If you bumped into a presidential candidate in the hallway, what would you want to ask?
I can think of a dozen possibly unanswerable questions for a third party candidate like Cynthia McKinney.
- First of all, is the political process even meaningful any more? It’s getting harder and harder to tell the parties apart. And isn’t the selection process largely determined by the corporations that make the large contributions and the media pundits that decide which film clips to use–and which ones, both good or embarrassing, to bury?
- Does a third party do anything more than act as a spoiler, taking votes away from a more viable candidate with a similar platform?
- Do third parties shift the priorities of the major parties, if so how, and is it a Good Thing?
- Why would someone want to work with a group like the Greens, as opposed trying to inject their political views into a more mainstream group?
- Are the Greens just a bunch of crackpots? Greens are all over the world now, but are there just crackpots all over the world?
- The Green party was rumored today to be in financial trouble. Are they serious about their political views or are they just playing? How will they get their message across without money?
I pondered all of this while walking around the city of Chicago today as the Green Party was wrapping up its 2008 presidential nominating convention over at the Palmer House. Yesterday they nominated Cynthia McKinney as their candidate, but I was at work during all the official news conferences and when all the speeches were being given.
I have seen other presidential candidates speak, why not this one? Maybe if I wandered around the hotel I would accidentally bump into her. The concierge had no information, but a hot rumor sent me to this room, with a sign on the door saying “do not enter, taping in progress”. Aha! Taping what? And through a crack in the door I could see cameras on tripods. Sure enough, eventually someone walked out of the room who looked a whole lot like McKinney. Was it her? A guy walking next to her introduced her to me as the next president of the United States. Eureka! So I asked if I could take her picture.
Then I asked what she wanted to accomplish by running for president…with the camera running:
“I would like to build a movement…
one, an outreach party
…we have been failed terribly by the two corporate parties…
And I’d like to build a movement
and of course
respect for this planet.