Growing Green Democrats
“You cannot bomb a people into peace.” That was one of the sentiments expressed by the Green Democrat Alliance of Reno at a meeting on Sunday night. A group of about 20 people came together with a common purpose or two, like working to defeat George W. Bush in the 2004 election and getting the United States out of Iraq.

The group watched two films, Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (Subtitled: How Bush Stole the Presidency) and Right Road Lost, a documentary about a U.S. soldier’s experience during Desert Storm in Iraq. The latter movie provoked discussion about gruesome aspects of the war, as the soldier spoke of U.S. troops burying Iraqi soldiers alive.

Patricia Axelrod, founder of the Green Democrats in northern Nevada, agreed with a group member who suggested that the United States can’t bring peace through intervention in Iraq.

“I was in post-Gulf War Iraq,” Axelrod said. “I spoke with the people; I peeled human flesh off of the inside of buildings. There will never be peace in Iraq as long as we are involved. What we’re seeing now are the crimes of the son imitating the crimes of the father.”

Axelrod said that national and international changes weren’t the only focus of the group. She said that the Green Democrats hope to become a force in local and county government as well.

“There are many seats coming open in 2004, including City Council and School Board positions,” she said. “We want a local government that isn’t only concerned with the welfare of the casinos. Right now in Reno, there are unsafe school buses carrying our kids, while the casino industry rakes in the dollars and pays few taxes.”

Defeating Bush will take some determination, Axelrod said.

In the 2000 presidential election, Bush carried Nevada by getting 301,575 votes. Democrat Al Gore received 279,978 votes. The Green Party’s Ralph Nader received about 15,008 votes in Nevada. Even if these Greens had voted for Gore, it wouldn’t have been quite enough to push Nevada Gore-ward.

Nevada’s four electoral votes were enough to put Bush—who garnered less of the popular vote nationwide—into office.

Though the 2004 presidential election may be an uphill battle, Shirley Moore-Byas, a Democrat who moved here two years ago from California, has confidence that it is possible.

“If we get united, we can awaken the dormant political entities in Nevada,” Moore-Byas said. “We need to be united because splintering between the Greens and the Democrats is what caused the Democrats’ loss in 2004. We can’t let that happen again.”