Witten by Monica Obradovic
Green Party Missouri Senate candidate Jo Crain warned Webster students of a harsh future at Webster College Democrat’s third party U.S. Senate Forum Oct. 9.
Crain said at the forum that third parties rectified U.S. politics. The dominant Republican and Democrat parties, according to Crain, lacked vision for the future, especially in areas concerning student debt and the environment.
President of Webster College Democrats John Wallis put together the forum so third party candidates for Missouri’s senate could talk to the community.
“Third party candidates don’t usually have a voice, so what we wanted to do was have a forum where all the third party candidates of the senate could come together,” Wallis said.
Less than fifteen students went to the forum. Crain looked at the small group of students from speech and government clubs and sighed.
“Our kids don’t have a future,” Crain said. “Our kids can’t marry, they can’t have a house, they can’t have kids, all because of crushing debt.”
Crain told the forum audience about her grandson who passed away. Her grandson, who Crain said “did all the right things,” graduated from Vanderbilt University and Chicago Law School.
After graduation, Crain said her grandson worked at a large company in New York where he worked 80 to 100 hours a week and carried with him a large sum of student debt.
Crain talked about the student debt crisis and its effects on students.
“When my grandson died, he had over $100,000 in debt,” Crain said. “He felt like an indentured servant to that company.”
According to Forbes Magazine, student debt climbed to $1.5 trillion in 2018.
“It’s unacceptable,” Crain said. “There is nobody talking about how awful this is except for independents and myself. This has got to stop, we’ve got to have some people who can speak out and be heard about things like this.”
Webster student Karla Toutlian said change in the government should not happen by adding third parties. Toutlian said Congress should instead look to diversify.
“I don’t believe in third party votes because it’s a waste of time,” Toutlian said. “I feel it would help if there were more diversity in government, so it wouldn’t be just white men talking, all cultures would have a voice.”
Toutlian majored in political science before she transferred to Webster for Sports Communication. Toutlian’s father raised her as a Republican. As a result, Toutlian said the people should change, not the system.
Crain converted to the green party after disappointment with former President Barack Obama’s administration. The green party, according to their website, are nonviolent resisters who advocate for social justice and the environment.
Crain said Democrats and Republicans do not do enough to protect the planet.
She said current events, such as the Kavanaugh trial, distract people from Congress’ unwillingness to pass policy for climate change.
“All that is a distraction to keep you from the fact that our planet is going to be unlivable in 20 to 30 years,” Crain said. “We will not be able to grow food. Our oceans will not grow fish.”
Crain emphasized the importance of electing candidates willing to act for the future of the country, not just for the betterment of their party.
“I’m so sick that we’re not hearing any kind of vision from our politicians,” Crain said. “There’s no courage up on Capitol Hill. They’ve got pockets deep with all the lobbyist money, but they ain’t got a backbone. It’s amazing they can get up in the morning.”
Crain called out younger generations to be carriers of change for the future government.
Wallis said college students need to be more proactive when it comes to politics.
“We’re trying to get more people involved, but it’s hard because sometimes people just don’t want to,” Wallis said.“I think having these kind of events shows them that it’s really important to hear different ideas.”
Freshman political science major Sarah Hill said the forum gave her a new perspective.
“I think it was a great example of how people can sit down and have simple conversations about things that matter,” Hill said. “It wasn’t a huge debate. There were no attacks or nasty campaigning.”
Crain planned to run against against incumbent Claire McCaskill and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley for senate in the general election on Nov. 6.
Crain said she aimed to create a diverse government after she saw protests from public outrage like Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter.
“There’s a hunger out there for a more inclusive democracy,” Crain said. “Bernie [Sanders] said, ‘Together we are strong, together we can change the world.’ We have to close off the opportunity for visions to tear us apart and look more for the options for us to come together.”