The Difference Between Democrats And Greens Is As Big As Hiroshima’s Mushroom Cloud

Some people say that there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans. I don’t think it’s fair, or for that matter, plausible, to make that claim. The problem with the Democratic Party is that there isn’t as much of a difference between Republican politicians and Democratic politicians as there ought to be – certainly not as much of a difference as Democratic voters like to believe that there is.

Those of us who are in the Green Party need to remember that most Democrats truly believe that there is a great deal of difference between their leaders and the leaders of the Republican Party. What Green Party candidates need to do is to walk a balanced line, acknowledging the differences that really do exist between Republicans and Democrats, while showing Democrats the ways in which the distinction between the two dominant parties is insufficient.

A timely example of this balanced approach is the issue of nuclear weapons. Tomorrow is the 64th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. A poll of Republicans, Democrats and political independents (not members of the Independent Party) about the Hiroshima bombing, by Quinnipiac University, was released just yesterday.

The results: Republicans were strongly in favor of the nuclear attack, 74 percent supporting the decision to drop the atom bomb, and only 13 percent against. Democrats were different. The largest group of Democrats, 49 percent, expressed support for the nuclear attack. Only 29 percent of Democrats said they disagreed with the attack, and 22 percent said they were unsure.

Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that political independents are more likely to reject the Hiroshima attack than Democrats. 65 percent of independents expressed support for the nuclear attack against Hiroshima, and 23 percent being unsure.

What about Green Party members? Where did they stand in the poll? Well, they didn’t stand in the poll. They weren’t counted as Green Party members. However, it’s a safe bet that a strong majority of Green Party members would express rejection of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. After all, the Green Party has non-violence as one of its 10 key values. The Democratic Party doesn’t even have the word “non-violence” in its platform.

What do we do with this information?

It’s clear that the Democratic Party is not a party of non-violence. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any Democrats who support non-violence. There are many who do. In fact, of the three political groups considered by this poll, the Democratic Party had the most non-violent members. With only the information contained in the poll, many voters might conclude that the best way to support non-violence. Of course, if the Green Party is added to the consideration, the Democratic Party’s support for non-violence looks downright weak.

There are 29 percent of Democrats who expressed a strong belief in non-violence in this poll. They aren’t being represented well by their own political party. They ought to be open to considering the Green Party, but that consideration won’t take place unless they perceive the Green Party as being a politically viable option.

We need to woo these Democrats, not assault them with generalizations that they know aren’t true. They know that there’s a difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, and they also know that there is a great deal of diversity within the Democratic Party. When we acknowledge that diversity, we encourage non-violent Democrats to differentiate themselves from their political party as a whole. When that differentiation is accomplished, these Democrats can begin to see that their ideals aren’t being promoted by the Democratic Party leadership, and the Green Party option, reasonably communicated, becomes a lot more attractive.

You’ve got to recognize the sheep as an individual separate from the flock before it will have the courage to start acting like a goat.

Jonathan Cook


  1. Really appreciate the article focus on nonviolence.

    Petra Kelly founded the German Green Party on nonviolence, and we miss her strong voice on this.

    Many Green Party members as candidates, like Rick Herron for Congress in 2000, and for House of Delegates in 2005 have centered their campaigns on nonviolence.

    We need more Green Party candidates on the ballot lifting the nonviolence message, and reminding voters it’s a policy that would save nearly $1 trillion tax dollars a year in unnecessary Defense spending waste.

  2. Matt Reichel recently wrote about how he was making non-violence a central theme of his 2010 campaign for congress:

    I like your post and appreciate your perspective. If only more Americans would read John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” before making up their mind about how just it was to drop that bomb.

    Another interesting point is that 13% of Republicans oppose the bombing. Considering the number of Republicans in the US, that’s a significant group of people taking a nonviolent stand. We should also think about how to appeal to them.

    The way that I frame it is that the difference between the Green and Democratic parties is much bigger than the difference between the Democrats and Republicans. That gives people something to think about.

    Here’s another line: the Democratic Party is where anti-war activism goes to die. Simple, yes, but I’ve never heard anyone refute it.

  3. I am a vet of WWII.We were training for ther invasion of Japan– in Nov 45 which would have killed 1 million of us. My life is worth more than those killed at Hiroshima.

    World WarII was a Democratic Party War(FDR) opposed by Republicans. FDR forced the Japs to attack us,knowing we people would have to get behind his war policies.

    Most of you Greens were probably not even a gleam in anyone’s eye. Tell Al Gore to fly COACH and turn off the lights in his mansion

    George Watson

  4. That is only speculation that one million would die invading Japan. Even an invasion is speculation, given that the Emperor was on the edge of capitulation. How is your life worth more than a Japanese life, and to whom?

    Yes, Democrats start a lot of wars – no argument there. Republicans opposed WWII? I thought only the Socialists opposed that war. Oh, wait, the Republicans didn’t think we should rescue the Jews, I forgot.

    Many Greens are older than you, George, believe it or not.

    Al Gore is a Democrat, you tell him. We already did in 2000.

  5. George Watson,

    Thank you, Sir for reading and writing at Green Party Watch.

    Applaud that you are active and intellectually curious enough to visit the site, and take time to post.

    I honor your service to our nation.

    Please consider there are many ways to serve our community, nation, and the world.

    Being from your generation – statistics tell us – you have served us all in many other ways.

    Let’s begin this discussion as Petra Kelly often would.

    From a practical, and fiscally conservative point of view, surely you will agree it’s much cheaper on the taxpayer not to fight wars.

    As one Green Party member said, it would be cheaper just to fly over in a plane and drop cash.

    Respectfully suggested.

    There are much better solutions…

  6. “They ought to be open to considering the Green Party, but that consideration won’t take place unless they perceive the Green Party as being a politically viable option. ” That’s the problem – I agree with the Green Party stance, but I have to vote Democrat to try to make sure the Republicans don’t get elected, even though the Democrats are not nearly liberal enough for me, and I’m only voting because right-wing extremists are getting too powerful and I feel I have to do my part to stand up to them.

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