In the United States, the two-party system has been so all-encompassing of American politics as to nearly obliterate all traces of an option. Recent criticism has been directed at how the two parties are actually the same one, with words like "Republocrat" and "Demican" used as derogatory names for the two main parties. However, a new party has come onto the scene: the Green Party. This party has been gaining acceptance and slowly getting more news coverage. So what is it, and what does it stand for?
The Green Party is based on the principles of Green politics, a political ideology which places importance on ecological and environmentalist issues, while trying to achieve these goals through broad-media-based, grassroots, participatory democracy and decisions made in consensus. Beyond the mere advocacy of environmental causes, they also advocate non-violence and peace, and social and civic liberties. The philosophy is that these issues are inherently related to ecological, social, and human bodily health.
If you remember the posters back in the sixties that said "War is bad for flowers and other living things", that's part of the point - not just about flowers, of course, but that war is bad for people, nations, and the economy, too. That last claim might seem counter-intuitive, because national economies have surged when they were at war in the past. However, the keyword that doesn't apply any more is "national"; this is the 21st century, where the global economy is the dominant reality. This takes the fact of war between nations down to the same effect that a gang war in your neighborhood would have. Sort of.
In fact, the "Four Pillars of the Green Party" explains it better. Ecology is not just a matter of choosing "paper or plastic", but a long-term issue which will eventually require the overhaul of our whole society, as a global community. Social justice looks to stamp out every form of discrimination based on distinctions between class, gender, ethnicity, or culture, preferring instead an egalitarian outlook. Grassroots democracy is participatory democracy, and is embraced by Greens as the only reliable governance model; it is possible to cut the bureaucracy from our government models and run things by direct participation through the communications infrastructure. Finally, non-violence reflects the Green's policy of rejecting violence as a means to overcoming its opponents.
In short, the Green party's core beliefs really aren't that new after all. They borrow heavily from leaders such as Gandhi and traditional beliefs of the United States, such as the Quakers who were here to found this country when it began. Furthermore, the movement is also aimed at helping the United States be a better neighbor to the rest of the world, and enter into a spirit of cooperation with nations founded largely on Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. American Christians who reject the religions and beliefs of "foreigners" need look no farther than Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew chapters 5-7 - Green party beliefs are actually Christ's teachings as well, albeit forgotten ones in the United States.
Interestingly, almost every nation on Earth with a democratic system now has a Green party established. They have sprung up all over the globe for the past thirty years, with Canada, Peru, Norway, South Africa, Ireland, and Mongolia all having strong Green parties.
However, the uniquely American culture of hostile xenophobia makes the Green party a difficult thing to establish here. The United States is home to some of the most intolerant groups in the world, with declared wars on races, nations, religions, beliefs, and even the most trivial, inconsequential, and harmless practices. Can a nation filled with angry bigots learn to love and coexist in peace with the rest of the world?
If not, we can always take solace that if the rest of the world goes Green, we don't have to worry about a war. After all, Green is non-violent.