How I became a Green
I’m 26 years old and was born in what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina . My family came to the United States in 2000 after almost eight years in Germany. We became U.S. citizens in 2006.
I became interested in politics at a relatively early age, for several (somewhat related) reasons. In 2003, George W. Bush sent troops into Iraq based on the now widely- known lies. Having briefly seen war in my own country at an early age I became a strong opponent of the war and the Bush administration in general. Another reason for my early interest in politics were two social studies teachers I had in high school. They were very different in their approach to teaching and polar opposites in the way they saw the world. What united them however , was the fact that they both had strong political opinions and weren’t afraid to make them known to their students. The first of them taught world history (which was at the time the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq took place.) He was a staunch supporter of the war and the administration. In the spring of 2003 , that became a daily topic in the class. It went to the point where it made me as a pacifist quite uncomfortable. Just about every progressive in America must have some kind of horror story about those dark days; I won’t bore the reader with the details of mine.
In any event, the following school year I had U.S. history (and in my senior year economics) with the other of the above-mentioned teachers. He saw it as essential view these subjects through the lens of current events. He also felt that it was necessary for us to see what his viewpoint was. He saw Bush Junior as America’s worst president and understood the threat that corporations posed to democracy. He even told us that he had voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. That was the first time that I had heard about the existence of the Green Party in this country. I was sympathetic from the start, having known some good people who were active in the Green Party in Germany at a local level.
In 2004, I was excited about the prospect of possibly seeing Bush out of office. But at the same time quite troubled to find out that his main opponent, John Kerry supported the war in Iraq , supported the death penalty (a concept which has always made me cringe) and generally sounded a lot like Bush himself.
In the years leading up to the 2008 election, I was still sympathetic to the Greens, but felt that the only way forward was a dramatic shift in the leadership of the Democratic Party. That is why between late 2006 and early 2008, I was a strong supporter of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s bid for the presidency. He seemed the only one willing and able to cause such a shift. Since I didn’t pay any attention to the 2004 Democratic primaries, or the congressman’s capitulation to his party’s leadership, I had no way of foreseeing the major disappointments that were to come. First, he all but endorsed Barack Obama in Iowa after seeing that support for himself was very limited there. By that point I was angry at the Democratic Party for not tolerating progressive dissident voices like Kucinich’s, Mike Gravel’s, Cynthia McKinney’s or my own for that matter.
After having listed to parts of the Green Party’s 2008 National Convention via Pacifica Radio’s online coverage, I was convinced that the Greens were the Party where I belonged. When Kucinich formally endorsed Obama over his friend and Green Party candidate, McKinney I was bitter, but still able to forgive. I voted for McKinney that November and joined the Georgia Greens in 2009.But at that point, I still had a little belief that the Democrats were at least slightly better than their Republican counterparts. That changed when Kucinich proclaimed that he would vote in favor of Obama’s corporatist heath care law. My belief that they were the lesser evil ended once and for all, when President Obama quietly signed into law the notorious National Defense Authorization Act one New Year’s Day .It was a bill that gave him the authority to incarcerate anyone without charge and it originated in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Now I firmly support the Greens and their values of grassroots democracy, social justice ecological wisdom and non-violence, which had always been my own. I also now serve on the state committee of the Georgia Party.