Cynthia McKinney: Too Green

Complete Score: 16 / 42 = 38%

My view of Cynthia McKinney was weakened considerably as her campaign has unraveled. One of the big, big qualities a good president must have is strong leadership with the ability to work with others and compromise when necessary. There is nothing wrong with sticking to your beliefs, but politics requires compromise, otherwise you are dictating your beliefs rather than listening to all affected parties. Recently, Cynthia McKinney was invited to a debate but turned down the request because Ralph Nader was involved in organizing the debate. She did offer an alternative, an online debate hosted by Trevor Lyman, but was not able to convince any of the other candidates to join her. This unwillingness or perhaps inability to work well with others is a poor trait for a presidential candidate, especially at a time when the United States of America desperately needs a leader to unite everyone and get us working together rather than fighting each other.

Value

Throughout our nation’s history, figures have stood up against popular sentiment and fought for their beliefs, sometimes failing miserably and other times succeeding greatly. Though many people might mock these people on the fringe who offer up alternatives to the mainstream view, these people add a tremendous value to our country and its diversity of thought. On numerous occasions Cynthia McKinney has proclaimed an opinion that is simply not popular and faced heavy criticism for it. Yet, Cynthia did not shy away from this criticism but instead continue fighting and believing. These traits our crucial to our democracy, as opposing viewpoints fuel our progress.

For instance in 1991, Cynthia spoke out against the Gulf War, causing many legislators to walk out on her in protest. Imagine if you gave a presentation at your workplace and the majority of the attendees simply walked out on you. Would you be able to go back to work the next day, head held high? It’s a difficult situation, but one that Cynthia embraced. Some of Cynthia’s stances are controversial, like her claim that George W. Bush knew of the 9/11 attacks beforehand, yet Cynthia’s point that the Bush family was heavily invested and involved with defense and construction companies that benefited financially from the attacks and subsequent wars is valid. For her willingness to put her public reputation on the line to raise attention to important issues that other politicians are scared to address, Cynthia deserves acknowledgment.

Score: 3 / 5

Cynthia McKinney with supporters
Cynthia McKinney with supporters

Photo credit to Ajay Tallam.

Quality

Though having public leaders who are willing to be ostracized for their views is important to our democracy, being a leader requires being able to listen to many viewpoints and unite people from various segments of society. On this point Cynthia has failed miserably. Over and over, Cynthia has shown that her personal feelings affect her public stances and that she is not capable of restraint. Making unpopular statements because they are true and must be heard is one thing, but simply yelling for the sake of yelling is another.

For instance, recently Cynthia turned down an offer an invitation for a third party debate because its organizers were closely tied to Ralph Nader. Now, though Cynthia has a very valid point that perhaps the events organizers were too closely tied to Nader and not impartial enough, her unwillingness to provide an alternative or to work with the third parties to ensure an impartial debate committee shows that she is incapable of leading and uniting people. Leadership is not above commanding others, but rather it is about finding common ground and using compromises to lead towards a common good. Rather than showing leadership qualities, she comes off as a slightly crazy and selfish.

Score: 1 / 5

Innovation

During an interview with a CBS TV station, Cynthia McKinney made a statement as she was leaving the interview area but while she was still hooked up to a CBS microphone. She said that one of her political aides, Coz Carson, was a fool. Realizing that the CBS crew most likely captured what she said, she came back in front of the TV camera and said “Anything that is captured by your audio that is captured while I’m not seated in this chair, is off the record and is not permissible to be used. Is that understood?”. Her remarks and instructions were then aired on CBS across the nation. Unfortunately for Cynthia, declaring that only certain remarks in certain positions can be used does not work but it sure as hell is innovative!

Cynthia also advocated an online only debate between herself and the other third party candidates, which would have been innovative if she had been able to get any other candidates to participate. She has also joined with three of the other third party candidates to support four basic principles:

  1. And wars in Iraq and other countries.
  2. Repeal Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act and FISA and safeguard privacy.
  3. Pay down the national debt.
  4. End the Federal Reserve.

Cynthia should be commended for uniting with some of the other third parties on these four principles and thus giving some cohesion to the third party movement.

Score: 2 / 5

Cynthia McKinney marching in D.C.
Cynthia McKinney marching in D.C.

Photo credit to jeffreylowy.

Social Benefit

Though the above four principles would greatly benefit American society, as would many of the Green party platforms, Cynthia’s abrasive personality hurt the movement as a whole and ostracizes her from the political process. Though she is to be commended for her beliefs and for standing strongly behind them, by making negative remarks about others and making wild accusations she hurts the movement as a whole be making other politicians scared to work with her. At this point, Cynthia has become too abrasive and proven incapable of working with others. Her platform would benefit society but in order to enact that platform one needs to be elected and at this point Cynthia stands little chance of doing so.

Score: 2 / 5

Freestyle!

At times I’ve considered voting for McKinney, but her actions of late condemning the third party debates, while offering no true alternative prove to me she is not capable of being a true national leader. I respect Cynthia for taking tough stances and making controversial statements that she knows will hurt her public reputation but in the end she does not have the capability to compromise, unite and lead that a good president needs. In the end, Cynthia McKinney is simply too green (inexperienced) to lead.

Score: 8 / 22

You can read more about Cynthia McKinney at McKinney2008.

Complete Score: 16 / 42 = 38%

4 thoughts on “Cynthia McKinney: Too Green”

  1. Unfortunately the author has the facts wrong about the debates.

    The online debate was offered by Trevor Lyman (not she/McKinney) and was done so long before the physically located debate.

    The two physically located debates were done with unrealistically SHORT NOTICE.

    Cynthia McKinney had made commitments such as this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGdy3s7npdY
    She was consoling a family while a loved one was being executed. She offered to appear remotely but her offer was rejected.

  2. Thanks for the correction Green, but my overall point still stands, McKinney ostracized herself from the other third party candidates who debated each other that night, and a few more times since then. Sure, prior commitments are important but so is knowing how to prioritize and make last minute adjustments.

    It’s admirable that Cynthia was consoling a family that was going through hard times, but in the end voters got to see the other candidates debate while wondering where Cynthia was. I don’t want to knock here for helping the family, but at the same time a president would be asked to help a lot of people and sometimes you simply have to say no.

    Honestly, the Nader campaign and theses debates are not the most well organized events either but the facts remain, Nader, Baldwin and Barr debated each other while Cynthia stood alone.

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