Rich Whitney: A final campaign message to supporters
From Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney:
Don’t Lose Heart! Cause for Hope Amidst the Disappointment
A “Final” Campaign Message (But Read On!)
by Rich Whitney, 2010 Green Party Candidate for Governor
To the hundreds of people who supported me in my campaign for Governor, and to the roughly 100,000 or so who saw fit to vote for me, despite the politics of fear that swept Illinois this election season, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We acknowledge our disappointment but are not consumed by it. We will assess the causes of our disappointing results but will not be obsessed by them. We live to fight another day, and fight on we shall.
When I first helped organize the Shawnee Green Party 14 years ago, and the Illinois Green Party 11 years ago, I knew that success would be a long-term project. After all, we are trying to do something that hasn’t been done since the Republican Party became a new major party just before the Civil War – break up the two-party stranglehold on our political system. There’s no road map for this, no political science text to fall back on. On the contrary, we are trying to rewrite the textbooks and demonstrate that we are not prisoners of our history.
Yesterday, we met with a setback but there are still grounds for encouragement. Despite my own loss, some of our other Green Party candidates did remarkably well, beginning with State Representative Jeremy Karpen, winning 35 percent of the vote against a much-better funded Machine Democrat candidate in the 39th District.
The people who worked on my campaign and other Green Party campaigns learned a lot, and future Green Party campaigns will be the stronger for it.
The central messages of this campaign:
- fiscal responsibility;
- creating a healthy education system and public sector through fair and progressive taxation and making the speculators pay their fair share back to society;
- creation of a state bank;
- tuition-free higher education;
- a real commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation as essential to our economic and environmental future;
- creating worker-owned and community-owned enterprises as a sustainable job-providing alternative to the corporate-model, and other good, positive public policy ideas,
have not been lost on the people who heard them. They have at least entered the political discourse in Illinois, and we in the Green Party will continue to fight for their implementation.
In the short term, we still have some unfinished business related to this campaign. The debate sponsors who unfairly and unjustly excluded me from some of the debates are going to face the consequences of their actions. One ally of my campaign, on his own initiative, has already filed complaints with the IRS over these non-profit organizations that engaged in partisan political activity. Last Friday, LeAlan Jones, the Illinois Green Party and I filed suit in federal court against WTTW, the Public Broadcasting Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for using taxpayer dollars and the public airwaves, to promote the campaigns of the Democratic and Republican candidates, by holding debates that excluded the Green Party candidates. We want them to pay – literally and figuratively – for what they did.
We also have some unfinished business with the Chicago Board of Elections. In addition to the “Whitey” incident, we have received an additional credible report of an electronic voting machine literally flipping votes from me to Pat Quinn. We had reports of an election judge training session in which the instructor disparaged the Green Party. We are continuing to investigate and we are calling on the authorities to investigate. We aren’t taking this lying down. The Party of Green will continue to take on the Chicago Machine until we win.
This campaign ended with a slight deficit. Considering this, as well as our ongoing post-election battles, additional donations would still be helpful.
Finally, I urge you to Join the Green Party if you have not already done so. It always drives me crazy when people make statements like, “Well, I would support the Green Party but it’s too small,” or “it’s too ineffective.” How do you think it gets bigger and how do you think it becomes more effective without more people joining it? The Green Party is only as strong as the people who participate in it. Get involved! Don’t sit on the sidelines – be part of the solution! As Edmund Burke warned, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [and women] do nothing.”
The policy solutions that I have fought for in this campaign I will continue to fight for as a Green Party activist, and as a supporter of our next wave of candidates, and it is appropriate for me to close on that note. One of our Ten Key Values is Future Focus. We are already gearing up for new challenges in the municipal elections. Although these are technically non-partisan races, we can still identify and support our own. In my home town of Carbondale, we expect to be running our first true Green Party candidates for City Council and Mayor. In Chicago, we have some very good potential candidates, including one very promising candidate for Alderman, Alberto Bocanegra, who is already campaigning hard.