I felt I had no choice. The bad news for the United States is that the political climate is one of blame and shame. For example, we have arrogantly ignored millennia of proven, tribal, sustainable farming and experience in our quest for progress. Now, our food production is pressed to the limit, with underground aquifers being drained faster than they are replenished. Our populace is unaccustomed to growing its own food. Where I live, crop land is being covered with houses because it is deemed valuable to do so. In so many areas, our country is running out of time to “do the right thing.” I saw this many years ago, which is why I first ran in 2004. Modern science and tribal wisdom are agreeing, at the top of their voices, that we need to change our fundamental way of life, re-connect with the earth and our local surroundings, and live lives that are more intentional and less wasteful. Yet, we continue to live our consumer-driven way of life that could scarcely be better designed to fail. This way of life cannot continue.
The good news is that we can simultaneously lower destabilizing factors of climate while putting people to work re-building local, secure, “green” environments designed to weather and withstand the worst. We need visionary national leadership to steer job growth in a way that protects the environment, maintains and redesigns our infrastructure, that bolsters and revitalizes local communities; that does not put future generations at risk. People-driven movements such as “Transition in Action” are helping to voluntarily create secure, sustainable cities without waiting for government leadership. We cannot ethically outsource and export our way to prosperity; nor can other countries.
Now is the time. The risk of being unprepared to contend with the challenges of climate change is far too great. For me, running for president is the right thing to do.
Running to win is the only ethical choice. Ideas and views are much more potent when the candidate is genuine.
Time is short. Our nation needs direction. One of my long-running goals is to be in a presidential debate with candidates from other parties. One proposal I have is that ballot-qualified candidates be included in debate, rather than the current direction by the two main parties. They act to exclude any outside challengers. Ballot-qualified candidates are arrested trying to get INTO debates, which is just plain wrong!
The difficulty with ballot access is another topic worthy of discussion. Our political system is in need of repair, due to the near immutable influence of lobbyist money on decision-making. We independents are competing within a flawed system needing deep reform. Even the titanic two parties know that electoral reform is essential. In 2000, Gore won the popular vote for president and lost to the Republican nominee being selected in a questionable legal process. In order to win, I need to help get the Green Party on more state ballots, run strategically and very well, and convince key officials to register “Green,” if only for a day, to support my nomination and election.
As you can see, it’s practically impossible for a non-Democrat, non-Republican to win the White House.
3. At one point, you were a Democrat, and you were also a Republican before. What was wrong with the two parties? Why don't you run for President on one of those parties? Why do you run as a Green Party candidate?
At the time I first registered there was no Green Party. Moving from party to party was, quite literally, an education I do not intend to repeat; I will not go back to those “status quo” parties. They are more alike than different; and where they are commonly corrupt is in how they buy and sell elections. Lobbying is a legalized form of bribery, and the companies with the most money buy considerable influence over officials. This influence is so pervasive that few people on the inside see a problem with it. We need people who govern well and provide leadership, without being tainted by corporate influence. Neither party in charge wants real change. The people want change, which is what the “Occupy Wallstreet” and other “Occupy” events are intended to convey; but the politicians and the businesses that “call in their favors” via lobbyists, don’t want change.
The Green Party is a truly international party, with key values that make sense across culture and time. Sustainable living is a sensible green solution; but sustainability is seen as a threat by consumption-driven business, slowing its acceptance. Who else would advertise for people to buy so little, and waste even less? Long-term principles -- ‘the seventh-generation’ school of thought -- don’t rely on unchecked growth and exploitation of people and resources. By definition, a more “green” way of life is one that lives within its means, and not through expansion.
4. We have never seen a Green Party candidate get close to the Oval Office. For example, Cynthia McKinney in 2008 got .12% of the popular vote, David Cobb in 2004 got .96% of the popular vote, Ralph Nader in 2000 got 2.74% of the popular vote, and Ralph Nader in 1996 got .71% of the popular vote. What are your plans to be the first Green Party candidate to win the Presidency?
One of the roles of a Green Party presidential candidate is to help build the party. Party-building takes time and steps. Nader drew in a lot of people and support. Cobb showed that a non-famous person with excellent organizing skills could get the Green nomination (David is the attorney who helped form the national party out of state parties). McKinney was the first woman to earn the Green nomination. There is more to it: all of these people work for Justice; yet all of these presidential nominees were excluded from presidential debates. Even the presidential debates are controlled by a corporation. Getting into even one debate would help me earn over 5% of the popular vote for the party, which is a reasonable goal.
Ballot access is difficult to obtain and maintain. In some places it is all but illegal to be a Green; Georgia is one of them. In part, we are kept small and we expend much energy on ballot access. Even bigger-name candidates can only do so much to help out the party and the movement. Media coverage likes to be negative about the “long-shot” improbable chances of the independent candidate, rather than to examine the party key values and discuss why these people would leave the two titanic main parties. A Green nominee in a debate would address the dubious validity of “corporate personhood”; the stifling effect of corporatism on economic and environmental solutions; the excessive role of the military-industrial-congressional complex on our foreign relations; and our incipient need to put every able citizen to work; using government jobs programs to take up the slack; rebuild our infrastructure; stimulate production of goods and development of services to rapidly shift us toward sustainable living. Money for this could come from cutting military waste, from taxing corporations that don’t pay taxes through off-shore tax havens, amongst myriad other manipulations. When and where there is no money, citizens need to learn to start programs in which they bank volunteer hours, say, in community farming and in care-giving; develop local “scrip” currency, and assign elected positions to capable candidates based on merit, not on graft (lobbying). If we do not take this kind of responsibility over our own well-being and remove our investment money from the Wall Street super-banks, we will continue to experience the kind of disastrous conditions we did in 2009. And one more time, in one more election, we will have two more mundane nominees, with another banker named Secretary of the Treasury, nationalizing another industry to, allegedly, hang onto a system that ought to be allowed to fail; and a new one born. Bailing out financial institutions and sticking tax-payers with the bill is a way to delay collapse of our current system. In the absence of the bank bail-out, micro-lending and other creative, now-essential financial transactions would have had a competitive “leg up”, and would now be in stronger and more active in our current market. Let me just say that, without people registering Green and voting Mesplay, we are going to have the usual choice between a Democrat who has let a lot of people down; and a Republican who will go far by blaming others for the nation’s problems. I’ve collected signatures across the states to help with ballot access for the party and to get my name on the ballot. Apart from the plodding door-to-door work, effective use of social media could help a candidate ENORMOUSLY by getting the word out without paid advertising. In order to actually win, I will probably need help from elected non-Greens, as part of the process.
One of my goals is to help get debates set up for ALL ballot-qualified candidates, to be held on Indian reservations throughout the country. This is a way to get attention for important issues and give voice to the near-voiceless who now come out in droves at “Occupy” events. I was just at Occupy San Diego, speaking of the changes we need to make.
At present, I need to focus on raising money and getting the word out that I am running, in part to repay myself for previous personal loans to the campaign. I work for a living. If I raise enough money, I may be able to take time off work and run full-time. To do this, I need to become more visible in some way.
5. Two of your former opponents for the Green Party Presidential nomination, Jared Ball and kat swift, are now supporting you in the election. Is this the kind of teamwork you talk about between Green Party leaders?
Yes. We learn from each other and pool our resources. Jared is concerned about injustice in our prison system. He agreed to be on my cabinet. Kat likes her name in lower-case, like the poet, e.e. cummings…and ran when she heard what pharmaceutical companies were trying to do to natural remedies. Kat, Jared, Jesse and I were “second string” candidates to Cynthia McKinney in 2008. In one of the states, last time around, kat called me in excitement: our combined votes out-weighed Cynthia’s (or was it, “almost were as many as?”). I thought Jesse Johnson would pull ahead of me in the final delegate count, and I told him as much at the convention. One of the Democrat candidates, Mike Gravel, had endorsed Jesse. Jesse, too, thought it would give him a bump. We both agreed that the major media had ignored the news. At the convention, kat rallied her Texas delegates. Our co-campaign manager, Drew Johnson leaned over to me and laughed as the tallies were reported, “she beat you.”
Much of what is wrong in politics and in our culture has to do with centralization, wherein certain segments get way too much control, at the expense of diversity and freedom. Our current elected officials don’t help sort this out, as the money neatly does it for them.
Yes. Jill Stein has now announced.
I respect the life-time of good work that Mr. Nader has done. I’ve heard him say he works for Justice. When I met him and was with him for a short while in 1996, I was dismayed to hear him say, in so many words, that he wasn’t really running. He was eager to talk about the changes that needed to be made, but he wasn’t interested in being president. He asked, aloud, “Where are the politicians? I am not a politician. What about Jim Hightower? ...” He never seemed hungry for the job, which kind of makes sense since he’s done more to help humanity than any five presidents put together. I watched “An Unreasonable Man” recently, and was impressed.
No. President Obama has been too conciliatory to the usual power-brokers for him to be identified with any meaningful change in politics or in our lives. I liked the idea of Obama, but in actuality he is trying too hard to be liked. It’s not “change” when nothing important changes. Still, I liked his attempt to create a better health-care system in this country. Now, it’s up to us. Register Green and vote your conscience.
In order to improve the economy, we need to re-direct federal money to support the right priorities. Money represents a flow; currency is like a current. Part of the problem with the bank bail-out is that the banks are not lending the way they need to in order to stimulate the economy. Each bank is waiting for the next to be the one taking the risk. Small and medium businesses are the life-blood of an economy. These smaller businesses, especially when they represent products and services adding real value to the community, are deserving of support. Wall-street is hoarding from main-street, yet main-street and we taxpayers are ultimately foot the bill for the Wall-street bail-out. The banks should have been allowed to fail.
In general, saving money is the appropriate approach for individuals to prepare for the future, to have a “nest egg” for college or retirement or a business venture in-between. With governments, saving is important, as well, in that reserves need to be set aside and later made available to be tapped-into during times of economic stress.
Governments need to spend money in order to support worth-while programs and projects. The problem with the cozy relationship between big business and government is that government does not invest money wisely. For example, a supporter wrote me expressing how we ought to be able to provide for national defense with “twenty five cents on the dollar, rather than sixty cents on the dollar of our taxes.” With the military-industrial-congressional complex, there is incentive to create weapons for war and rush headlong into war to use those weapons; with no financial incentive for peace (we need a Department of Peace). Our foreign policy reflects this. Or, as one advisor put it to me, “If all we have is a hammer, the whole world starts looking like a nail.” People ought to come first during financial crises such as the one we are in. At both the state and federal level it is apparent that politicians did not plan ahead and set aside. All around, there has been too much risky speculation and very little corporate or personal responsibility.
In Green circles, the concept of a Green New Deal is being discussed. This would be a public works program to put everyone to work who wants a job with a living wage. The work would focus on rebuilding and strengthening our infrastructure so that our communities are more livable and more sustainable. For example, buildings retrofitted to be more energy efficient bring about savings as lower energy bills. From a security standpoint, the more we can get by with what we have available locally, the more secure we are in times of calamity. I like to say “sustainability is security.” In short, we need to develop as a society to be less wasteful and more capable of meeting our needs as locally as possible. Right now, excessive consumption beyond our means and the resultant trash that comes with this life-style are seen as positives to be rewarded. From an ecological perspective, our way of life must change. We cannot continue to be so casually consumptive and wasteful. Future generations cannot afford us. We need deep change.
I say we need two economies: one that is based upon money, even as it is being transformed to be more equitable and cautious and one that is based upon local currency or scrip. For example, in places where people are unable to afford food, there ought to be a way for them to contribute and to be recompensed, starting with the basics of food, shelter and medical attention. Think in terms of volunteering, but with the hours of volunteering being recorded and banked so that the citizen is contributing and is supported by society. If we wait for a federal program, it will take much longer than if we go about, locally, to solve these problems, ourselves. Volunteerism and philanthropy, together with wise municipal planning can go a long way toward creating scrip-based local sustainable economies.
The war on drugs is costly and inefficient. People who sell drugs need alternatives to their profession. Incarceration is expensive. My party basically says, “Do what you want as long as it does not hurt others.” Some illegal drugs, when used wisely and respectfully, are part of a long-running religious tradition. Part of the problem within the greater culture is a societal one. We live in a culture of consumption and addiction, where people are cut off from a sense of purpose and place. This means people do not respect the importance of setting things aside and not using up that which is available. Tobacco is legal, yet it is used in a non-sacred manner abhorrent to Native Americans, for whom the plant is sacred. Reconnecting with the earth is helpful and healing and would help people get off drugs. I believe in education and treatment. The drug problem is one of demand, not just supply. When people treat themselves more respectfully, in large numbers this means there becomes less of a demand. The demand is what stimulates the illegal drug-trade. I am interested in getting America off drugs, including inappropriate pharmaceutical use.
I would transform the military into having greater capacity to help with peace-time efforts. There is no independent auditing system at the Pentagon, which means there is undoubtedly much wasteful spending that can be cut and re-directed. It is extremely difficult to trim the military budget. Even as nations fail, such as ancient Rome, more and more resources are poured into military “solutions.” Those who question the standard practice are readily branded as being unpatriotic and unsupportive of the military. In particular, I support on-going efforts to improve energy efficiency within the military and elsewhere. It is wise to lower the energy costs and cost-to-society of the largest consumers of oil. There is also something called “technology transfer,” wherein devices and methods developed with a military focus can have useful, peaceful productive purpose. When soldiers return home from foreign battles, it would be especially useful for them to have the skills to retrofit our federal buildings in an attempt to meet L.E.E.D criteria. Our buildings currently use 40% of our energy and emit over 50% of green-house gasses. We need to create a peace-time, green economy. This requires careful, thoughtful transformation. I would like more of our military to have medical training so that they can help during times of emergency. If we had a tsunami impact our coastal areas the result could be catastrophic and would require large teams of medical personnel and others who could contend with the problem.
Citizens can do the most to help the environment by being extra conscientious regarding purchases. Much of what we buy, we really don’t need. Buy locally-sourced products and don’t support “box stores.” Support local economies and consider transportation costs of goods. Re-use products and rarely buy new. Get the old car re-painted and worked on, locally, maybe even converting it into an electric car, rather than buy a new car. Get community gardens started so that food is more readily available. Oppose nuclear power-and-weapons, oppose new logging roads in national forests, and oppose unjust trade policies that cause other nations to despoil their lands. Eat less meat, buy quality goods that will last and, again, reduce, reuse, recycle.
Make them legal and grant them special “world citizen status” with obligations to and protections from more than one country. Everyone can be put to work helping us to be more secure and sustainable. This can be done, even without federal money being readily available. Our treatment of undocumented immigrants is almost as shameful as our treatment of Native Americans. We need to not scapegoat people who come here to work and who do the difficult, dirty jobs that no-one else wants.
I like Theodore Roosevelt…but then nearly every politician says that. Teddy was a complex character with a blend of traits from across the political spectrum. He was a visionary conservationist, unlike nearly all politicians on the “right” today.
My inspiration to get into politics comes from my Native American tradition. I had a powerful dream, showing me that I could do much good for tribal and other people by holding firm to my principles and helping gather and unite the people of the world in the face of a gathering storm. The presidency is only important as a step toward such unification and concerted direction to help humanity survive and adapt rapidly. I dislike politics and most politicians.
14. You are a quality air inspector when you aren’t campaigning. Is it hard having another job while campaigning for the Presidency? Have you ever gone in to someone’s building to do your job and they have a surprised reaction like, “Wow! Is that really Kent Mesplay?”?
It is incredibly difficult to work full-time and run for public office of any level. It is especially insane to do this while running for president. Right now, I am doing as much as I can without taking time off. I have a back-log of requests and “homework” such as this questionnaire, and I perpetually think, “I need to get this or that done.” I have used up my vacation time to campaign and I have spent my own money and credit on campaigning. Over the upcoming months I will be focusing on raising money for the campaign. I plan to take time off work to run harder, maybe even full-time, but I need to have the money available since I work for a living and I am by no means wealthy. I have been living “paycheck to paycheck,” which is an uncomfortable way to exist.
I am forbidden to mention, at work, that I am running for public office. I work for a county organization which is extra sensitive to people campaigning at work. If anyone overhears me mention anything about being a candidate there would be negative repercussions at work. I like having a job, but I am dismayed at the over-sensitivity that has been displayed to me. During the 2004 and 2008 campaign seasons, a reporter with the county news agency called me, in excitement, wanting to talk (different reporter the second time). They had learned that one of the county employees was a presidential candidate and they thought it might make for an interesting news story. I agreed to being interviewed, both times. Both times, shortly after I agreed, I was called by the reporter’s “boss” who said they could in no way, shape or form interview me, since they were forbidden from discussing politics and because I was a Green. Very few people at work know that I am a candidate. It would boost my campaign to have the other thousands of county employees know that “one of their own” is a candidate.
In the field, I am even more careful. When I inspect a business, only three or four people out of the hundreds of managers and business owners who I meet with annually know that I am a presidential candidate. I respond politely when someone mentions that they saw my name in the paper. I am very careful at work. And, yes, some people do get a real kick out of it!
We independent candidates are tasked with raising our own money to run. We do not accept corporate support. There is also no support available from the party.
I am working to protect the environment, to transition us toward being more sustainable and to clean up the corruption in politics. Sustainability is security. I will help us be better prepared to weather natural and human-caused disasters of varying length and emergency. Register Green. Vote Mesplay.