On November 3rd in various towns in Connecticut, several Green Party members were elected to the largely symbolic and partisan office of constable. One of them, a college student named Cole Stangler, reflects on his victory:
Last week, I became a constable in my Connecticut hometown, representing the Green Party. I ran for constable, a government position requiring me to deliver court summonses, to highlight the significance of third parties. The United States is unique from other well-established democracies in that its political system is characterized by the relative absence of third parties. The dialogue in Congress, and consequently the dialogue portrayed in the media, is primarily between two enormous entities: Democrats and Republicans.
We’ve been told that the Democrats are the party of the left, and the Republicans are the party of the right—yet a closer, more nuanced observation reveals that there are more similarities than differences between the two. The sort of debate that energizes and powers a truly democratic society does not occur on fundamental issues that the Democrats have continually deemed “off limits”—such as whether the United States has the right to intervene unilaterally across the world to protect its interests, or issues like cutting the military budget, single-payer universal healthcare, cracking down on corporate welfare, and serious labor reform.
Because The Green Party does not hesitate to address the issues and highlight the dangers of corporate influence that permeate Democratic and Republican agendas alike, I started working for them a few years ago. The Green platform, in short, is based on social justice and environmentalism. It works towards the goal of peaceful community self-sufficiency in a country increasingly dominated by corporate influence. In my home state of Connecticut, the Green Party does have a small but stable support base—we are, after all, the home state of Ralph Nader. After working with the Greens on the Cliff Thornton for Governor Campaign in 2006, and Richard Duffee’s 4th district congressional campaign in 2008, the Fairfield County Greens apparently trusted me enough to ask me to run for constable in my town of New Canaan. A week ago, I was elected with 749 votes, good enough for fourth place out of six candidates.