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Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson for President: who will you support and vote for in November?

Rocky Anderson is eloquent and may make an excellent supreme court justice someday. He is a constitutional attorney and civil rights lawyer by background. But Jill Stein, in my opinion, has shown more leadership recently. I suspect she has more of a fighting spirit than the cerebral Rocky, who has shown, like many political candidates, that he can sure talk the talk. Jill, on the other hand, perhaps not as eloquent an orator as Rocky, has shown she can walk the talk. I like that.

She was arrested a couple of weeks ago participating in a sit-in in Philadelphia, protesting housing foreclosures at a Fannie Mae bank. Apparently she spent twenty-four hours in jail for her beliefs. Wow. Here is the “Times” account of her 24 hours in jail:

Stein says her jail time was “like living in an outhouse in very close quarters.” She stood up for nearly 24 hours, she says, as there was just one bench for the three people sharing her one-person cell. “The brave ones lay on the floor in front of the toilet,” she says. Food consisted of white bread and processed cheese. “It was one of the most powerful events of my life,” she tells The Daily Beast. “This should be a required experience for anyone in public office.”

To me that is certainly walking the talking. That is someone leading in front of the charge, not an armchair general.

After four years of waiting for Obama to show fighting spirit, all I have witnessed is promises after promises, reneging after reneging, cave-in after cave-in, wussing after wussing, concession after concession. Barack Obama sure sounded eloquent four years ago. But he has failed to fight the good fight on behalf of the working classes. Can anyone argue that he failed to fight the good fight? Did he even propose the public option? Did he even attempt to raise taxes on the rich? Did he recess appoint Elizabeth Warren? Did he veto the NDAA? Did he instruct Holder to indict one Wall Street bankster? Talk is sure cheap, isn’t it?

Never again do I wish to entrust our government to another talker, promiser, reneger, wuss. I want a leader this time: someone who is not afraid to lead, to fight, against tyranny. After all, is it not war we are facing? Didn’t Warren Buffett confess, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

I guess you could say the difference between Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson may be analogous to that between Washington and Jefferson. The former showed the leadership necessary to overcome tyranny; and the latter demonstrated the intelligence necessary to define a federal government.

Although I had planned to support and vote for Rocky Anderson this November, I am now supporting and voting for Jill Stein. She spent a night in jail for you and me, and that has made all the difference for me. Blind faith in political candidates is not patriotism; and it is not very smart. Look what it got us four years ago.

We need leaders who are willing to walk the talk, to get out in front and demonstrate what needs to be done. We have too much hot air in Washington as it is.

Incidentally, have you seen the difference in these candidates according to the assessment based on policies recorded by Political Compass?

Rocky Anderson vs Jill Stein

Although these two candidates may sound alike, according to the assessment available on Political Compass, there is a considerable difference between Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson in terms of political positions and priorities. As you can see from the chart, Jill Stein is very much to the left of Rocky Anderson, who is very much right of center, like Barack Obama. What accounts for this difference? Isn’t Rocky Anderson a progressive?

Perhaps a statement made to me by Rocky Anderson in an interview (Barefoot Accountant’s Exclusive Interview of Rocky Anderson, Presidential Candidate of the Justice Party, on May 29, 2012: Video and Transcript) a couple of months ago may shed some light on why Rocky Anderson appears to the political right of Jill Stein, and even right of center.

I really feel strongly that we can’t see ourselves as just simply liberals or conservatives anymore in this country. We have so many things that ought to be unifying us and we need a broad based approach. Maybe I’m naive about this but it seems to me on the most fundamental kinds of issues we can bring all sorts of people together, who say, okay we’ve got these differences; we’re not going to be so doctrinaire about it; we can hash out those differences down the road: but when it comes to getting rid of the corrupting influence money, restoring our democracy, restoring the rule of law, ending these wars, ending this pattern of wars of aggression.

Apparently Rocky Anderson does not feel as strongly about the differences between liberals and conservatives as he does about those between authoritarians and libertarians:  he is an established fiscal conservative.  However, the 99% do feel strongly about the differences between liberal and fiscal conservatives.  They feel that we can no longer afford this laissez-faire posture of government in the marketplace, and that there has to be much more governmental regulation and control to ensure a level playing field and equity for all. Yes, we need social and environmental justice; but we also need economic justice, too.

That means we need unions for all workers, the breaking up of these huge corporations (i.e., enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act), the re-enactment of Glass-Steagall, the abolishment of trade agreements without equitable minimum wage and enforceable environmental provisions, equitable tax laws, government control of healthcare, a WPA program, etc.

We can no longer wait to resolve these differences with conservatives who are corporatists. Our government is too far right: we need to bring it back toward the center. And that means we need to act now because the rich are winning and the war may be over much sooner than we all realize. Not all of us are recipients of governmental pensions with full health insurance. Many of us are without employment, health insurance, retirement benefits other than social security (about to be axed), and are facing housing foreclosure and the prospect of living on the streets. Time is of the essence.  And we need someone to lead this fight now.

I recently urged Rocky Anderson to show the kind of leadership of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Jill Stein. I challenged him to get out into the streets like Jill Stein, the Occupy Wall Street protesters, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War protest movement. I stated that it would get him much needed press coverage and exposure since whenever I mention Rocky to people here in Connecticut, they think I am talking about Sylvester Stallone or the Flying Squirrel. I thought it might galvanize people to listen to his eloquence since he lacks sufficient media exposure. I believed in Rocky’s message.

Here was Rocky’s response:

Bill – Why don’t YOU go protest and get arrested? You don’t have to be a candidate in order to engage in civil disobedience, you know! One who believes in civil disobedience doesn’t ask of others what he/she won’t do him/herself. I’ve done civil disobedience before — but I don’t do it just because I’m running for office. I do it out of conscience.

I guess protesting housing foreclosures is not the stuff of conscience. And I guess great leaders don’t protest and get arrested like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, et al. And I guess leaders don’t lead when it involves risk and arrest. Isn’t that the definition of leadership: to lead? Isn’t the Presidency a leadership position? Rocky, are you running for President or the Supreme Court?

And cannot one run for office and do what Jill Stein did out of conscience, too? Are these mutually exclusive? What viable alternatives, other than demonstrations and protests in the streets, are available to the American people, short of a revolution when our electoral system is controlled by the wealthy donors?

And what is wrong with doing something, like protesting housing foreclosures, in order to promote one’s candidacy if one believes that housing foreclosures are unjust? Didn’t Gandhi and Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela use the press to their advantage?

Are you saying that it’s okay for me and Occupy Wall Street to engage in such demonstrations to fight injustice but it is beneath one running for the Presidency? Or that Jill Stein just did it as a photo op, not really caring about housing foreclosures?

Sorry, Rocky, to me your response sounds like a cop out, if not passing the buck. But you were right about me: I have no right to chide you for not taking to the streets if I am not willing to do so myself. My only excuse, but one totally indefensible and an alibi, was that I was waiting for a leader to emerge for me to follow. I mistakenly thought YOU were that leader and I would follow. My mistake.

Since Jill Stein and Occupy Wall Street have demonstrated that leadership, I will now simply join and support them in their protests against social, economic, and environmental injustices. Yes, I did this before, following Abbie Hoffman and joining SDS. And it’s time for me to do so again.

But you are running for President, not the Supreme Court. And we rightfully expect more from our leaders than we do from ordinary citizens. And we rightfully expect more than mere oratory. We expect them to lead by example so that we may follow and support them. This is what Gandhi and Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela did so effectively. And they did so at great risk to their own lives. Wow: that is leadership.

Here is an opportunity for you to demonstrate real leadership against what you have termed “tyranny”. Our forefathers sacrificed their lives against tyranny. I guess asking and expecting an individual, who wishes to be elected by the people as their leader, to lead and participate in protests and demonstrations on their behalf is too much to ask of that individual when the leadership position is the Presidency of the United States, the ultimate office of leadership in the world. Shame on me.

Rest assured that this fight against Corporate America will be a costly uphill battle. I believe it will be ugly. I believe it may even be bloody for many. We will be fighting the deadliest of all cardinal sins: greed. You can expect the greedy to fight hard and dirty without mercy. And the greedy are much more powerful than us now: they own the six media; they own the military and police; they already have dismissed civil liberties like habeous corpus; they own our government; they have all the wealth at their disposal. Now, more than ever before, we need a Winston Churchill, not a Neville Chamberlain.

There is already a culture of elitism in Washington today. And I, for one, do not want another elitist in the White House. I truly want a leader to “feel our pain” and not just talk about feeling it, like Slick Willie, our favorite Democrat who repealed Glass-Steagall and gave us NAFTA. As Jill Stein so justly noted after serving 24 hours in jail:

This should be a required experience for anyone in public office.

Thank you, Jill Stein.

The Barefoot Accountant

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