Responding to Real Change's questionnaire, McKinney described government as "where people [should] see their values reflected in public policy." The president, in addition to protecting the Constitution, should "be a role model of peace, justice, transparency, compassion, and wisdom" and "provide leadership in times of trouble, listen to the people, and steer the government accordingly."
"Thoughtfulness, good judgment, wisdom, a sense of justice, courage, and independence from corporate interests" as well as "awareness of the present precarious existence of life on earth due to a host of environmental threats" are prerequisites for a good president.
She is most concerned about "war, global warming, injustice, poverty...the collapse of ecosystems and local economies...[and] the erosion of constitutional rights."
McKinney would use tax incentives and legislation to "expand the construction of affordable, quality, energy-efficient housing" and would require "renegotiation of unconscionable mortgage agreements."
High levels of incarceration and racial disparities within the prison population are "the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow" in addition to being a consequence of the "pitiful" drug war and the "prison-industrial complex." Money should be spent on "detoxification, rehabilitation, education -- not incarceration."
McKinney sees the recent "Wall St. collapse" as demonstrating that the "hands-off brand of capitalism... promoted by both Democratic and Republican administrations" is a failure. She promotes more active oversight of the economy and a rollback of "the Bush tax cuts on [at least] the top 1 percent."
U.S. presidents continually threaten world peace with their willingness to "wage war at times and places where nonviolent methods could serve much better." She would "call for an orderly but immediate and complete withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other foreign nations."
What is the role of the government?
Government should be where people see their values reflected in public policy. Elected officials should advocate for justice, not be the strong arm for corporate interests.
What is the role of the president?
As the head of the executive branch the job of the president is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. The president should facilitate the national discussion and be a role model of peace, justice, transparency, compassion and wisdom for the community. The president should bring people together and facilitate the best actions using the widest body of knowledge in the appropriate time frame. The president should provide leadership in times of trouble, listen to the people, and steer the government accordingly.
What issue or issues are so compelling, and able to be addressed only by becoming president, that you feel you must become president to address them? Why is the presidency the best way to do so?
War, global warming, injustice, poverty, and the collapse of ecosystems and local economies are all incredibly important issues. One area where the president has tremendous influence is giving up violence as a policy tool. World peace is continually threatened by American presidents being willing to regularly wage war at times and places where nonviolent methods could serve much better. With my commitment to Green Party principles I am in the best position to take such transformative action. As president I would call for an orderly but immediate and complete withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign nations.
Another important issue is the erosion of constitutional rights by the Real ID Act, Patriot Act, Secret Evidence Act, Military Commissions Act, and similar legislation. I would take immediate steps to repeal these acts and would use my executive power to void a great many of the 'signing statements' and authoritarian Executive Orders that have concentrated far too much power in the hands of the president. It is imperative to return POWER TO THE PEOPLE, which is my campaign theme.
What qualifies a person to be the president?
Thoughtfulness, good judgment, wisdom, a sense of justice, courage and independence from corporate interests. Also a keen awareness of the present precarious existence of life on earth due to a host of environmental threats.
If homelessness can be said to be someone's fault, whose fault is it?
There are many factors at fault, including -- Failure of our government to recognize shelter as a human right -- Failure of elected officials who have taken corporate contributions from the real estate industry and allowed it to drive public policy on economic development and housing -- Failure of the banking industry that supports predatory lending and the subprime mortgage industry
What part, if any, should the federal government play in addressing homelessness?
We can use tax incentives and legislation to expand the construction of affordable, quality, energy-efficient housing. We can also enact legislation requiring renegotiation of unconscionable mortgage agreements to fall within new regulatory standards and repeal the relaxed laws on speculation and predatory lending that led to the current mortgage crisis.
Ten Year Plans to End Homelessness have sprung up around the country. They aim to eliminate homelessness essentially by doing more outreach and providing more services. Can these plans really solve homelessness or do they amount to little more than window-dressing?
Providing housing with supportive services works and is less expensive than any of the alternatives. Homelessness is integral genesis of the housing bubble, and a real commitment to making sure every person has a home would go a long way to preventing future bubbles.
Assaults and other forms of violence against people living outside are on the rise, according to several monitoring organizations. Should attacks on the homeless be recognized as motivated by bias against a person's economic circumstances? Should they be afforded the same penalties as hate crimes committed on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.? How might we curb attacks on the homeless?
Three suggestions: Eliminate poverty and homelessness in our country by enacting policy that supports shelter as a human right and eliminates poverty. Educate young people and all people in this country about civics, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, economics, and especially capitalism. Finally, prosecute all who engage in criminal activity regardless of economic or political standing, including those who live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and who work at the United States Congress.
Have we found an appropriate balance between regulation and laissez-faire capitalism in managing our economy?
No. Three words. Wall St. Collapse. It is clear that the financial status of our country will get worse before it gets better. The Bush-Pelosi-Reid bailout exacerbates the situation because the fundamentals of the economy have not been dealt with in what has been perhaps the most massive transfer of wealth in our modern history. While the money could have gone to people in need and for programs contributing to the public good, and preparing our country for the future, it did not. With the recent takeovers of major lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the bailout of AIG, the U.S. government is now effectively responsible for providing home mortgages and life insurance to tens of millions of Americans. Such control over the financial system by the federal government illustrates that the free market system and the approach to the economy of the Bush administration and past administrations has largely failed. The hands-off brand of capitalism that has been promoted for decades by both Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States is responsible for the financial crises that our economy faces today. My administration would be involved in oversight of Wall Street and the economy well before such financial crises could occur.
Have we found an appropriate balance between individual responsibility and collective security in our economy?
No. See above.
Through war, catastrophe, and recession, we have largely dispensed with new taxes, and even many old taxes, in favor of funding our government's operations through foreign borrowing. Is this a sound model? Under what circumstances must we call for new taxes?
Borrowing to run the government is the Red Queen approach -- the faster we run the behinder we get. There are reasons for borrowing, such as building major infrastructure that will last for many years, but current practices are irresponsible and burden future generations with excessive debt when they need to invest in future infrastructure. I would start by rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the top 1%, to gain 100 billion dollars. A rollback of the entire tax cut would produce 300 billion dollars. That money would be a down payment on balancing the budget or could go to the social programs that help people in distress. I would also remove the corporate welfare loopholes and take the tax break away from corporations that move jobs overseas.
America's response to the events of September 11th was to declare a global war on terror, to overthrow two governments, and to conduct operations in many others. Is the over-arching theory underlying this - that the appropriate response is one of military force - a valid theory?
The military response was not the appropriate response. I support a comprehensive investigation into the events of 9/11, allowing testimony from eyewitnesses whose experience contradicts the "official story."
Outside of the realm of terrorism, but on a similar note, much of America's power in the world is predicated on military might and domination of other countries. Does this seem to you a good or a bad way to interact with the world?
The statement used above seems appropriate to repeat here. Where the president has the most influence is giving up violence as a tool of policy. World peace is seriously threatened by American presidents being willing to regularly use war as a tool at times and places where nonviolent methods could serve much better. The world needs an American president willing to give up war and the war machine. No one else has that opportunity to perform such a transformative action. Peace is not an end product or destination, it is a path that must be followed daily and with heart.
What does it say about America and the American people that we incarcerate more people per capita than any other nation? (751 per 100000)
Today the vestiges of racial discrimination, which began during the days of black race hatred and slavery, are still visible. The Justice Department admits that blacks are more likely than whites to be pulled over by police, imprisoned, and put to death. And, though blacks and whites have about the same rate of drug use, blacks are more likely to be arrested than whites and are more likely to receive longer prison sentences than whites.
What does it mean that 12% of Americans are black but 36% of prisoners are black?
Again, this is the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow and we have yet to honestly address our past and take the actions necessary to change the future.
How are we faring in the War on Drugs? What is our next move in this nearly 40-year campaign against illegal substances?
It is time to end the drug war. We need an end to mandatory minimum drug sentences. We need to end the funding of Plan Colombia and Plan Mexico and other militarized "plans" enacted that fund and support a failed drug policy at home and abroad. We need a budget focused on prevention and treatment.
Why has the USA been so ineffective in addressing climate change? What should the Federal government do?
The control of powerful oil companies over politicians combined with our capacity for denial has created the climate change crisis and prevented us from dealing with the direct consequences such as the threat of extinction of the polar bear in Alaska, diminishing water supplies and the loss of our forests to disease and infestation. The United States can no longer hide its truculence under the mask of weather fluctuations or unclear science. Islands are disappearing; indigenous ways of life are threatened; indeed the world as we know it is at risk if the U.S. continues to do nothing. The nation needs to accept the fact that the environmentalists, scientists and others who have been warning of the effects of climate change were right. The next step is to create the political will to change course. We need to act now to reduce our reliance on "dirty" fuels such as oil, coal and nuclear and increase the use of alternative fuels and conservation.
Subsidies to certain farmers in America and other developed countries artificially deflate the price of grains. This leads to poverty among farmers in developing countries who do not receive subsidies. In what way, if any, should the federal government respond?
Answer still pending.
Should the government support the media? In terms both of public broadcasting and of supporting private organizations.
We should give ample support to a vigorous public radio and TV network, and encourage them to be far bolder in doing investigative reporting without fear of retaliation by cut in funding. Part of their job ought to be to critique of the private media on a regular basis. This public media should also seek out the many voices OUTSIDE the narrow spectrum provided by Democrats and Republicans, giving ample voice to those who can articulate non-traditional viewpoints.
If you were put in control of creating the qualifications to get on the ballot, what would these qualifications be? There is a balance of interests here, between letting candidates run and preventing a situation where there are hundreds of candidates on the ballot.
The rules for granting a party ballot access should be fair and reasonable to encourage candidates to run for office -- not requiring tens of thousands of signatures in a relatively short time, but allowing automatic status from a variety of qualifying events.
Will you or Rosa Clemente be in Washington state during October?
Our schedules are not finalized.
On your website, under campaign platform is listed a draft manifesto created by Reconstruction Party members. Does this or the Green Party platform more accurately represent the aims of a McKinney administration?
You state that you would guarantee that families with a head-of-household working full-time would be above the poverty line. How would this work? That is, would the government supplement their income? Would there be a minimum salary law? Would the minimum salary depend, like the poverty line, on the number of children in a family?
Answer still pending.
Why would reorganizing diplomats into a Department of Peace be preferable to using them for the same means through the State Department?
Renaming the department and sending out emissaries from our country as ambassadors of peace would make it very clear as to what our mission, goals and objectives are.
What would a policy to eliminate racial disparities in criminal justice sentencing look like?
We need money for detoxification, rehabilitation, education -- not incarceration. U.S. prosecution of "the drug war" is pitiful. The victims are thrown into prisons, while the wealthy users and the big drug dealers get off scot-free. The rich who own stock in the prison-industrial complex, or the corporations that hire prison labor, are reaping hefty sums while everyone else is impoverished or families are ripped apart by imprisonment. This situation is intolerable and must be turned around! Young men and women exiting such an unjust system should not be punished for the rest of their lives. They must be integrated into the productive aspects of society.
The manifesto states that "[a]fter the crack cocaine epidemic and what we now know of U.S. government complicity therewith, we want to know if the U.S. government is fighting or fueling the use of drugs in its so-called War on Drugs." Could you be more specific about the government complicity with the crack cocaine epidemic?
The CIA has admitted it was involved in drug-dealing, but no one involved at the highest level of government has been punished. The wealthy and powerful bring in the drugs. Afghanistan today is the leading poppy producer in the world. This is a regime protected by the Bush administration. Congressman Henry Gonzalez's investigations, as well as other research, shows us that the banking system would crumble if all the money laundered through drugs were taken out of the banks.