It’s Time to Reclaim & Re-Energize Our Democracy

July 28, 2918 - INGP Annual Congress Speech

Transcript: 2018 Annual Congress Speech — July 28, 2018

Indianapolis, Indiana - Video & Transcript of Indiana Green Party’s candidate for Secretary of State, Dr. George Wolfe’s speech. 

Indiana Green Party Candidate for Secretary of State, Dr. George Wolfe

I’d like to begin my speech today with the following quote from one of my favorite scriptures, the Tao Te Ching, a collection of poems attributed to Lao-Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher.

“There is a saying among soldiers:
I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest. 
I dare not advance an inch but would rather withdraw a foot.
This is call marching without appearing to move,
Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm,
Capturing the enemy without attacking,
Being armed without weapons.”

In my presentations on peace education, when I speak about nonviolence, I always have to emphasize that nonviolence is meant to be active, not passive. This is why MLK always added the word resistance when he spoke of nonviolence. Nonviolent resistance is meant to be an action-based approach to addressing injustice. In this sense, not only is nonviolence not passive, it should be thought of as a form of fighting – fighting against injustice, unfairness, discrimination, oppression and inequality.

This year, my GP campaign for Secretary of State has exposed several examples of injustice and corruption in the ballot access laws in the state of Indiana. And not only in ballot access, but also in laws and policies that amount to voter suppression.

As a third party candidate, this election cycle, we needed to get 26,699 verified signatures to get my name on the ballot. If I were running as a Republican or Democrat, I’d only need 5000 signatures.

The deadline for turning in the petitions was noon, July 2nd. This deadline several years ago used to be September 1st. It was then moved back to August 1st, and this election cycle it was set at July 2nd. As you can see, there has developed greater and greater resistance within the two major political parties to allowing third party candidates to gain ballot access.

There are also numerous examples of voter suppression tactics used by the current Secretary of State, Connie Lawson. These include the creation of voting centers that are more conveniently located for people living in more middle and upper class communities, and in efforts to purge names from the voter rolls based on a lack of participation in past elections or based on an interstate cross-state check system which has since been declared unlawful by a District Court judge.

Our campaign to get my name of the ballot for SOS was an effort to address and call public attention to these examples of injustice. To a limited extent we have made the public aware of this unequal signature requirement. If you listened to my radio interview last April with Tony LaMont on Indianapolis station WTLC, you will hear me speak about these voter suppression efforts. But our activism as GP members has not come anywhere close to being sufficient.

I was told that the roughly 7000 Indiana citizens who voted for Jill Stein in the 2016 election were activists, and that these voters comprised our Green Party “base.” And if you do the math, all we needed to obtain the number of signatures to get me on the ballot were 200 volunteers to get 200 signatures, i.e., 200 x 200 = 40,000, which would have surely given us ballot access. And 200 signatures are not hard to get. Starting in January, I managed to get 200 signatures on my petition forms in just 6 weeks.

But out of the 7000 GP voters, we could hardly find 40 members that were willing to roll up their sleeves without showing their arm, capture the enemy without attacking, arming themselves with pens petitions to go out and actively petition.

We are however, still waiting for the Election Division in the SOS office to tell us exactly how many signatures were turned into the county voter registration offices, a count that was supposed to have been available to us by July 16th. The fact that we have not been told how many signatures we acquired constitutes a serious procedural violation on the part of the Election Division office. So now the issues of inequality in the petitioning process have become the basis of a lawsuit that is being filed against the Election Division within the Indiana office of Secretary of State.

But regardless of the outcome of the legal challenge we are mounting, the low number of volunteers makes me question if we even have a GP base. And without a base of willing and active volunteers, even as low a number as 200, do we have a political party? And do we really believe in the power of nonviolence?

I suggest to you that we do have a base, but it is a base that is all too silent. I say this because when I speak to Hoosiers around the state, I find many Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians who share our values. People are outraged at the injustice and inequality behind the petitioning signature requirement for independent or third party candidates. And people in the three parties I just mentioned support many of the points on my campaign platform and believe the laws need to be reformed.

I am the only candidate who pledges to introduce Hoosiers to ranked choice voting. Ranked choice voting (RCV) does for the electoral process what the 3-point shot did for college basketball. It opens up the center for more issues to be aired, and it gives the long shot more influence in the game. Under RCV, a third party candidate can contribute to the political debate without becoming a spoiler, and there will always be a majority winner.

I am the only candidate who insists that we return to paper ballots, or voting machines that do not rely on the internet, to prevent hackers from disrupting our elections and throwing our nation into constitutional crisis. An electronic paper trail as being proposed by the Democratic candidate is not enough.

I am the only candidate who wants election day to be at least a half day holiday so workers have adequate time to get to the polls and cast their vote.

I am the only candidate who believes we should have open primaries to weaken the two-party duopoly. Open primaries would encourage people to vote for candidates not out of party loyalty, but because they agree with the stance the candidates, be they Republican or Democrat or Green or Libertarian, are taking on pressing issues.

I am the only candidate who is an advocate for the passage of a hate crime law,

And the only candidate for SOS who openly speaks out in favor of legalizing medical marijuana and legalizing all cannabis and hemp related products.

I am the only candidate speaking out against laws our Republican legislature has attempted to pass that would allow business owners to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community in the name of so-called religious freedom.

I am the only candidate advocating that we raise the minimum wage in Indiana to be at lease competitive with our neighboring state of Michigan, and subsequently move our state toward a living wage for all, thereby ending the underclass known as the working poor.

I am the only candidate who openly supports a workers right to organize and have say over their working conditions and workplace.

I am the only candidate promoting Medicare for all and moving our state toward a simpler single-payer system.

I am the only candidate insisting that no one’s name should be purged form the voter rolls simply because that haven’t voted in past elections, or their name happens to be similar to someone in a neighboring state. The purging of a name from our voter rolls should occur ONLY if there is documentation that the person is deceased or has moved out of state.

I’m the only candidate that has pledged to be an advocate for peace education in our schools where students will learn how physical violence is rooted in the psychological violence of bullying, name-calling and intimidation, and in structural economic, political and social systems that foster discrimination and oppression.

Indiana is one of only five states where DACA students have to pay out-of-state tuition to attend a public university. I am the only candidate that has promised to pressure Indiana lawmakers to allow DACA student to pay in-state-tuition.

And I am the only candidate who is an advocate for adding the arts to STEM degree programs, placing the arts on equal footing with Science, Technology , engineering and math.

And I am a candidate who is refusing to take money from large cooperate donors, and who will not be bought by special interest groups like the NRA.

As your Secretary of State, I will also insist on de-escalation training for community police.

In addition, I have also pledged to establish same-day voter registration, expand early voting opportunities, and base redistricting on an algorithmic model that would then be adjusted by a nonpartisan redistricting commission that would be appointed by the SOS’s office.

I ask you all to please take time to go to my website, and become acquainted with the platform videos, articles, and speeches that I have been active creating and presenting.

From my website, you will see that I have put forth a tremendous effort to reach out to people around the state and moving our campaign forward. In the first poll that was taken last March, I was polling at 8 percent of the vote. In the second poll, with the Libertarian Party candidate added to the slate, I polled at 4 percent. This means that we have an opportunity this election cycle to secure at lease 2 percent of the vote which would give the Green Party future ballot access in our state.

But gaining 2 percent of the vote should not be our goal. Our goal should be for me to win the election and become your next SOS!

Remember, both Republican and Democratic parties have been guilty of gerrymandering. Only a SOS from outside the two major parties can end the corruption in the our electoral system.

Fortunately I’m blessed with an outstanding campaign election committee. I can’t say enough about the dedicated expert help I’ve received from Teri Cento my Communications Director, Adam Muelhausen, my webmaster, Phil Sanders and Michael Richardson my volunteer coordinators, Greg Ellcessor my treasurer and campaign manager, Paul Logan our attorney, and other volunteer organizers including Amanda Shepherd, Sarah Dillion, Susan Brown, Joe Conn, Monica James, Robert Willey, Alena McKenzie, Sarah Perez and Pluto Brand.

Perhaps our lackluster petitioning effort is actually a blessing in disguise. Perhaps it is the wake-up call that the Indiana GP needed. For now we see we have to work even harder. I need everyone of you to wear your buttons, display your bumper stickers and hand out business cards explaining how to write my name in when voting on November 6th.

We have to raise more funds to boost posts on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to educate Hoosiers on my progressive platform and on how to vote for me as a write-in candidate. This will take extra effort, far more effort than petitioning. But I believe we can accomplish this by aggressively publicizing and canvassing. Please contribute at our table today, to receive your free bumper sticker, pin, or one of my published books. 

Your contribution will go toward reaching as many Indiana voters as possible.

All we need to do to get this done is roll up our sleeves without showing our arms, and capture our enemy by showing the voters of Indiana that the Green Party is setting the stage for the future of democracy in Indiana and in our nation.

Thank you for being here today.

Indiana Green Party Candidate, Dr. George Wolfe.