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Jill Stein versus The Man...in Portland

A presidential candidate was in Monument Square this afternoon -- and only about 20 people showed up to hear her speak. 

Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president (about whom Chris Faraone wrote a terrific piece in this week's Phoenix), blasted the "politics of fear" that keep third-party candidates out of mainstream political discussions. She said "we've gotta take our lives back" by embracing what she calls the Green New Deal, which includes:

  • Bailing students out of loan debt the same way we bailed out big banks ("we can find a way," she insisted);
  • "[I]mplementing a nationally funded, but locally controlled direct employment initiative replacing unemployment offices with local employment offices offering public sector jobs which are “stored” in job banks in order to take up any slack in private sector employment;"
  • Investing in green jobs and research;
  • Protecting civil liberties and the right to protest;
  • Shifting from "sick care" to legitimate "health care" through a single-payer system that emphasizes prevention, as well as through healthy food systems and active lifestyles.

She also mentioned that while is "not a user and never has been," she believes that as a medical doctor it is her responsibility to advocate for the legalization of marijuana (Stein will be the keynote speaker at Saturday's Atlantic CannaFEST in Deering Oaks Park). 

After her public speech, I asked her what it's been like trying to convince people that we're at a tipping point in terms of breaking the endless (and fruitless) back-and-forth between the two establishment political parties. She likened her experience to being a "political therapist, helping people get out of an abusive political relationship." There will always be excuses as to why people should continue voting for status quo candidates, why they should stay within the confines of a system that isn't helping them, and in fact may be hurting them. 

"The politics of fear has delivered all the things we were afraid of" Stein said. 

What's that adage about being insane? Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result every time?

Perhaps its time to try something new, before we all lose our minds. 

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