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Politics

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.”

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Posted inDennis Myers Memorial

Politics

Sam Clemens

Nevada’s favorite son
While Nevada’s Mark Twain impersonator McAvoy Lane may have withdrawn from the presidential race (RN&R, 15 Minutes, April 15), that does not mark the end of Twain’s presidential hopes this year.

A Web page, www.twain2004. com, is running a Twain for President campaign, offering the observations of the famed author—and one-time Nevadan—on issues of the day (any day). Many of Twain’s statements clearly transcend the time in which they were written or spoken:

Crime: “Nothing incites to money-crimes like great poverty or great wealth.”

The economy: “The lack of money is the root of all evil.”

Family values: “Familiarity breeds contempt and children.”

Defense: “An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.”

This is at least the second time the Twain for President site has been posted. In the 2000 election, the page dipped into Nevada for some material. Nevada State Archives administrator Guy Louis Rocha published an article that year on Twain’s last trip to Nevada, during which he watched, and later wrote about, the hanging of convicted killer John Millian in Virginia City. The site used some of Rocha’s information (“Twain opposes death penalty”).

Rocha says he prefers Sam Clemens to Mark Twain as a presidential candidate because Clemens the person tended to have a less cynical view than Twain the writer.

“My take on Twain is, he’d be a good politician because as a writer he exaggerated, used hyperbole, kind of manipulated his reader. It’s Sam Clemens that I really like. He’s the guy who supported the underdog, had fundamental questions about right and wrong and fairness, and so I like Sam Clemens the man. Mark Twain the writer’s entertaining, but I like what Sam Clemens might bring to the presidency.”

Clearly Twain—or Clemens—would have the advantage of high name recognition. On the other hand, he would have the liability of being known as a journalist.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...