Another Candidate for US President

Another Candidate for US President
Posted by FoM on June 05, 2000 at 05:57:01 PT
By Amy Green, Associated Press Writer
Source: Star Tribune
Korean War veteran. Hippie commune founder. Published author. Drug convict. Stephen Gaskin has accomplished much in his 65 years, but there' s still one more goal: U.S. president. Like other political renegades, Gaskin knows his chances are slim against the big party candidates, but the election gives him an opportunity to voice his message for peace, social consciousness and the legalization of marijuana. 
The self-described " hippie priest and free-lance rabble-rouser" says that as a Green Party candidate, he offers an alternative to the other guy from Tennessee -- likely Democratic nominee Vice President Al Gore -- and Gore' s rival Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Gaskin' s got competition within the Green Party from consumer advocate Ralph Nader, the party' s perennial candidate, and former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra. The Greens select their candidates at a nominating convention June 24-25 in Denver. If he loses the nomination, Gaskin says he will just take his $400 war chest and start the Outlaw Party -- a group with the same beliefs as the Green Party but with a focus on legalizing marijuana. " If you want to throw some seeds in your garden and grow some pot and smoke it yourself, I don' t think it' s anybody else' s business. And I don' t think that the Constitution thinks that it' s anybody else' s business, " Gaskin says. This is not someone who fears the question: Did you inhale? " I didn' t exhale, " he says. Gaskin, with his shoulder-length gray braids and tie-dyed T-shirts, envisions a country where affluence isn' t viewed as a right but a privilege that is shared with the less fortunate. Eliminating corporate donations and soft money to political campaigns will restore integrity to political office, and the government should foot the bill for the nation' s health care and educate its people through junior college, he says. Where would the money come from? " For a couple of B-2 bombers you could pay for all the education in the United States, " he says. Gaskin was a writing instructor at San Francisco State College -- now San Francisco State University -- following a two-year combat stint in Korea that ended in 1954. Social consciousness is the reason Gaskin withdrew from society and founded his own community 58 miles southwest of Nashville in the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee. His commune -- a 1, 000-acre spot in Summertown called The Farm -- prospered at first but soon fell $800, 000 into debt and in 1983 its leaders were forced to start charging dues. Today, some 250 people live there and pay about $100 monthly. Gaskin went to prison in 1974 for marijuana possession. He served one year of a three-year sentence and says he learned that " the difference between who went to jail and who didn' t ... was politics." He later helped win voting rights for felons convicted in Tennessee before 1981 when he discovered that he had lost his own voting rights and appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court struck down a 1981 law that, in tandem with another law, denied voting rights to all felons rather than those of specific crimes. Gaskin has spent $800 traveling to speaking engagements and Green Party meetings. He already is on the November ballot in a few states, including New York and New Mexico. When not on the campaign trail, Gaskin works on his vintage Volvos, teaches at the commune' s school and writes. He already has published 10 books on politics and spirituality. Gaskin' s wife, Ina May, says she is proud of her husband' s campaign, win or lose. " He shows that a little guy still can have a voice, " she says. " That' s one of the sad things about the country today -- so many people don' t have a voice." On the Net: Gaskin' s campaign: Green Party Summertown, Tenn. (AP)Published Monday, June 5, 2000 Copyright 2000 Associated Press. 
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Comment #2 posted by military officer guy on June 05, 2000 at 17:46:40 PT
either one, just vote libertarian...
wasn't sure who to vote for, browne, or hess, but as long as we get the message across, libertarian is the way to vote in 2000...we can win this war...
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Comment #1 posted by J Christen-Mitchell on June 05, 2000 at 07:05:12 PT:
Barry Hess for President
   July will find The National Libertarian Party Convention a Disneyland. Tops on their agenda is making the choice of whom to represent the party in the presidential election.   This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Barry Hess of Arizona. My time spent with him made it's impression. Let's give him the ball.   Harry Browne has been great for the LP, but he has lost the fire. Barry Hess lights up the room with his flaming passion for reform. The nation will hear him.   Declaring War on The War on Drugs, I believe this is the man to carry the torch for this and coming Elections. He has my complete support and he has graciously lent his name to my own campaign.   We are all very lucky to have a man like this to vote for. Hear him speak on his unique site. He is one of us!
Barry Hess for President
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