Those Wacky Greens
Chuck Haga, Star Tribune
June 29, 2004 GREEN0629
MILWAUKEE -- At the Green Party national convention here on Saturday, state delegations paraded to floor microphones to announce their votes for a presidential nominee, and it was just like listening to the Republicans and Democrats.
Major-party convention halls usually ring with unabashed pride and self-promotion as vote announcers remind everyone that "the great state of [fill-in-the-blank]" is home to this sainted man or that unparalleled mountain range.
At the Greens' convention, though, the spin was a little different. Delegates were told, for example, that "the great state of Indiana" extends "from the shores of polluted Lake Michigan in the north to the clear-cut banks of the Ohio River in the south, with many other sins in between."
Before casting its votes, New York trumpeted itself as "home of Wall Street and unbridled corporate greed."
And the great state of Minnesota? It is, delegate Kellie Burriss of Minneapolis intoned, "the land of 10,000 lakes and the Boundary Waters -- as well as the home of the Prairie Island nuclear power plant."
The reference to nuclear power drew a chorus of boos from the Greens, but that changed to loud, sustained cheers when Burriss read out the state's votes, which included "one vote for Eugene Debs," cast by delegate Wade Hannon of Moorhead, a teacher and counselor.
Debs, who died in 1926, was a fierce critic of the established order and five-time Socialist Party candidate for president. In 1908, he stumped the nation on a train dubbed the Red Special. In 1920, he campaigned from a federal prison cell after being convicted under espionage laws for speaking against World War I.
When the convention chairman repeated Minnesota's vote totals, ending with "one vote for Eugene Debs," the hall erupted with cheers again.