Shades of Green
By Liz Smith-Anderson
The election is over, the winner declared. The Democrats are dancing in the streets while the Republicans grimace and grind their teeth in an attempt to hide their disgust. Barack Obama won millions of votes by promising change. He has promised change in the way we deliver healthcare, the way we treat the environment, and has offered to protect our constitutional rights. Wait a minute. This sounds very ‘Green Party’ to me. Could it be that the radical thought paradigms of the far left have evolved into centrist thinking? Has the average citizen finally accepted that the way ‘things were done’ in the past just won’t work in today’s world. Is it possible that Obama will be ‘the one’ who pulls it all together and actually is able to move our nation towards that more perfect union dreamed of by our founders?
How is Obama going to be able to change the way we deliver healthcare if the American Medical Association continues to be allowed to lobby our representatives? Will he be able to stop the big polluters with regulations? These tasks alone could take the most intelligent and stalwart amongst us a lifetime to figure out. Obama has promised this and more. We all know talk is cheap during election time. Look at the promises Bush made and (thankfully) was unable to accomplish. He promised to unite the country, instead he widened the gap. He promised the standard pledge of Republican fiscal responsibility and less government and instead gave us the biggest deficit EVER and the biggest government EVER. Bush will leave office the most unpopular president in our history and deservedly so.
Obama can’t go it alone and he shouldn’t have to. We have to do our part and once again accept responsibility for our actions. Wait, that’s what Obama has asked of us and here again is another ‘Key Value’ of the Green Party. We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. Obama is really starting to look Green to me!
Just look around at what has happened right here in York County in the past 10 years and you will see the disastrous results of unfettered Republican controlled “growth” and economic development. Subdivision after subdivision went up and sold out to buyers who 12 years ago wouldn’t have qualified for a used car, let alone 100% financing on a 200 thousand dollar house. Lots got smaller, the houses got bigger, and concern for suitability went out the unregulated door. The march of the “shopping center” struck. Lest we be outdone by our big sister Charlotte, our local leaders poured our tax dollars into infrastructure for malls and shopping centers.
Not one iota of concern was shown the environment. If it could be built, it would be built and that was the end of the story. SCDHEC became a rubber stamp machine instead of what it was intended to be and so we ended up with a hospital being approved that no one wants and that will be tied up in litigation for years before the first brick is laid no matter who the winner turns out to be.
Who, in the end, will pay for all of this? Our children and grandchildren will be the ones to pay with the lack of clean drinking water and more polluted air due to deforestation. The Catawba River has been pushed to the brink of environmental disaster and we all looked the other way and complained that we could not water our lawns or access the boat ramp.
Not one person on the City or County Council had the courage to suggest that maybe we had enough people living in York County. Not one had the courage to suggest a moratorium on building until we could determine what the environmental impact would be. A few of them liked to talk “green” living but did very little to promote it and absolutely nothing to legislate it. Not one of them ever asked, to my knowledge, how many more people could the Catawba River support? How much infrastructure would we need to provide to handle such growth? How are we going to pay for it? No, we let developers from California come in here with their wild promises of economic development and money for all. The beautiful Catawba River which had served us for so very long was of no regard to them other than as a backdrop for million dollar homes.
We have a lot on our plate, right here in York County if we are going to start healing the environment and taking care of each other. Everyone deserves access to healthcare…this is not a handout to some bum who doesn’t want to work (no matter what the Republicans tell you) and it is not reasonable to expect the government to be solely responsible for the state of your health (like some Democrats would like). Self regulation and responsibility would be the hallmark of any Green system developed. You smoke? Quit. It is not the government’s responsibility to enable you to continue on with your own poor health choices. Can you imagine having a support system in place for doctors to refer you to while you were trying to get out from under your addiction to nicotine? How much money could be saved each year by reducing the number of smoking related illnesses? The role of government in healthcare should be one of regulation and guaranteed access to medical treatment. Screening and testing should be available to every single American Citizen. Clearly, the system we have now is not working and it shows.
Funny thing is America seems to be seeing things the Green way, even if they don’t want to admit it. Will the Democrats be able to deliver? Only time will tell. Till then I will remain a Green Party Member simply because it is the party that reflects, most succinctly, my belief in personal and globally responsible behavior in all aspects of my life. President Elect Obama may be a shade of Green lighter than I would personally have liked but he certainly talks the talk. Now let’s hope he can walk the walk. But don’t be fooled by imitations folks, there is truly only one Green Party and someday the Greens will be a driving force in American Politics and we will all be the better for it.
Please allow me to close by thanking Gregg Jocoy for his undying dedication to the Greens of York County. I wish him luck in Simpsonville and much joy as watches his grandchildren grow. He will be missed.
Bio: Liz Smith-Anderson is a resident of York County and a Green Party Member.