You've been doing a lot of little green things for a while now, but lately you've have begun to wonder if its time to do something bigger.
Easy, but bigger.
There is a one-time change you can make that has the potential to affect how politicians from both parties deal with green issues. And its super simple to do.
I will not suggest that deciding to make this change is easy. The physical acts required to do this are nothing at all for most people, but getting to the point where we can act may still require overcoming years of investment in cherished stereotypes and self-image.
Here it is: Change your voter registration.
It doesn't matter if you vote Republican, Democrat, Decline to State, or something else, I want to gently urge you to register Green.
The act itself is simple: In California a couple of clicks, and in a few weeks a form arrives in the mail. If you have changed your mind by then, don't sign the form. Otherwise, sign it and mail it in and you are re-registered Green.
Simple. Easy. Green.
Why register Green? The California Green Party website says it best:
- Registering Green is a way of 'voting' for the kind of world you want. Join a party which stands for your values, instead of one that is the 'lesser of evils' .
- Registering Green makes a clear and effective political statement. The more people who register Green, the stronger the Green Party will be, and the more all parties will take green issues and green voters seriously.
- Registering Green does not limit your voting options in the general election. Since you can vote for any candidate, choosing a party is really about what you believe in.
For all that, there are often decades of personal and family identification with a political party which may make it very hard to step away from your current registration. And of course there is the often strong sense of futility about registering in a third party -- one that is not currently one of the big winners in a national election.
But the interesting thing about registration, as noted, it does not affect who you can vote for: I Registered with a major party when I turned 18, but I pretty much never voted for any of that party's candidates based on simple party affiliation after that first election. It took 26 years for me to realize that my registration inertia gave comfort and support to candidates I would never support.
When I looked at the opposition party, I remembered why I had not bothered to switch previously. Although some of their candidates had personally impressed me, and I had voted for them enthusiastically, when I looked at the party platform I was hard pressed to see any real or effective effort to tackle issues that were important to me. Especially greenie issues.
Then I looked at the 10 Key Values of the the Green Party, and realized that they aptly described, in direct language and without the usual politician-speak, many of the things that I thought needed to be done.
The more I looked at the 10 Key Values, the more I realized the Green Party platform most perfectly encapsulated the hopeful-but-worried-and-frustrated view of politics I had begun to have.
So I re-registered as a Green.
Now I realized even as I registered that I was not interested in voting for some of the Green candidates, based on their personal qualifications or approach to governing. Others I have worked to elect and voted for when it seemed right.
But I feel that way about Democrat and Republican candidates too.
And especially in non-partisan local races I have been known to vote all over the unspoken party line to put a good candidate in office. But by leaving my registration in the back pocket of one major party or another, I was undercutting my own position as an advocate for sane, sustainable, human-centered, green governmental policies.
In California, many voters register without a party, as Decline to State. They often can't vote in a primary other than for their registered party, but they can vote for anyone and everything else -- every blessed proposition and every office.
But Decline to State suggests either an overwhelming interest in personal privacy or a non-specific disillusion with the two major parties, upon which no one can easily act. It does not say "I support stronger attention to personal responsibility and a greener, sustainable way of living." And that, I realized, was something the mainstream parties needed to hear.
Register Green -- Vote as You Will
The act of registration is a small step that has more import even than voting. By registering with one of the two major parties one gives the impression that a world that is a little more left or a little more right is okay; by registering Green you come down strongly on the side of diversity, personal freedom and a sustainable future, not left or right. Conservatives for conservation; progressives for progress; as Greens (capital G) both groups share the vision.
Register Green; vote your conscience.