Thursday, October 09, 2008

Open the debates - By Amy Goodman


George Farah directs Open Debates, a group that works “to ensure that the presidential debates serve the American people first.” He told me that “historically, it has been third parties, not the major parties, that have supported and are responsible for the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, public schools, public power, unemployment compensation, minimum wage, child labor laws. The list goes on and on. The two parties fail to address a particular issue; a third party rises up, and it’s supported by tens of millions of Americans, forcing the Republican and Democratic parties to co-opt that issue, or the third party rises and succeeds, which is why the Republican Party jumped from being a third party to being a major party of the United States of America.”

There is a move to organize a third-party debate, in New York City, a day or so after the final McCain-Obama debate on Oct. 15. The CPD could still liven its last debate, and serve the electorate and history, by opening up that debate to all candidates who have at least obtained significant ballot access. Both Ralph Nader and Bob Barr are on the ballot in close to 45 states, Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party is on the ballot in 30 states, and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin is on in more than 35 states. Let’s open the debates and have a vigorous and honest discussion about where this country needs to go. It will not only make for better television, it will make for better democracy. Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column. Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in North America. She has been awarded the 2008 Right Livelihood Award, dubbed the “Alternative Nobel” prize, and will receive the award in the Swedish Parliament in December.

© 2008 Amy Goodman

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