We built the country on ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans and never made it right, I told a newspaper on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma – toward the end of our “Trail of Tears Campaign Tour.” We have also traveled extensively among Native American Reservations (Rosebud, White Earth, Osage, Cherokee…) looking at Native American issues within the context of civil rights.
And to make it ‘right,’ we propose cash reimbursements and creative land give backs to the Native Americans in tandem with better job opportunities, education, healthcare… on the Reservations.
At the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota, we met with Winona LaDuke (former Green Party VP candidate). We continually tout her White Earth Land Preservation Project as an excellent program to subsidize in regard to making some of these reparations.
We, too, built the country on the back of Black slaves, and haven’t made that right either. On a tour of the rural “Black Belt” region of Mississippi and Alabama, we looked at swaths of decaying towns. I told the Selma (AL) News that people are still “slaves” to poverty in America.
It was in Alabama that we retraced the famous “Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March.” I told the newspaper in Montgomery that our administration would continue to fight for improvements on what was achieved here in 1964, and much more.
We have also looked at Black issues as they relate to inner city poverty in America, by doing research in Chicago, San Francisco, Cleveland, Atlanta… Our platform calls for tangible financial amends to the ancestors of Black slaves and the mobilization of much more help (mentoring programs, tutoring programs, scholarship money…) for those Blacks (Whites, Hispanics…) trapped in inner city poverty loops.
It is my belief this is integral to establishing a solid civil rights ethos that, finally, makes right the past (at least as much as possible).
Our policy paper cites Clarence Lang who argues for a “Marshall Plan” for urban Black America. “For instance, massive reconstruction of inner city schools, neighborhoods and infrastructure, and full Black employment at livable wages, would also make many cities more habitable places and improve the quality of life for residents.”
We also need more of an infusion of cultural ethnicity classes in school curriculums to foster more understanding and respect for other cultures. On a stop in Spokane, Washington, Bob Bartlett, who is the head of the Multi-cultural Department at Gonzaga University told me that this country is such a tremendous melting pot – and “you know you have a problem” when multi-cultural classes, as a whole, aren’t taught until the collegiate level.
To address “ageism,” I refer to the following newspaper quote from a campaign stop in Champaign, Illinois: “Ask Schriner about Social Security and he talks more about what’s become of the elderly in American Society because they are no longer valued in their community.” --The News Gazette.
Our campaign travels also took us to the Woman’s Rights National Historical Park and Museum in Seneca Falls, New York. It was here in 1848 that the first Woman’s Rights convention was conducted. Some of the issues included the: right to vote; property rights; equal education… And my administration would keep supporting these, and other women’s rights battles.
My wife Liz said to CBS News in Monterey, California: “My issues would be about women.”
Liz describes herself as a “feminist” who is interested in equal rights, not only for women in this country, but around the world.
On the globalization front, so many dimensions of ‘globalization,’ it its current form, have been, at best, dismal. An example:
On a research trip to the border, I met with Fr. Justis Wurth, a college professor in El Paso. He said the year (1994) that NAFTA passed, the Mexican government stopped giving small subsidies t family farmers in the interior of Mexico. As a result, some 15 million people had to move from their land. What’s more, they had no place to go but to border towns to the north where multi-national companies were building factories—and needed cheap labor.
We learned in Juarez that parents work for $3 a shift (not an hour) in those factories, and children roam the streets, hungry.
During a talk at Xavier University, I said it’s not just about corporate greed in a vacuum here. It’s about, say, American consumers who have become addicted to cheap items, without much of a social justice thought about the virtual sweatshops they come from.
This, too, is playing itself out with corporate farms in America now being about to undercut, for instance, subsistence farmers selling their food up the road to stores, in Guatemala.
Something to be “American Proud” of?
In line with Green Party ideology, it is our belief that we can effect a “globalization’ based on economic justice, ecological balance, cultural exchange…
In reference to the latter, our administration would work stridently to bring more economic justice to the world. And at every turn, we would be pushing for much more economic parity and social justice help.
At a seminar in Bluffton, Ohio, I heard Bluffton College Economic Professor James Harder describe how American corporate farms (complete with subsidies, etc.) can now undersell farmers in many parts of the world. This includes foreign farmers who are selling to their local markets just up the street.
This is a social justice travesty and representative, I believe, of the greed that’s driving the system. Again, as stated earlier, our administration would work to help with sustainability for all countries.
Our administration would also consider leveling tariffs if, say, a foreign country’s factory didn’t match the environmental controls of a comparable U.S. factory (that is if the controls here were adequate). We believe this would help reduce global warming gases worldwide.
But ultimately, you would want as much “local production for local consumption” for every country possible, worldwide. This would cut down on emission of global warming gases exponentially on the planet – and foster much saner, decentralized local economic systems.
Also, in line with the Green Party’s Value of non-violence, we propose a Cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace, components of which we’ve researched all around the country. Some of these components would include: a four year Peace Academy on a par with military academies, study panels to assess causes of war, terrorism, inner city violence, domestic violence; commitment to worldwide social justice; public health, environmental sustainability; stepped up Peace Corps work; promotion of many collegiate level (and other school levels) “Cross Cultural Emersion Experiences; bolster American Field Service, U.S. People Ambassador, International Student Exchange and similar existing peace-building programs; teach about non-violent direct actions and increase grassroots peacemaking efforts; inspire multi-dimensional models to build much more peace in families, schools and on the streets of America…
And our foreign policy, ironically enough (at least to some) would start with fighting American forms of terrorism that are playing all kinds of international havoc. Our administration would analyze which U.S. actions (nuclear weapons build-up, training foreign paramilitary groups in terror techniques (for instance, at the “School of the Americas”), exploiting other country’s resources and displacing indigenous people in the process, promoting free trade that undercuts subsistence farmers in the Third World…
Then we would work exhaustively to try and change each.
We, however, would be at odds (to a degree) with the 10 Key Values sub-stance around homosexuality. We believe gays should be treated with the utmost dignity and shouldn’t, for instance, be discriminated against in schools, the work place, the military, etc. For instance, I support last year’s hate-crime provision that passed (in a Defense Bill) that outlaws physical attacks on people based on their sexual orientation. I also support the new law overturning “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” in the military.
However, I believe the societal template for marriage and civil unions should be “one man / one woman.”
The doctrines of my faith (Catholic), explicitly call for no discrimination against homosexuals in regard to such societal areas as I outline above. However, this doctrine also holds that homosexual sex acts are “disordered” and that the societal template, again, should be: one man / one woman. And there are a lot of people in the country who agree.
As of 3/1/10, 30 states had blocked ballot initiatives for same sex unions.
Now, I co-facilitated a recovery group (Adult Children of Alcoholics) for gay men. And I’ve had a number of friends and acquaintances who are gay. In other words, I’m not “homophobic.”
The Green Party uses the term “homophobic” when discussing people who are at odds with them on this issue. And if the Party means what it says in the question above about wanting feedback about things that could be changed, I believe this should be one of them.
That is, using the label of “homophobic” for everyone who has a different opinion on this issue is too broad brush and too polarizing, especially to some who otherwise might be on board with a lot of the rest of the platform, but disagree with this. And this kind of labeling seems little different, in reverse, to the kind of labeling those who engage in ‘gay bashing’ use on the other end of the spectrum.
And if you’re serious about growing the Green Party, I believe there needs to be a higher level of inclusion vs. exclusion.
5. What in your background qualifies you to be a credible presidential candidate? What assets would you bring to your campaign in addition to those already existing within the Green Party? (What do you have to offer?)
I am a former journalist who, for the past 22 years, has scoured the country looking for creative, common sense answers to the issues of our day. From this research, I have developed a solid platform replete with models that will shift society in the direction of many of the Green Party’s Ten Key Values. (Our platform, I believe strongly, is the sanest one out there in regard to where the country needs to go at this time.)
On a 300-mile END GLOBAL WARMING BICYCLE TOUR with our family, I told the Mt. Vernon News that the time is short for our planet because of climate change. I then talked about the need to shift dramatically to clean, renewable energy sources. And I followed this up by citing a wind turbine project we researched in Mandan, North Dakota; a “Zero Energy” solar home model in Manchester, Michigan; a geothermal residence in tiny Florida, Ohio…
I told a graduate class at Toledo University that every time someone picks up on a project we talk about, it’s as if we get a policy enacted long before we ever get to D.C. – on a limited basis.
However, this influence would be a lot greater with the presidency.
The Christian Science Monitor newspaper noted: “Supplementing the political debate is not Schriner’s long term goal, however. He intends to be president.”
I am also a former certified chemical dependency counselor who has not only worked with addictions, but extensively with family systems. (I, for instance, started one of the first Adult Children of Alcoholics and Other Dysfunctional Families treatment programs in the Midwest for the Lorain County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Lorain, Ohio.)
This background has been key to analyzing some of the systemic roots of the social issues (addiction, crime, health issues, mental disorders…) we face in America today. And I draw on it regularly for talks and media interviews.
For instance, I said to CBS news on the Monterey Peninsula in California that “…to heal the country, you have to heal the family.”
And our campaign has researched a multitude of programs across the country that can significantly affect this.
Having said all this, there’s another component. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m your typical Midwestern parent. A speech writer for President Clinton recently said on an NPR interview that what we need at this point in America is a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington …where he then tells the truth.”
That would be me.
And part of those truths, I believe, would be found in most of the Green Party’s “10 Key Values.”
Also, not only does our family try to tell the truth, we try to live it.
During a Q & A session of a Peak Oil conference at Antioch College, I told the assembly that our family has established a “Kyoto Protocol Home Zone” (complete with a yard sign to inspire the neighbors). We don’t use air conditioning, cut the thermostat back in the winter and wear sweaters, bicycle or walk practically everywhere within a five-mile radius… What’s more, my wife turned our backyard into, not just an organic garden, but a perma-culture.
We hold to Mahatma Gandhi’s: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And as First Family, we’d be doing the same.
6. Presidential campaigns are legally independent entities from the political party whose nomination they received. Yet most successful political campaigns meld candidate and party synergistically. If you were the GPUS nominee, how would you envision that working relationship? (How can we work together?)
As I have outlined, the campaign will be replete with Green Party “10 Key Values” ideology. As we continue to travel campaigning, one of the things we’d do from city to city is meet with Green Party people and tout in the media, in talks, and so on, innovative projects they’re involved with that bring to life the Green Party’s “10 Key Values.”
As an example, during our travels we met with the Green Party’s Chris Kovach on a Rt. 95 Border to Border Tour. The following is an entry from our website blog from that meeting:
In Gila Bend, Arizona, I met with Chris Kovach. He is from Stockton, California and is a quite active member of the Green Party. Chris, his wife and their young son had just been visiting San Luis, Arizona – the southern-most point on Highway 95, about 20 miles south of Yuma. (Kovach’s parents live in San Luis.)
Chris said he had just bought some land in San Luis – to build a library on. He said he hand’t traveled much in his life, and when he saw the poverty in San Luis (many new legal, and illegal, immigrants), he was quite moved and wanted to help.
So to help supplement education for new immigrants there, Chris believed an additional library for the town would help tremendously. And the library would have a Green Party twist, so to speak. Some of the sections are to include books on the environment, organic gardening, small scale appropriate farming technologies…
We’d also go to, say, Providence, Rhode Island, and meet with Greg Gerritt, who in turn would tell us about the innovative, wide-scale compost project he’s been involved with recently. We would stop again at the White Earth Reservation to tell America more about Ms. LaDuke’s creative, land preservation project…
These are just a few of what I’m sure are a plethora of examples of Greens doing things around the country to live out parts of the 10 Key Values. And (with more and more media attention as this grows), we would continue to go around highlighting them.
7. Do you believe that an independent party like the Greens can succeed in the US? How would you define such success? How can it happen? (Will we succeed?)
Thomas Friedman recently wrote a column for the New York Times that said because of the outright disenchantment with both major Parties at this point, the time could well be right for a Third Party win. And I believe the combination between this and the rapidly evolving environmental “9/11” (mentioned earlier) could well be the factors that take the Green Party over the top, this time.
So what I’m saying, again, is that “winning” might well actually mean: winning!
That is, as in the White House.
Granted, there are a lot of ways to “succeed” in a political arena, whether that’s stimulating debate around alternatives, influencing people to change (for instance, someone starting to grow organically, or cutting back on consumerism, or becoming more non-violent…), or winning city council seats, or… etc., etc., etc.
And the Green Party has been diligently going about all this through resilient, ongoing grassroots democracy efforts. And I’m sure that will continue.
However with a successful Green Party U.S. Presidential bid, these other areas will grow exponentially.
And how this can happen is, as things start to line up, the Green Party throws all its political savvy in organizing people, networking a message and going to the streets behind, oh, a candidate who might be gaining a lot of national traction.
8. There is some interest within the Green Party of having the party's nominee run together with a Green Cabinet, that would feature prospective cabinet members and federal agency heads that would serve in your government, should you be elected president. Such an approach could demonstrate what a Green government might be like and would do so during the election, promoting transparency. It could expand the number of people campaigning, with Cabinet members on the road and in the press in addition to the nominees. What do you think of this approach? Who might hold positions in a Green Cabinet? How would you see your candidacy interacting with those individuals during the campaign? (How might we connect the dots?)
On the one hand, this is quite creative. And I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of it being done before. On the other hand, I think this multi-level campaigning for one spot would be confusing to your average voter, and even confusing to some of the press. It might also spread things too thin. That is, if what I believe is going to happen, happens (big national story about our campaign), it would seem to me that there would need to be a linear approach with all the grassroots person power, energy and effort being put behind the candidate. This is the type of synergy that I believe would be most effective in a high profile campaign. Think Ralph Nader’s campaign, with a big exponent.
9. Can we publish your reply on the GPUS website in a public section reserved for such responses?
Please send your reply to the PCSC co-chairs AJ Segneri () and Tom Yager at ()