The League of Women Voters has un-invited the only mayoral candidate whose ‘sustainability’ voice speaks to the future of our children and grandchildren; the only voice committed to nurturing Earth, and all of us who live on her; the only voice reminding us that Mother Nature neither negotiates nor compromises; the only voice, adamant and confrontive when truth demands, full of feminine compassion. One would think that such voice would resonate with both, the League of Women Voters and with the Louisville Women’s Coalition (which also denied participation of independent mayoral candidate Jackie Green) * . Women, who for generations fought for the vote and a voice, are now denying the only voice in this mayoral race that speaks to the greater women’s issues. This should serve as a warning to any minority group trying to be heard.
Having invited Jackie Green to participate with Fischer and Leet at 7:00 pm on the 16th of October in the mayoral debate (carried by WAVE TV and WFPL), the League is now insisting that he show up at 8:15 pm for a lesser (untelevised, no live radio broadcast) debate.
Jackie Green remains adamantly opposed to the debate change. Segregating the candidates results in damage to open discussion. It assures important issues, such as sustainability, will be lost or green-washed. It bows to the domination of the public sphere by two polarized parties, guaranteeing future “Kavanaugh circuses”. It bows to the domination of the public sphere by two parties determined to jointly stay in control of that sphere.
This new debate format is an exercise in media censorship. Censorship OF the media, whether by government, by business interests, by influential individuals or by powerful groups, is universally condemned in open societies. Media agreeing to the debate format change is censorship BY the media. Too often media censors elections by treating the election as a horse race, calling from the sidelines, giving odds. Media often censors in failing to take an in depth examination of issues and nuances. Much of media, with business interests of its own, censors when candidate positions run counter to advertiser concerns. Media censors when candidate campaigns are unconventional. Media censors when it sensationalizes. Media censors when it does not like the message, bristling at the truth spoken. And media censors when it participates in shutting out important messages and voices.
When media censors elections, elections descend to popularity contests, to tribal expressions (Dems vs Reps), to fundraising contests, to a resignation to a two party system, to photo-op contests, to a poverty of ideas, to fashion contests, to a narrowing of options (current and future),and to a violation of democracy.
Louisville’s future, the world’s future, is at stake in local elections. Let us hope that local media will demand all candidates be allowed to fully participate.
* The Louisville Women’s Coalition (LWC) denied Jackie Green’s request to participate in the forum at the University Club in September. LWC then denied the request that some middle ground be found: a non-mic’ed chair in the corner of the podium, an invitation as special guest,…. Then, when Jackie Green showed up at the forum anyhow, he was told he could not enter beyond the foyer and informed that the doors would be locked as soon as the program began. He stepped outside and spoke there with Courier Journal and WAVE TV reporters.