I am honored and delighted that California’s Peace and Freedom Party has put my name forward to appear on the June 7 California Presidential Primary. The slate they sent forward to the California Secretary of State is all women! We believe this is the first time in U.S. history that any party has had four women candidates for the Presidency.
Week 5 started out about Peace and Freedom and quickly moved to discussions about the working class and movement politics!
I flew from Dallas to San Francisco, rented a car, drove to a friend’s house and the next day drove to Sacramento. First, I joined the one-hour Peace Vigil sponsored by Veterans for Peace and supported by the Peace and Freedom Party which is held every Wednesday at 4:00 PM on the corner of 15th and L Street near the statehouse. Yes, my thoughts went back to the anti-war protests of the 60s and early 70s – especially vivid are memories when the August 1968 Democratic convention turned into a police riot, when four Kent State students were killed by the Ohio National Guard in May 1970 and ten days later when two more students were killed by city police and Mississippi Highway Patrol at Jackson State College. All these young people were killed and many more injured for acting on their constitutional rights of free speech and assembly as well as imagining a world more at peace.
All that motivated me to do the research that provided the foundation for my first book (1988), Peacemaking: A Systems Approach to Conflict Management.
Sacramento in 2016 is so much more supportive of what I now call the activities of peacebuilding and the dynamics of peacemaking. Still, I fear so little could send us again into a time where we – the United States of America – are at war with ourselves.
After the Peace Vigil, I drove a few blocks to meet with the Sacramento County Peace and Freedom Party Central Committee and members from nearby counties. We met at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877. I was so touched that Cindy Sheehan was present. Cindy is a Gold Star mother who spent most of the summer of 2005 protesting and camped out at George W. Bush’s Texas ranch demanding answers to her soldier son Casey’s death in the Iraq War.
Early in my comments I said, “I am both visionary and government mechanic.”
I then enthusiastically described my choice to seek the Peace and Freedom Party nomination – in many ways, a natural fit given my work in peacebuilding and peacemaking, my design of a 1,000-person (1994) citywide summit on violence, and eight years of strategic planning work in juvenile justice and probation reform. I confidently detailed how my team would transform individual federal agencies to better deliver results for all America.
I was insistent about restoring integrity in government by measuring reality not convenience. Poverty in America is not 15% it’s 34% and one million Americans struggle every day with hunger, homelessness and economic insecurity – blending the life experience of the poor, the working class and what used to be the middle class.
I then nailed my overview of the five principles Five Principles that would drive foreign policy decisions in my White House.
From the Peace and Freedom members, a political party with deep roots in the anti-war and social justice movements of the 1960s, came the expected question: “Are you a socialist?” My answer is heartfelt:
“I do not like labels – left or right, liberal or conservative, capitalist or socialist, not even pro-choice or pro-life. Labels divide us – making us more tribal and less united. Labels force us to argue about symptoms and not look deeper at root causes where we find the best solutions. Divisions make a shared vision and shared goals harder to see.
I have a vision for America based on an honest assessment of where we are as a nation and where our future as one undivided nation can be:
- My vision is an America that works for everyone with no one left out.
- My vision is a government that restores trust and builds peace here at home and around the world.
- My vision is a government with a foreign policy based on this reality: We the People are wiser than warfare.
- My vision is an America with a trusted and respected government that delivers outstanding services to all of us; and our government Of the People is a trusted and respected partner throughout the world.
My goals for America are just as bold: 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years; quality health care at a reasonable cost; free tuition at all our public colleges; free early childhood education; community-based policing; a justice system that is truly just; a tax system that is truly fair; an immigration system that is compassionate; and an energy grid that is independent of foreign governments and does not poison our air, water, soil and food.
I will lead a government where all our agencies deliver results and honor our commitments to our veterans, our children, our seniors, our Native American brothers and sisters and our truly disabled citizens. I will lead a government with a roadmap plan to an economy based on 100% clean, renewable energy. I will lead a government that simplifies regulations while demanding accountability for programs that promote the health and wellbeing of our nation. I will lead a nation that works together to create a 21st century economy so that everyone who wants a job has a job – at a living wage with benefits – and so that America is truly competitive in the world economy. I will lead a nation that knows how to balance the skills of the strongest military on the planet with the wisdom of diplomacy and peacebuilding.
The challenge for political candidates in 21st century America is creating a more perfect union – bringing diverse points of view together and forging one America that combines our diversity and our differences to create a strength we can barely imagine today.
I do not like labels – I have a focus that goes beyond all labels. We will Transform America by Transforming Government and leave our children a safer and healthier nation and planet where we all truly have the resources and opportunities to participate in a 21st century economy.