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Barry Crimmins

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Cut into Green pieces Monday, March 11, 2002

by Barry Crimmins

I expected some flak when I wrote the "Green peace"essay. Not to brag, but boy was I ever right!

Since "Green peace's" publication, I have received a steady stream of venomous and often profane private e-mail and messages in the guestbook on my website.

I also got a number of supportive responses but the majority were negative. You can't have peace without dialogue and I started this one. So despite some ugliness, I'm happy that we are at least talking.

The main charge seems to be: As a Green, I broke my word and can never be trusted again.

ANSWER: I neither gave nor broke my word on anything. Besides, I'm not even a member of the Green Party. I voted for Nader because I was in Ohio where there was no chance Gore would win. Down the stretch, Gore didn't even campaign there. The Founding Father's left me an out. I stand guilty of getting my degree in political cynicism from Electoral College. But that's it. I didn't help Bush steal the White House. I made a private comment at the polls on Election Day -- a comment that I disclosed after the fact. It had no impact on the eventual theft of the election.

I maintain that my approach was not rare among Nader voters.

NEXT CHARGE: Nader is flawed and therefore he is a total fraud.

ANSWER: Although imperfect, Nader raised some issues that would have otherwise remained unmentioned. He didn't have to be perfect to do this. My vote was not meant to beatify the man.It was meant to remind the Democratic Party that its rank and file constituents were more important than the fat cats in the D.L.C.

I never set Ralph Nader up as an ideal candidate. During the campaign I simply commented on issues that I considered important -- mainly issues concerning Bush's sleaze and ineptitude. If you don't believe me, check the quips section of my website for October and November of 2000.

They document my enormous bias against Bush. Gore takes a lump or two but Bush is clearly the main target for my ire. It's there, it's dated. Take it or leave it.

Here's one new revelation for you -- on Election Day I stood outside a polling place in Cleveland and held a Bush sign!!! Of course I did this while wearing a New York Yankees hat. This might have been the single most effective piece of campaigning done on behalf of Al Gore in Ohio during the 2000 campaign. I'm happy to report that Clevelanders swear nearly as well as some of my recent correspondents.

My central complaint with Al Gore stands -- he never took the campaign to George W. Bush. I hold that Al made a major blunder by not returning fire on the issue of ethics. To me it was as inexplicably bad as Michael Dukakis' decision not to mention the Iran-Contra crimes during the 1988 campaign. Like the song says, sometimes the cards ain't worth a dime, if you don't lay 'em down. None of my negative mail seemed to want to challenge this.

The upshot of the essay was that we need to pull together and leave behind Green and Democratic divisiveness so that Bush is not given a post-9/11 mandate this fall. The fact that "Green peace" came out on the same day as revelations about Bush's horrific nuclear strategy certainly underscored our need to unite against growing madness. Bush plus a congressional majority could very well mean the end of the world. My differences with my more mainstream Democratic friends are not the end of the world. I therefore repeat my plea that we try to move to common ground so that we can fight to save the country and the world.

I ask that Democrats, even the ones who feel that Greens are 100% to blame for failing their country at a crucial moment, not fail their country by remaining mired in the blame game at an even more crucial point in history.

Peace inevitably requires forgiveness. I forgive all the Democrats who have said awful things about me as a result of my essay. I'm sure a better essay would have engendered a more positive response. Although I did respond firmly to some private mail, I did not and will not respond with hatred to the hateful words I have received. I have no taste for such a petty luxury at this delicate moment.

I understand that my detractors are frustrated. I also understand that some of their frustration resulted from the hyperbolic claim made by many Greens, including Ralph Nader, that Democrats are as bad as Republicans. I went out of my way to repudiate that assertion in my essay. But since I did write it, I provided an understandable target for frustration. Fair enough.

The Court-appointed Bush Administration is just a Congressional majority away from having no check or balance on its dangerous agenda. I know many of you are already working day and night to keep the federal legislature from falling into full Republican control. With the very future of the world at stake, I can do nothing less than promise to assist in that noble cause in good faith and without factional vitriol.

2002 Barry Crimmins

updated: 14 years ago