by Joshua Hellmann, Committee to Elect Auxier
Congress is a deeply unpopular institution. This is not opinion, but fact, as revealed by numerous polls measuring Congressional approval. Yet somehow, the two political parties which have essentially monopolized Congress for nearly seven decades continue to be re-elected. This disconnect reveals a deeply broken system. But paradoxically, it wasn't always this broken. And it doesn't have to continue to be broken. Despite the massive racial and gender disenfranchisement of the past, our country was more democratic in one measure: we had a multi-party system.
The most dramatic product of our country's past multi-party system is the Republican Party itself. Born of the abolitionist movement in the 1850's, the Republican Party was able to supplant the Whig Party, electing their first members of Congress in 1856, and their first President in 1860, Illinois' own Abraham Lincoln. The emergence of the Republican Party, however, did not immediately result in the flawed two-party system of our age. Other political parties were also able to elect their own to Congress during the latter half of the 19th century; the House of Representatives historical archives has a chart of the partisan composition of Congress during that time, and another archival source may be found here. Among the various third parties which gained representation, the most notable was the Populist Party, which managed to elect nearly three dozen people to the House and Senate in the 1890's.Read more
NewsRadio WJPF's Tom Miller interviewing Illinois 12th District congressional candidate Randy Auxier again. The discussion mentions problems with NAFTA and jobs.
Listen to the interview by clicking here.
The topic of eating animals is never a wholly comfortable one for those who embrace the principles of the Green Party. Many Greens are vegetarians and vegans, and all oppose inhumane, cruel, and environmentally unsound methods of factory farming. All Greens want a better and more sensible food system, from seed to table. But there are so many humans to feed, and we also want everyone fed and cared for, cradle to grave.
We sometimes have to draw difficult lines between what we favor in principle and how we are limited by circumstances to live our current lives. Perhaps you know it already, but there are not many wealthy Greens. Most live (by their own choice, often) on very modest means and they are, in my experience, generous beyond belief with what little they do have. But they often (indeed usually) have difficulty affording environmentally sustainable agricultural products. Our twisted economic habits, driven by mass-scale corporate farming, have made the food that is best for us and for our environment more expensive than food that is damaging to our health and the earth. But many people of conscience simply rearrange their budgets, go without other things, and buy the more expensive, healthier food.
You should be curious about your food when, in real terms, the stuff that costs more to produce also costs less to buy at the grocery store. Someone somewhere is paying the difference. And that is the rub. Some of the cost is paid through your taxes in widespread subsidies to corporate farming—essentially corporate welfare. If this were only a matter of incentives for the right levels of production to keep prices reasonable for all concerned, that would be one thing. But that situation has not existed for decades (if it ever really did). Corporate interests use subsidies to keep prices low enough that they can make money by volume and by export while keeping the prices too low for small-scale farmers (the family farm) to stay in business. But farmers are a tenacious breed of human being and many have hung on, in one way or another –many farming at a loss while working other jobs to pay the bills. So, you’ve been paying taxes that are used to put family farms out of business, and you’ve been doing it for decades.
You know the two certainties in life. In truth, there are at least three. The third is: the greedy are always among us, and usually above us. There's a relation to the first two. To be greedy commits a person to an eternal war with taxes. The more a fellow hates taxes, the deeper into greed he has likely fallen.
Those who say “freedom isn’t free,” and who mean it sincerely, don’t allow themselves to become greedy. They won’t get mixed up sharing the cost of what makes this nation great, in what the Framers used to call “blood and treasure.” They know that freedom involves sacrifice in the household. But often we do allow our resentment to descend into selfishness. That attitude fails to honor the sacrifices of those who gave the last full measure of devotion, those whose faces we are shown when the TV says "freedom isn't free." Death, taxes. They are too close for comfort. It’s funny how rich folks almost never say that freedom isn’t free.
"...the Green Party,...has a unique advantage this cycle."
Read The Southern reporter Isaac Smith's article here.
Today the people of Alabama decide whether to send a person to the Senate who places himself above the U.S. Constitution, a multiply-alleged pedophile, and a proud racial bigot, or to send a Democrat. I want to post this before the results are in. What I have to say will hold regardless of the outcome.
There is a side to this story that is constantly overlooked. People from outside the South have great difficulty understanding the “mind of the South,” as W. J. Cash once called it. I am from the South (Memphis) and my mother’s family is of the Alabama/Georgia portion of the region. I have spent a good deal of time in that region, including living there for four years in my twenties. Maybe I can help.
Read the article here.
David Brooks opines in the New York Times, December 4, 2017, about the Supreme Court Case being argued this week involving a Colorado baker (Jack Phillips) who refused to bake a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a same-sex couple planning to marry. Brooks, along with many others are trying to frame this as a freedom of expression case, a First Amendment protection. I disagree.
I see this situation as closely analogous to refusing to serve someone in a restaurant because of his/her race or religion. Cooking, as much as baking, is surely an art, but when you hang out your shingle and say "I cook for the public," you don't get to say "unless you're gay, or black, or Jewish, in which case I won't cook anything for you." If you have something on the menu, but refuse to serve it to members of the public due to your racism, or your religious bigotry, you forfeit the right to do business with the public and your operating license should be revoked. It is the same with refusing to serve people based solely on sexual orientation.