I was Green for a day.

Back in the summer of 2002, when I was often protesting the inevitable invasion of Iraq, I was also working afternoons and evenings as a field staffer for the Arizona Democratic Party. One day, my supervisor, Kris, asked me if it was difficult juggling the two schedules. The rest of the conversation went like this:

Not really. Most of the protests are held at lunchtime. I wave my sign for a couple of hours, switch campaign buttons, and then come to work.
Switch buttons?
When I'm protesting, I wear the button a Green girl gave me. That way, my rioting can't be traced back to the Democratic Party.
When you say "green girl", do you mean she's a member of the Greens, or that she's actually green?

Which isn't that odd of a question, considering what most anti-war protests look like.

For the record, she was from the the Green Party (which isn't even officially recognized in Arizona), and we didn't really riot, despite how much the College Republicans apparently wanted us to. (At one protest, they showed up with a sign that said "We support our police", like they were ready to cheer on some good old-fashioned beatings. Crypto-fascist twerps.) Being a member of either major party wasn't considered especially cool at protests (and the bosses at my party weren't thrilled with partisan showings at protests anyway), so I took the Green button (which really was green, by the way) and went around pretending to be Green while I waved my "No Blood For Oil" sign.

Yes, I was a fake Green, just like Ralph Nader was in 2000. (Come on, he never even registered to vote as a Green!) I don't wear my button any more, and Ralph has apparently thrown his away, too, instead choosing to run for President as an independent. That will probably help him a little (it's easier to qualify for the ballot as independent than as a party candidate in several states, including Arizona), but give him a new set of enemies in states where the Greens actually matter (the Greens are considering endorsing a Democrat for President this year).

In either case, I'm still mad at him for what happened in 2000. I always thought his campaign was bad for the cause (by which I mean my cause and his cause, because we're basically for the same things, the difference being that I think winning elections helps the cause more), but I avoided getting into arguments with Nader supporters before the election because I was trying to respect their right to vote as they see fit. My bad. For two years after the election, my e-mail signature was "Damn you, Nader!"

I've been hoping that Nader's spoiling of the 2000 election would discourage left-wing third party candidates from making runs at the White House for years to come, lest they help hand the entire country over the Republicans. No such luck, apparently. So I think it's time to change my e-mail signature again. The new signature?

Friends don't let friends vote for Ralph Nader.

Posted at 11:39:51 PM EST on 22 February 2004 from Trenton, MI