Green Party Candidates Arrested for Trying to Participate in the Debate

Politics at Play 13

woman being arrested

Tonight two Green party candidates were arrested for trying to enter the site of the second Presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Shortly before the debate, police arrested Green Party Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, after they tried to enter Hofstra University.

Stein and Honkala actually "crashed the debate party" in protest over the exclusion of all but the two major political parties, the elephants and the asses, from taking part in the debate. And really, who can blame them? Why shouldn't all parties be allowed to take part in one of the biggest political conversations of the year?

If you were wondering how this could happen and why on earth all nominees on the ballot are not included in the debate, so was I. According to The Commission on Presidential Debates, a rule created in 2000 addresses just this.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has hosted the debates since 1988. Conveniently, the Commission on Presidential Debates is a non-profit funded by the two major parties so, in order to prevent chaos, they made a rule that any candidate to be included must be polling at 15% nationally. This is why lesser-known parties are virtually shut out of presidential debates and we never get to know anything about them.

Tonight's arrest wasn't really a big surprise, of course. More a statement of protest than anything else, the arrests came after an announcement by the Green Party that Stein and Honkala would take “Occupy the Commission on Presidential Debates” action on the night of the debate.

Are the Democrats and Republicans afraid of a little healthy competition? Maybe they are afraid the people of the United States would take the other choice if they knew there was one.

I feel like the election is being run the way a mom runs her toddlers; she gives them two choices (both preapproved by her, beforehand) so they don’t veer too far out of the lines. The kids think they have a choice but really, they don't. Government is supposed to be for the people and by the people; if we don't allow the "people" to know all of their choices, how can they make an educated decision?

I say let the Green party and every other party on the ballot who wants to be a part of the debate attend. We need to know all the information to elect the best president for our people and by our people.

What do you think of the Green Party candidates being excluded from the debates? Bullshit? Or is it necessary to maintaining civilization?


Image via thisisbossi/Flickr

2012 election, barack obama, mitt romney, protests