Remarks on the occasion of the conclusion of the first
Green Party election campaigns in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Nov. 2, 2010.
Made by: David Ellison, candidate for County Executive
Thank you all for coming tonight and for helping me with this crazy idea of running for office and
building a new political party. I'm pleased to welcome you to The Union Club and to have gathered
people together to enjoy the locally grown food prepared by our Chef, Matt Fife, and the music of the
Balkans so beautifully played by Walt Mohovlich and his ensemble, Turli Tava.
Thank you to my dear friends Daryl, Susan, Joe Crano, Kathy Webber, Joey Pasquinelli, Sam Hanley, Hal Hansen, James Levin, Steve Wagner, Brooke Willis, Marina Marquez, Brian Cummins and Alenka Benco and all those citizens of Cuyahoga County who listened to me and allowed me to learn from them. It's humbling to be a candidate and to have people put their trust in you. It's even more humbling to have so many friends and so many volunteers work tirelessly day and night to make sure that signs are taped and stapled together and that they're planted in the ground, that the database is sorted and the phone calls are made and that we're included on the agenda.
Four months ago when I decided to run, it was the support of people like John Zayak, Kathy Thomas, my sister, Carter, and Roy and Evelyn Hughes who said that our voices needed to be heard in this campaign that gave me the strength and courage to subject myself to one of the weirdest experiences of my life.
Now that the campaign has come to an end, the job seems to have only just begun. Twenty years ago when we met to launch the Green organization I don't think anyone ever imagined that it would take twenty years to gain ballot status and to run our first Green Party campaigns - this time around, I think it is undeniable that the Greens are both a political party and an activist group. There's plenty of work to be done on both fronts - and with just a little more advance planning than was put into this campaign we can accomplish great things together.
With this election, the people of Ohio finally join the ranks of Greens across the five continents of this planet who are voting for real solutions that serve the movements of human beings who are dedicated to positive social change for the environment, justice, peace and a meaningful democracy.
We need to come together as the Greens of both Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio to advance these initiatives. Furthermore, we need to hear from the people of Cuyahoga County and the rest of Ohio who constitute the Green activists in the various movements for local food, ecology, peace, and a just and civil society so that our party is truly representative and is an effective vehicle for the political expression of those movements.
To quote Petra Kelly, a founder of the Greens in Germany, and who was taken from us too early,
"As Greens, it is no part of our understanding of politics to find a place in the sun alongside the established parties, nor to help maintain power and privilege in concert with them. Nor will we accept any alliances or coalitions. That is wishful thinking upon the part of the traditional parties, who seek to exploit the Greens to keep themselves in power. The very last thing we seek is to use Green ideas to rejuvenate any other political party."
(The way the Democrats have blamed the Greens for their failures and have taken our support for granted simply demonstrates the arrogance of power and underlines the sterility of vision.)
"The environment, peace, society and the economy pose such a threat to survival that they can only be resolved by structural change, not by crisis management and cosmetic adjustments. The Greens can make no compromises on the fundamental questions of the environment, peace, social equity and the economy. We must make it clear that we will not just go away, nor will we abdicate our responsibility. A political party must never become an end in itself, as have the established parties. A party is a vehicle for the expression of opinion and interest."
The Green Party of Cuyahoga County must remain and become a more effective tool in the hands of the people who are creating the ecological, sustainable solutions to our problems and that will allow us to move into the future in a socially just and nonviolent way.
We haven't finished the reform of Cuyahoga County's government by a long shot, in fact, there's one more piece that needs our immediate attention, and that's the office of the County Prosecutor. As long as that office remains a highly politicized office, where backroom deals are made to let criminals like Frank Russo off the hook like it did 10 years ago, and as long as the people of our county can't bring issues of public corruption to its attention and have them taken seriously, and long as the prosecutor's office is wrongfully targeting people of color, denying them the evidence necessary for their defense, and putting innocent people behind bars, then it hasn't got the legitimacy we need. The office needs to be nonpartisan and term-limited, and we need to prohibit that person from running for another political office for at least two years after they leave the Prosecutor's office. We need a trustworthy and reliable public servant in the role, and not a political party hack who is out to make deals rather than help us establish equal justice under law. I'd like your help to place this proposal before the new County Council for their action through a citizen's initiative. We simply can't afford to wait for the Charter Review Commission that is scheduled to meet in 2012 to take this up on their own, and we need to prepare for the next round of elections in two years.
I'd like your help at the state level to build a movement that will establish a State Bank of Ohio. A bank that will serve to keep our money here and counteract the parasitic and economically unsustainable actions of the transnational banking system. A bank that will help us finance the kind of energy efficiency and conservation projects we need and the kind of economic development projects that will put the people of Ohio back to work in the new reality of the 21st century and in preparation for the 22nd century.
Finally, thank you for all the votes cast for myself and Alan Crossman and the other Green Party candidates in this election. I appreciate and am humbled by the support that I and the Green Party has received. Every vote cast in this election belongs only to the candidate for whom it was cast. Unfortunately, some of those votes may have been cast for candidates who will take them for granted or who the voter didn't actually want to win. As long as our system of voting denies us effective, inclusive participation through a weighted or preferential tally, where even if our first choice did not win, our second choice might, we will face the problem of the two party system and the disenfranchising effect of a "first past the post" decision.
Please let me express my deepest gratitude to the members of the new Green Party of Ohio, thank you,
thank you, thank you.