Wikinews interviews Kent Mesplay, Green Party presidential candidate
Sunday, June 29, 2008
While nearly all coverage of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, the race for the White House also includes independents and third-party candidates. These prospects represent a variety of views that may not be acknowledged by the major party platforms.
Why do you want to be President?
- I run for president to help improve society, pointing out that we are more secure when we live in a sustainable manner. As of this writing our culture is based on the consumption of limited materials such as petroleum, coal and uranium with great emphasis placed on the consumption of "goods" that are produced and purchased with little regard for the well-being of future generations. Government, ideally, provides an independent, objective forum through which solutions to the needs and wants of our time can be raised, discussed and implemented in a thoughtful, respectful manner. In contrast to this ideal, our current central, national government exists largely to protect and preserve the status quo of relatively few stake-holders, having undue political influence and acting in a manner not in the best interest of the majority of people. We cannot blindly consume our way to peace and stability.
- A Green presidential administration would put the needs of current and future generations above the rude demands and expectations of the well-heeled political donor class. It is not important that we have a new president bearing the face of change. We need vital, core change to our political institutions to decentralize control, empower rational science-based decision-making and cut the damaging influence of corporate money on public policy. This change is unlikely to arise from within the current two political parties that are intrinsically corrupted by the ubiquitous "greased-palm" bribing handshake with corporate entities. We need to only ask how many corporate media conglomerates regularly advertize the question, "Should a corporation have the legal status of a super-person?" to realize the extent of the current dilemma. A corporation should never have been considered to have the legal rights of an individual. The Green Party is independent from business interests. This political arm of the environmental, peace and justice movements represents meaningful change to public policy and to our fragile, centralized, short-sighted way of life.
- Green solutions are largely local solutions: more community gardens and small farms, reasonable use of fresh water, grey-water and waste-water, including more water storage and community responsibility for the entire water stream, energy-efficient housing and transportation, health care for all, protecting besieged ecosystems. Practically, what this means is a higher base-line of essential services with the costs shared and supported broadly. To be clear, our basic physical security deserves support, not gaming at the hands of profiteers. A common wealth for all citizens is possible, with local regional flavors in commerce and culture atop this "baseline" of security. To be danced out of the way, one finds the current heavy-handed players of agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, energy, insurance and the congressional-military-industrial complex all dependent upon "corporate socialism" for subsidies and protection from real, meaningful, positive change and shielded from probing questions as to why, for example, we so frequently go to war.
- Mottos include "sustainability is security" and "freedom to debate." I run to help define, popularize and grow the Green Party, to be an advocate for: single-payer health-care, renewable energy, increased energy efficiency, rail transport, organic local agriculture, indigenous rights, wise water use, banning lobbying/bribery, over-turning the legal fiction that a corporation is a person, and equal media exposure for all political candidates, having open debates between all political parties and beating those "swords into plowshares" by focusing on improving diplomacy, communication and basic physical security in water, food and energy in particular to mitigate the negative effects of global climate change and to provide emergency readiness. Also, I get bored easily and this keeps me busy.
Have you ever run for political office before? (President, senate, congress, city councillor, school trustee... etc.) Have you ever been a member of a political party, other than the one you're currently in?
- I ran for president in 2004 and 2008, being one of the four "finalists" at the nominating conventions. Also, I ran for U.S. Senate in California as part of a contested race in the Green Party Primary Election in 2006. I plan to run for U.S. Congress in 2010 and I am now taking the steps to begin running for the 2012 presidential race. I have been a member of both main U.S. parties and I cannot adequately express my disgust for them both. I encourage people everywhere to register Green, vote Green and support Green Party efforts at achieving and maintaining ballot access within the current hostile political environment. Ideally, we can together displace one of the two major parties; such is the near-majority level of disapproval of the antiquated mainstream parties and the desire for a true alternative.
Have you ever campaigned for another political candidate?
- In 1996 I helped organize a press conference for then-presidential candidate Ralph Nader, after having helped support efforts to draft him as a candidate.
What skills or ideas do you bring from this position, or previous positions, that will benefit the Oval Office?
- I believe in the separation of power within government, including economic power. Due to the influence of money in politics and within government we do not have a political system that works well to advance the needs and concerns of "we the people." There are few, muted voices within our government supporting the dispossessed, the disenfranchised, the "left out," the lower echelon within our socio-economic strata. Especially now, with high energy costs, questionable food supplies, shredded social safety nets, job loss due to outsourcing and other losses, loss of civil liberties and rights, the consolidation and concealment of governmental power, the "fascist" confluence of military-industrial business with governmental power, threats of unstable weather, retaliation by terrorists and opportunistic foreign governments following our model it is a good time to not be silent. I have lived with and among many different cultures, religions and peoples, I have a multi-cultural background and a mixed ancestry, I value art, music and science, I am both intuitive and analytical and I enjoy solving problems. Our nation would benefit greatly from my services. Plus, I am not "on the take."
Campaigning for the American presidency is one of the most expensive exercises in the world. How do you deal with the cost and fundraising?
- Small contributions from many people not expecting a return of favors approximates public funding of campaigns. In order to "get the word out" about my existence as a candidate it is necessary to adapt and adopt alternative, low-cost strategies. With my campaign team steadily growing I anticipate utilizing modern low-cost communication methods to help "spread the word." Fund-raising is among the least palatable activities that I have to endure as a candidate and I will be the first to admit that I have done very little fundraising. The reader who is a U.S. Citizen of voting age is encouraged to support my candidacy by visiting my web site, www.mesplay.org, and making a small donation in accordance with Federal Election Commission guidelines. Also, simply e-mailing friends helps tremendously with these small campaigns.
What are you/were you looking for in a running mate?
- My running mate would likely represent a demographic that I do not, such as being female and non-white, since I am a white male. As to character and experience, I would want to be supported by someone with great practical public experience who has remained in integrity with the original idealistic hopes and dreams that once drew them into the public eye or political arena.
Can you win the 2008 Presidential election?
- I can win the 2008 presidential election by becoming the Green nominee, by inspiring otherwise non-voters to register Green and to grow Green Parties in those states where they are not yet granted ballot access and to subsequently vote in some creative, time-urgent manner circumventing the severe limitations put on candidates and parties by the secretaries of state through the country. I would have to win many of the states where the Green Party is on the ballot and I would have to find a manner allowing erstwhile green voters to legally vote in those states where we are not on the ballot.
If you can't make it into the Oval Office, who would you prefer seeing taking the presidency?
- I cannot support candidates who foolishly support nuclear power and weapons, who do not recognize the need for peace and who do not offer real, meaningful, substantive systemic change.
What should the American people keep in mind, when heading to the polls this November?
- When heading for the polls this November U.S. citizens should support Green Party candidates, policies and values. Thank you.