Open the Debates Action Week, Oct. 1-7: Let Cynthia & Rosa debate! 10/1/ – 10/7/08

Open the Debates Action Week, October 1-7: Let Cynthia & Rosa debate!
Help get Cynthia McKinney & Rosa Clemente in the news and in the debates!
Goal: 100 letters to the editor in newspapers across the US

On Thursday, Oct. 2, the first vice presidential debate will take place at Washington University in St. Louis.  And on Tuesday, Oct. 7, the second presidential debate is planned for Belmont University’s Curb Event Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  The third presidential debate is on Oct. 15 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

The debate sponsors intend to exclude the Green Party’s presidential ticket.  Let’s not let that happen without a fight for democratic inclusion of all qualified candidates!

By excluding all candidates except Democrats and Republicans, the debate sponsors are rigging the election.  Cynthia and Rosa are on the ballot in enough states to win the election, so they deserve an invitation, and voters deserve to hear them debate!

We encourage all Greens and friends to participate in the first in a series of actions we’re planning for October.  Please help us spread the word about the McKinney-Clemente campaign and their right to take part in the debates.  Stay tuned for more actions throughout the month.

Here’s what you can do:• Write a letter to the editor about how important it is for Cynthia and Rosa to participate in the debates.  See the Talking Points below for ideas.  Keep the letter short and focused — five or six sentences is good.  We’re aiming for 100 letters sent by Greens to newspapers and news web sites all across the US.  Visit the letter-writing page to look up a newspaper and post a letter — use the provided text as a basis, or write your own:

• Go viral!  Recommend and promote video clips and articles with positive coverage of Green candidates by ‘Digging’ them (

• Promote the McKinney-Clemente Power to the People campaign on Facebook, Myspace, and blogs.  Don’t forget to add links to these important web sites:
State and local Green Party and other Green campaign sites

• Host a Debate-Watching House Party:

• Contact TV, radio, blog sites, and urge them to cover the campaign.

• Other actions: write an op-ed column or article and submit it to a newspaper or news web site.  Post a message on an e-mail bulletin board.  Call in to a radio talk show.

• Make a donation to the McKinney-Clemente campaign to help the candidates travel around the US for media appearances and campaign events:

~ Talking points ~

Open the debates to Cynthia McKinney and other candidates on the ballot!

Cynthia tells the truth.
Let Cynthia debate!

• Voters have a right to know about all the candidates whose names they’ll see on the ballot, not just the candidates approved by the Commission on Presidential Debates or the candidates whose poll numbers declare them ‘winnable.’  Voters deserve to know which candidate best represents their own interests and ideals.

• Cynthia McKinney, Rosa Clemente, and the Green Party represent millions of voices whose opinions will be excluded from the debates unless they are invited.  Ms. McKinney is the only woman presidential candidate in 2008.  Ms. McKinney and Ms. Clemente are the first US presidential ticket in which both nominees are of African ancestry, and Ms. Clemente is Black Puerto Rican.  Ms. McKinney has involved herself personally in the struggle of people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region to fight permanent eviction and return to their homes — the September 26 debate will take place in Oxford, Mississippi, a Gulf Coast state.  The Green Party and its candidates represent the promise of an anti-war, progressive party that takes no money from corporations — an imperative for America in the 21st century.  No other candidate in the 2008 stands for what the McKinney-Clemente ticket stands for.

• When debates are limited to two candidates, the voting public hears only a narrow range of ideas, opinions, and solutions.  When presidential debates are restricted to Democrat and Republican, important and popular ideas don’t get discussed, such as single-payer national health care, rapid and complete withdrawal from Iraq, ending the war on drugs, saving US democracy from a repeat of the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004, and impeachment of President Bush and VP Cheney.  Without Cynthia McKinney, these ideas will be censored from the debates.

• Cynthia McKinney will be on enough ballots to get elected to the White House.  Any presidential candidate who is on enough ballots to be elected deserves to participate in the debates.

• The only valid democratic measurement of public support for candidates is the election.  Opinion polls are subjective, vulnerable to bias, constantly fluctuating, and often exclude candidates from the questions asked.  Polls are not democratic and should not be used to determine who gets to participate in debates.

• The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which sets rules for candidate participation, took over the debates from the nonpartisan League of Women Voters after the LWV withdrew in protest of the Democratic and Republican candidates’ attempts to control nearly every aspect of how the debates were to be conducted.  The CPD is owned and run by the Democratic and Republican parties, which have an interest in excluding all candidates except their own.  The CPD is funded through contributions from corporations, which have their own interests in limiting the candidates who participate in the debates.

• In Canada, the TV networks initially tried to exclude Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, from the September 10 debates before the October 14 national election.  After the Greens launched a “Reclaim Democracy” campaign and Canadians throughout the country demanded Ms. May’s inclusion, Ms. May was invited to participate.  Americans who value democracy and fair elections should demand multi-party debates too.

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