Rep. Paul Froehlich’s item about the future of the Republican Party set off quite a debate here yesterday. Today, the Green Party responds.
Rep. Paul Froehlich in Tuesday’s commentary piece, “Map to the future of the Illinois GOP” (Dec. 19) rightly calls for the Illinois Republican Party to focus more on issues of justice and equality. However, when he refers to these ideals in terms of attracting the increasing minority vote, I suspect he is talking more about a branding initiative than adopting deeply held values. And that I find disturbing.
Justice is not something that can be merely portioned out to a target audience of desirable voters, such as the Latinos or African Americans. Justice and equality are deserved by everyone, regardless of who they vote for or if they vote at all. This includes equal marriage, equal wages, access to health care for everyone, and fairness in education funding. It also means each person having a voice in our political system that is not drowned out by wealthy corporate interests.
Rep. Froehlich, justice and equality begin not with a party, but with an individual. And you can demonstrate your commitment to these ideals by throwing your weight behind bills like HB 750, which would reform education funding, and personally refusing corporate campaign contributions.
Fortunately, Froehlich and others needn’t wait for the Illinois GOP or the Democrats to change their ways. The Illinois Green Party, which was created because the two major parties had largely abandoned their commitments to social justice and equality, earned enough votes in the last election to automatically be placed on the ballot in 2008. So many Illinoisans WILL have the opportunity to vote for candidates committed to these values running under Green Party banner.