Opinion: Dreams can come true

Pasadena Weekly, March 23, 2006

It seems that when you wish hard enough, dreams actually do come true sometimes.

Maybe a better way of putting that is when things get so bad that they can’t get much worse, sometimes good things happen.

After three years of the still unexplained military quagmire that’s been created in Iraq by the Bush administration, and junta officials along with some Democrats in Congress spoiling for yet another conflict — this time involving a potentially nuclear confrontation with Iran — it sure seems as though life under the George W. Bush regime can’t get any worse.

Of course, things can get worse, a lot worse, and they’re heading that way now. But that sad fact is in no small part due to the Democratic Party’s inability to resist Bush and his manipulative millionaire minions who buy and sell lawmakers from both parties like so much penny stock.

Yes, Democrats are more than partially responsible for the miserable state of the world today, primarily because they’ve allowed the US to abandon diplomacy altogether, along with the rule of law, and have consistently acquiesced to the half-truths and outright lies promulgated by the administration about the actual threat that Iraq posed to the United States.

Now these very same people, who were recently offered a chance to at least censure Bush for his apparently aimless warmongering but almost angrily refused to do so, are up to their old tricks, pretending once again to be for the people and against the war, but at the same time respectfully supportive of the president’s neo-colonial policies in the Middle East.

All of this sounds more like the makings of another nightmare, not a dream. Certainly, given the probability that Democrats will take control of at least one house of Congress come November, the future looks less-than-promising for average Americans over the next few years.

But hold on. Believe it or not, there is actually a bright side to all of this business-as-usual politicking. And that is the emergence of the Green Party in the coming state and national elections as something of a populist force to be reckoned with.

Two things help bring a little more excitement than usual to the June 6 primary elections. One is a first-ever competitive Green Party Primary Election for a seat in the Legislature, and it’s happening right here in the 44th Assembly District in the race for the seat currently held by Democrat Carol Liu, who is leaving office due to term limits.

Come the June primary, four Democrats will be squaring off for Liu’s seat. So will two Green candidates: Pasadena affordable housing advocate Philip Koebel and Ricardo Costa, a film projectionist for Laemmle Theatres.

Another exciting aspect of this election is the presence of a well-known political character on the Green Party ticket running in the congressional seat presently held by Democrat Adam Schiff, and that is former Pasadena City Councilman Bill Paparian.

When Paparian was on the City Council, he was well-known by many in politically liberal circles as the only “real progressive” on a board of mostly Democrats. But Paparian was perhaps better known for his maverick spirit, having been a former US Marine, a registered Republican, then an independent, and now a Green.

The well-financed Schiff is likely to win his primary match against Democrat Bob McCloskey of Monterey Park, who is running as a well-meaning but under-funded anti-war candidate, so Paparian’s candidacy won’t be at issue again until the November campaign begins in earnest.

Even so, the strong presence of these candidates give us hope that things can change for the better, that is if people take the necessary steps to make that change happen, as Paparian, Costa and Koebel have made the effort to do.