Thursday, October 18, 2012
Green Party Candidates Arrested
Green Party candidates, Dr. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, showed up for the debate and tried to get in for 20 minutes. They were repeatedly denied entrance -- even though they said they were not there to heckle the other candidates or disrupt the debate proceedings. They just wanted to get in and be allowed to talk to the press assembled there about the unfairness of the 15% threshold. Stein campaign manager Ben Manski told Politico:
“If you put Jill Stein against [GOP presidential nominee] Mitt Romney or [President] Barack Obama head to head, she would be polling above 15 percent."
After being denied entrance into the debate venue, Stein and Honkala sat down on the steps outside. Police warned them to move or they would be arrested for obstructing traffic. They did not move, and were arrested. Then they were taken to a Long Island police warehouse, where both of them were handcuffed to a chair. They were not allowed to make any phone calls, but were released about 10:30pm. After her release, Stein said:
"It was painful but symbolic to be handcuffed for all those hours, because that what the Commission on Presidential Debates has essentially done to American democracy."
I have to agree. The debate exclusion and the arrest were a slap in the face of a truly democratic election. Are the Democrats and Republicans really so afraid of the Green Party (and the Libertarian Party) that they cannot even let them speak to the American people? Are they afraid that these two non-corporate-owned parties might actually appeal to millions of Americans? Do they really have to jail their opponents to maintain their two-party monoply on American elections?
The Green Party and Libertarian Party have worked very hard to get on all those state ballots, and they deserve to be heard in the debates. They also deserve more coverage than the corporate-owned press is giving them.