Independent Party

Going back to the buffet image I used in my initial article in this series, I finally have gotten you to the dessert table. In other words, we’ve covered all the third parties with candidates on the Minnesota ballot, so break out the balloons!

Now, just to add confusion to the general election melee, we’re going look at the Independents. Mind you, it’s not the same party I covered last issue—that was the Independence Party. If it helps, just remember (OK, everyone, deep calming breath…) that we’re talking, among other things, Ralph Nader. This year, his running mate is Matt Gonzales.

Among the issues they’d focus on, should they win, are continued commitment to affirmative action, and continued work toward equality for Americans with disabilities.

Their 12-step plan to deal with corporate stuff:

(1) An increase to corporate crime prosecution budgets

(2) Banning corporate criminals from government budgets

(3) Cracking down on corporate tax avoidance

(4) Democratization of corporate governance

(5) Expanding corporate disclosure

(6) Reining in of excessive executive pay

(7) Fixing the pension system

(8) Restoring the rights of defrauded investors

(9) Regulating derivatives trading

(10) Ending conflict of interest on Wall Street

(11) Tracking the extent and cost of corporate crime

(12) Fostering a national discussion on corporate power

Also from Nader’s Web site is the following, from the issue page:

• “The Nader campaign opposes President Bush’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. All adults should be treated equally under the law. The Nader campaign believes that by attempting to mandate inequality, President Bush is leading the country in the wrong direction.

• “The Nader campaign agrees with Marie C. Wilson, the president of the Ms. Foundation, who recently said: ‘The most important thing is really having equal rights. It’s not about the marriage. It’s having the same rights that you would get if you were married.’

• “The Nader campaign also believes that love and commitment is not exactly in surplus in this country, and should be encouraged. The main tragedy of marriage, what undermines marriage, is divorce, as Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago recently said.

• “The Nader campaign supports full equal rights for gays and lesbians. While civil unions are a step in the right direction under current federal and state law, they do not afford full and equal rights. There are 1,049 federal rights that are only conferred with marriage. Additionally, at the state level, a civil union is only recognized in the state where it occurs, while a legal marriage, and all the rights that go with it, is recognized in all the states. Thus, the only way to ensure full equal rights is to recognize same-sex marriage.

• “In more than 200 years of American history, the US Constitution has been amended only 17 times since the Bill of Rights, and in each instance (except for Alcohol Prohibition, which was repealed), it was to extend rights and liberties to the American people, not restrict them. For example, our Constitution was amended to end our nation’s tragic history of slavery. It was also amended to guarantee people of color, young people, and women the right to vote.

• “The amendment urged by President Bush (called the Federal Marriage Amendment) would be the only one that would single out one class of Americans for discrimination by ensuring that same-sex couples would not be granted the equal protections that marriage brings to American families.”

Also on the Minnesota ballot are Ron Erhardt (running for State Representative, District 41A) and Lynne Torgerson (running for State Representative, District 59A).

While nothing specifically related to GLBT issues is on his Web site, Erhardt is endorsed by the GOP Feminist Caucus and Planned Parenthood.

For Torgerson, important issues are lowering interest rates on student loans, as well as shifting state spending from projects like stadiums and more toward maintaining infrastructure.

Well, that does it for this series. I encourage you to keep on informing yourselves about the issues this year. On November 4, get out and vote!

Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzales

Ron Erhardt

Lynne Torgerson

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