans have taken out loans to attend college, because they’ve been told repeatedly that, when they graduate, they’ll obtain well-paying jobs and be able to pay off the loans. This scenario hasn’t happened because of the 2008 crisis, which has left many students scrambling to eke out a living with part-time and temp jobs, with no chance of ever being able to repay their loans. “You shouldn’t have to buy survival in this economy,” stated Dr. Stein. “We bailed out the bankers, so why can’t we bail out our students?” The Green Party’s platform of student debt forgiveness is unique. Students unburdened by this predatory debt would be free to buy homes and cars and to start their families, causing a subsequent influx of money into the economy to rebuild and strengthen it.
The Green Party states that having a job is a fundamental human right. A “Green New Deal” proposes an emergency jobs program to employ unemployed and under-employed Americans. With the dignity of work (at $15+ an hour) and free from fear of losing homes due to medical/student loan debt, because of universal health care and student debt forgiveness, ordinary Americans will be able to transform our country into a green economy, obtaining 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. With less fossil fuels burning and polluting our air, water and land, the public’s health will improve, as well.
Tackling universal health care and fighting the effects of climate change are strong Green Party positions. “We can’t allow a nine-foot sea level rise,” said Dr. Stein, which is what most climatologists predict will happen, if measures aren’t taken to reduce carbon emissions and to switch to cleaner energy sources. At least 600 million worldwide could become homeless, causing increased international strife. Harbors around the world would become non-functional, causing trade problems and wrecking economies.
Dr.Stein noted that currently we can’t handle the 60 million refugees made homeless without threatening more violence and bigoted responses to their dilemma. How would we deal with ten times that number of “climate refugees”? Since the bloated U.S. Defense budget makes up 54 percent of our total budget and the next line items get 7 percent or less, the Greens feel we should close most of the U.S. military bases abroad. Dr. Stein stated we’d switch from an “offensive military strategy” and return to a more moral, defensive posture, relieving our soldiers from serving in unjust conflicts, which has led to P.T.S.D., veteran suicide and other health problems. At last, there’d be an end to the “endless wars for oil.”
Dr. Stein is also firmly against the so-called “War on Drugs” (revealed by Nixon aide John Erlichman to be a tool to keep anti-war activists and African-Americans disenfranchised). This travesty of justice, further bolstered by Bill Clinton’s for-profit prisons system, created a “school-to-prison pipeline” in communities of color, allowing private prison corporations to rake in huge profits at the expense of human suffering and robbing minorities of the right to vote.
Dr. Stein held a question-and-answer session after her speech (unlike another candidate who has avoided the press for over 280 days). “Why are you against vaccines?” she was asked. Dr. Stein repeated she was trained as a medical doctor and isn’t against vaccines and her comments have been deliberately misrepresented in the mainstream media. She is all for bettering the public’s health, which includes vaccination. In fact, she co-authored a book, In Harm’s Way, on how toxins in our environment adversely affect child development. (You can download a free pdf of In Harm’s Way online.)
No doubt about it, Jill Stein is a true believer, envisioning a better world, a world where “people, planet and peace” come before insatiable corporate profits. Let’s hope she’ll be allowed in the presidential debates and not locked up for eight hours in a dark warehouse as she was in 2012 when she and her running mate attempted to attend. American voters deserve to hear the Green Party’s optimistic message.
Bio: Cindy A. Matthews is a freelance writer, novelist and editor of Our Revolution Continues–The Bernie Blog: http://bernie2016.blogspot.com
Photo (c) 2016 Cindy A. Matthews