South Carolina’s US Senate race is a media extravaganza. Jim DeMint, the radical right Republican incumbent and tea partier and Alvin Greene, a mysterious Democrat and action figure enthusiast are joined by Tom Clements, a peace and environmental activist. Newcomer Clements is the Green Party nominee and a life-long activist involved with vital public interest issues affecting South Carolina, the United States and the world. Clements excels in political research and advocacy.
DeMint, a former paper salesman and ad executive, is the hero of the far right. Media is drawn to the enigmatic Greene, giving him more coverage than any candidate in America according to the Pew Research Center. DeMint is the most ultra-conservative Senator in Congress. Greene would stimulate the economy by selling action figures of himself. But Clements’ record of public service and activism gives him the credibility to be a Senator for all the people.
I don’t know Jim DeMint or Alvin Greene personally. I do know Tom Clements. The candidates should have debates on critical issues such as war and peace, jobs with a living wage, economic and social justice, climate change, clean green energy, conservation of natural resources, health care, education, immigration reform, regulation of the finance industry and the national debt. The media has let us know plenty about DeMint and Greene. South Carolinians need to see and hear Tom Clements on these issues and understand why he will be a great senator.
The State in Columbia, SC reported that Clements has worked for Greenpeace International for 13 years. He has challenged leaders on nuclear issues in Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Europe. In South Carolina Clements led the environmental organization’s nuclear weapons watchdog efforts on operations at the Savannah River Site (SRS).
South Carolina has the most nuclear industry activity per capita of any state. This includes making nuclear weapons and electric power generation. Clements has led efforts to clean up deadly radioactive waste at the “bomb plant” aka SRS. He led the organizing of our demonstrations there which drew positive media coverage. Tom opposes bringing more nuclear waste to South Carolina and advocates a clean energy park at SRS that would help develop offshore wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable technologies and would create new jobs in our economy.
Clements led the fight in South Carolina against rate increases for utilities whose plans for costly nuclear reactor projects will force consumers to pay a decade in advance, and divert resources from developing energy efficiency and sustainable, non-polluting alternatives.
Clements has been recognized for his work as the Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth, and received the Grassroots Activist of the Year award from the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
Working with Greenpeace International and as Director of the Nuclear Control Institute, Clements interacted with official representatives of other countries, at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and at embassies in Washington, D.C. and abroad. He was a human rights activist in Central and South America, is fluent in Spanish and served in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. He also worked for Peace Brigades International in Colombia, verifying human rights violations by the army, and paramilitary and guerrilla forces.
Clements says DeMint works for corporate interests rather than the people of South Carolina. “Jim DeMint is obviously more concerned about raising money for questionable radical candidates in other states than he is about listening to the people of South Carolina,” said Clements. “DeMint is AWOL and needs to come home and join in the discussion about who the people will choose to represent them.”
Clements contends that “military madness is killing our people, undermining our economy, and threatening our security. Costly and misguided military adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan and expensive military bases around the globe continue to severely undermine our economy and threaten to bankrupt us financially and spiritually.” “The military budget for the Pentagon and other agencies comes close to $900 billion. Including costs for expenses incurred by past military spending, the tab comes to a whopping $1.4 trillion, or 48% of the budget. We now see the highest military spending in the past 60 years with over $1 trillion having been spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.”
South Carolina can do better than Jim DeMint and his radical right agenda. It is time to turn away from our legacy of militarism, racism and fundamentalism.
We have the highest ratio of military personnel and civilians working for the military to non military related people of any state. The military brings big bucks to our economy. Much of our media glorifies and romanticizes war even more than the national media. The Christian Coalition was founded in South Carolina and Lee Atwater brought fundamentalists from their revival tents into the "big tent" of the Republican Party.
The three bumper stickers on my car say "War is Terrorism, With a Bigger Budget" and "Peace on Earth" with “Tom Clements for US Senate” in the middle.
Tom Clements wants to end war and make peace. Find out more about him. I support Tom, a green partier who works for peace and social justice.
Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is http://tomandjudyonablog.blogspot.com