Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein joined local politicians and Austin citizens at Huston-Tillotson University to speak on the importance of voting “green” this election cycle.
Story by Allyson Waller
Photos by Maya Coplin
The rally started off with local politicians, specifically tied to the Green Party, expressing their allegiance to Stein, and sharing their platform to the audience. Ashley “Flash” Gordon, candidate for Travis County Commissioner in Precinct 1, stressed how many are “tired of the way that politicians [of the two party system] treat us.” She advocated for people to not only fight for Stein in this year’s election, but to fight for the Green Party as a whole after November 8. “This is a movement,” Gordon says. “This is just not a one-time deal, this is not just a one-time vote, this is the change of our society as we know it.”
“There is a power of transformation occurring throughout the country,” says Adrian Boutureira, Stein’s national field director and Austin native. “For the Green Party to be holding the ship up for all these years, it is redeeming to hear echoes of everything we have stood for.”
Once Stein took the stage, the excitement in the room was contagious. “Your courage down here in Texas is absolutely amazing,” Stein says. After praising to the work of local Green Party candidates, Stein began to address the “magical” moment happening right now in politics. “We are at the breaking point for our climate, for our water, for our food systems, for our jobs, for our education system,” Stein says. “Our destiny is to turn this breaking point into a tipping point.”
Although Stein says the party is seen as a “footnote in the election,” she refused to remain silent on how the true meaning of democracy has been altered this election season. “Democracy is not a question of who do we hate the most and who are we most afraid of,” Stein says. “Democracy needs a moral compass, it needs a vision, it needs a set of values.”
Stein went on to express her party’s platform by touching on various issues. Instead of remaining dependent on fossil fuels, Stein believes it is crucial to transition to the use of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Regarding immigration, she spoke about how welcoming a path to citizenship is crucial, saying that immigrants “have always been at the hearts of our economies and communities.”
Stein also spoke candidly about police brutality.“[It is]time to ensure that communities are in control of their police.Not one more black life has to fall victim to police violence.”
She addressed student loan debt, and spoke on how it is essential that public higher education be made free. “There are 43 million people who are lifelong indentured servants to student loan debt,” Stein says. “There is only one place to put those votes to end student debt and you’re looking at it.”
Although the Green Party is not granted the same exposure allotted to Democratic and Republican candidates, Stein holds a firm belief in the power of the Green Party. By garnering at least five percent of the vote this upcoming election, the party will be given greater public funding. Regarding presidential debates, she mentioned that around 76 percent of voters are demanding that debates include all four presidential candidates (Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green). “In America we have a right to know who we can vote for,” Stein says. From her viewpoint, the two party system has not offered solutions, but rather skirted around them and kept the discussion on unimportant matters. “It is time to forget about the lesser evil and find the greater good,” Stein says.
Green Party supporters were definitely passionate about hearing their candidate speak and being a part of the fight to end dependence on America’s two party system. The crowd showed that Austin has an emerging Green Party population. “I was in New Orleans with the New Orleans Green Party and back then we would hear about Austin and they had really amazing numbers,” Steve Godfrey, 20-year Green Party supporter says. “So it’s just a part of the culture and it’s just a real aware, intelligent population.”