‘Democracy doesn’t exist here’ Cheri Honkala, US Green Party VP nominee
18 Oct, 2012 08:31
“Corporate-sponsored American politics have stifled true democracy,” says Cheri Honkala, Green Party vice-presidential candidate. “We really need the outside help” to ensure fair debates and return democracy to America, she told RT.
Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala were arrested Tuesday after being denied entrance to the US presidential debates, despite being on 85 per cent of the ballots. “Democracy was taken away from us,” Honkala, told RT.“Jill and I had decided to go before the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), we wanted to go in [to the debates], we’re on 85 per cent of the ballots in this country, and so we thought it should be up to the American people, so that they could listen to us and decide who they wanted to have as their president and their vice-president,” Honkala said.The CPD was established in 1987 to monitor the presidential debates. CPD regulations stipulate that in order to be represented at the debate, a candidate must have at least 15 per cent support across five national polls and have the mathematical possibility to win the election. Tuesday’s debates were held by the CPD at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.“We’ve done our homework, it’s mathematically possible for Dr. Jill Stein and I to win the presidency, so we should be a part of the debates,” Honkala said.However, despite being on 85 per cent of the ballots, Stein and Honkala were not invited to the big debate that took place Tuesday night. “We thought it should be up to the American people, so that they could listen to us and decide who they wanted to have as their president and their vice-president.” However, after being denied entry, Stein and Honkala were arrested for blocking traffic.“We didn’t block traffic. We were at a stand-still because we were greeted by tons of officers who did not let us go in to the CPD, did not let us talk to somebody from the CPD."“We were then arrested by the police officers and then we were taken by secret service to a secret location and we were handcuffed to metal chairs for eight hours in a very cold warehouse,” she said.“It just seemed like an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars. Homeland Security is continuing to be used to preempt the civil liberties of people here in this country.”Mainstream media silenceHonkala told RT that she and Stein have been charged and will have to face trial for what they say is a fight to bring real democracy to America.“We will have to face trial. We were charged with disorderly conduct. It became very clear to the both of us that this was very political and they wanted us to be silenced,” she said.“Jill and I, we speak to the 99 per cent in this country. We have a program that’s about eliminating the student debt, it’s about taking money out of politics, it’s about making sure that everybody has access to a job; it’s about ending climate change and it’s about ‘greening’ America,” she told RT.Mainstream media seems to have mostly turned a blind eye to the arrest of the US presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as to their party platform, as the airwaves continue to be dominated by the two-party system in America.“We have a problem with a small number of corporations owning most of our major media outlets here in this country and we really need the outside help from different international media outlets to tell the real story of the American people. We are fighting for democracy here – it doesn’t exist. We do not have fair elections. We need elections monitors here and we need help from the international community,” she says.Should the system change and Americans elect Green Party candidates, democracy would come to America, Honkala believes.“Not only people in the US would benefit, but people throughout the entire world, because no longer we would have a foreign policy that would be about bombing and killing people in other parts of the world just for oil and for the 1 per cent [the wealthy few]. The international community would benefit as well from our foreign policy, which would be about other countries’ need to police their own countries, and work on their own democracies. We need to bring democracy back here to the United States, we need access to the media, and we need fair elections and debates.”