The Public Interest

By Ted Glick

In the legal documents and the oral pleadings which took place before and on October 2 before the N.J. Supreme Court, there was much talk about “the public interest,” about “voter choice,” about “democracy.”

Nice words. But behind the nice words is the fact that the primary concern on October 2nd was not democracy or voter choice but, instead, “preserving the two party system,” in words also used many times in both the legal documents and the oral discussion.

As the U.S. Senate candidate of the Green Party of New Jersey, this was difficult to take.

I have been actively campaigning for eight months. I have personally hand-delivered upwards of 60,000 or so pieces of literature to potential voters in every part of the state. I have attended a dozen county fairs and numerous street fairs. I have been to the boardwalk, to meetings, to concerts and other events with my Green Party message. I have been raising money and recruiting volunteers. Our campaign has produced and continually updates a professional website, We have reached out to the press and issued dozens of press releases. I have put out position papers on issues. Ours is a serious campaign.

Our issues have been striking a chord and are representative of the views of many New Jersey voters. We are for inspections, not a unilateral war against Iraq. We stand for clean money, voluntary public financing of elections to get corporate money out of our political system. Such a system is already working in four states. We stand for energy independence and a crash program to reverse global warming and create jobs through getting energy from the sun, the wind and other renewable sources. We support lowering taxes on workers and increasing taxes on the very wealthy. We are for universal health care, as exists in just about every other industrialized country. It is a scandal that we don’t have it! We call for the jailing of corporate criminals and the return of the money they looted to employees who lost their jobs and pensions. We support the right to organize and form unions without harassment and firings, and a living wage for all working people.

“Democracy” and “choice” at one point in a country’s history have a different meaning at another point. Two-thirds of the potential voting electorate in New Jersey will probably not be voting on November 5th based upon past election day experience. There is deep alienation and anger at an electoral system that just about everyone knows is dominated by big money, by corporate interests, to the detriment of the average citizen.

The time is long overdue to genuinely democratize our endangered electoral system. A good, immediate way to begin would be to open up the televised U.S. Senate debates to more than just the same old parties that have gotten us into the mess we are in.