We stand here today at a time of great crisis for our nation – and a time of incredible potential for change. We face unprecedented, converging problems in our economy, our environment, human rights and the quest for peace. The American people are ready to meet these challenges, but many of us have, for good reason, lost confidence in the political establishment and its leaders in Washington.
These leaders have given us massive bailouts for Wall Street, layoffs on Main Street, declining wages for workers, wars for oil abroad, and attacks on Medicare and Social Security. They’re privatizing education, rolling back civil liberties and racial justice, plundering the environment, and driving us towards the calamity of climate change.
In response, the American people are standing up like we haven’t seen in decades. And they are providing the leadership that’s not coming from the political elite. People are realizing that We the People have to take charge, because the political parties that are serving the top 1% are not going to solve the problems the rest of us are facing. And we need people in Washington who refuse to be bought by lobbyist money and for whom change is not just a slogan.
My name is Jill Stein. And all this is why I’m here today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States.
I’m running because America deserves a new deal – a Green New Deal that provides a secure future for We the People and the planet we depend on. Here are five key pieces to the Green New Deal that we must achieve and can achieve, with your support:
First we can end unemployment in America now. It’s not only a crisis that hurts families and communities. It’s also a drag on our economy. Like FDR’s New Deal that helped us out of the Great Depression – the Green New Deal will directly create jobs. It will put 25 million people back to work, end the Bush/Obama recession and jump start the Green economy of the 21st century. The jobs it creates will build the infrastructure for a stable, renewable energy economy. This will provide real national security by making wars for oil obsolete. It will ensure that our energy dollars create jobs right here in America. It will build public transportation, clean manufacturing and sustainable agriculture. Ending unemployment through the Green New Deal is a triple win for people, the economy and the environment.
Second, it’s time for the United States, the richest country in the world, to catch up with the rest of the developed nations and provide health care for everyone as a human right. We can do this through a Medicare for all system that will not only provide quality health care - it will save trillions by streamlining the massive health insurance bureaucracy and ending runaway medical inflation.
Third, we can forgive the crushing student debt burden and liberate an entire generation of young people who are being turned into indentured servants. And we can provide tuition-free education from pre-kindergarten through college - an investment in our future that will pay off enormously.
Fourth, we can establish an immediate moratorium on home foreclosures. We can stop predatory banks from throwing families out of their homes, and we can require these banks to adjust outstanding balances to reflect current market value. The banks – not just homeowners – need to share the impact of the banks’ own fraud and abuse that started the foreclosure crisis in the first place.
Fifth, we can bring the troops – including the private security contractors - safely home now from Iraq and Afghanistan. That allows us to redirect the trillions of dollars being spent on needless wars and the bloated military back into urgent human needs here at home.
By entering into the Presidential dialogue, we will force real issues into the debate, and build the movement for all the critical solutions that the Wall Street politicians are trying to keep off the table. We’ll give people a choice and a voice in this election and enable them to go to the polls and vote to take their government back – and get it working for We the People again.
I’d like to say a few words as a mother and a doctor, because it’s from that perspective that I first became involved in the political process about 20 years ago. And it’s that perspective that keeps me in it.
As a doctor, I saw that our broken health care system was desperately failing the people who need it. As a mother, I was especially concerned about the new disease epidemics descending on our children – the rising tide of obesity and diabetes, asthma, cancer, learning disabilities and autism. As a practicing physician, I became impatient with dispensing pills in the clinic and then sending people back out to the things that were making them sick - the air pollution, toxic chemicals, community violence, degraded nutrition, car-centered transportation and poverty. I thought if only our elected officials knew how many human tragedies could be averted by fixing these things, how much money we could save by preventing costly diseases – I thought surely they would do something.
So I spent years working to persuade elected officials to act. Slowly I realized that in order to persuade elected officials, you need to shower them not with information, not with heartfelt human concerns and cost saving solutions, but rather with bundles of big campaign checks. That was my wake up call that if we want to prevent needless harm to our children, if we want to get the health care we need, or the education or the jobs – we need to first fix the broken political system.
Twenty years later, as a mother and a doctor, I see that our kids are still struggling – not only with high rates of diseases they shouldn’t have. But in every aspect of life – struggling for decent schools, to stay safe on the streets, to afford a college education, to get a job and to get out of debt. And they’re losing the battle on every front.
People ask me why I keep fighting political battles in a rigged system. The answer is simple. I keep fighting because when it comes to our children, mothers don’t give up.
Young people today haven’t given up – and they’re the ones really carrying the burden of this rigged system. If they’re not giving up, we shouldn’t either.
In fact, young people are not only not giving up, they’re standing up like never before - – as we see so clearly in Zuccotti Square and Freedom Square and Grant Park and Dewey Square and hundreds of other Occupy encampments around the country. And just like in the civil rights movement, when the young people stand up, the nation changes forever. If more of us take a lesson from them, we’re going to be an unstoppable force. That’s why I’m here today asking you to be a part of our campaign. Because we need to bring the integrity and vision of everyday people into creating a future that works for all of us. Let’s open up the doors on Capital Hill get the big money out, and let the people back in to guide our way forward – the schoolteachers and nurses, truck drivers and electricians, students and secretaries, the postal workers and factory workers, scientists, farmers, musicians and pharmacists. The people who repair and teach and cook and heal, and do honest work.
When the people do the governing – not the lobbyists and Wall Street executives – then we’ll have a government we can trust. Please go to jillstein.org to find out more about our people-powered campaign. And while you’re there, join us to become part of it. It’s time for a Green New Deal for America. A job for every worker. Health care, education and housing for every American. A livable planet for our children. On November 6 next year, let’s take our democracy back and build the secure green future we all deserve. Thank you!