The Peace Candidate

Photo by Tenaya HillsTom Lash is the founder of the Coastal Convergence Society, an activist group in Huntington Beach. He claims he'll defeat Dana Rohrabacher in November to become the first member of the Green Party elected to Congress.

OC Weekly:Do you seriously think you have any chance of winning?Tom Lash:Of course, I think I am going to win. Most sane people will choose me. I am not the obvious choice for a representative because of my background or experience, but because mine is a genuine and authentic message. It is a message of truth. We are in dire straits in this country. We have an administration that has invaded and now occupies two sovereign nations that did not attack or invade us. We need a representative that is not beholden to corporate interests. I do not see any other candidate out there speaking out against this war or willing to be a watchdog against the corporations that have polluted our political process. Yes, I will be the first Green elected to congress. What are your qualifications?

What does one need to be a representative? You must be 25 years old, a citizen for at least five years and live in the state in which you will be a representative. What makes me different from other candidates is the party that supports me. The main difference between the Green party and the other two major parties is the understanding that corporate money has ruined the political process, and therefore the Greens reject all corporate money or influence.

What is the central issue behind your campaign?

The central issue of the campaign is peace. We cannot have peace because we are addicted to war. We cannot kick the war habit because 1 percent of the population benefits from this global corporate fascism. The theme for the campaign is Unity, Prosperity and Freedom. Americans must unify in order for the majority to have prosperity. Without prosperity, one cannot be truly free. Currently, we are spending our wealth on war. If we were to restrict military spending to defense only, we would be able to have health care, education, a safe and healthy environment, and world peace. The question becomes “Why would you not want to vote for me?”

Isn't your campaign a bit quixotic, given the tiny fraction of Greens registered in your district and that district's history of sending right-wing Republicans to D.C.?

At one time, it was quixotic to think women would someday wear pants, or that slavery would end, or that the earth was not the center of the universe. I know my message is one that people are ready to hear. It is a civilized message. It is a simple, sane and sensible message. It is really not quixotic at all. Universal health care is enjoyed by every other democracy on earth—why does it seem quixotic to think it is time the United States did the civilized thing concerning health coverage for its citizens? Not all will take me seriously. Not all took Rosa Parks seriously, and who would have thought the actions of one woman would lead to a revolution in consciousness in the South—where I grew up?

Does Rohrabacher have any vulnerabilities as a candidate? What are they, and how do you plan to exploit them?

What a militaristic way to look at a campaign. I have neither identified nor will I seek my opponent's vulnerabilities. I have the same number of minutes in my day as anyone else. I have to be selective where I spend my energy. . . . To spend it in this way is not healthy. I may miss out on an opportunity to harm an opponent (and thus benefit by that harm done) by not concentrating on their vulnerability, and I will take responsibility for that.

I'm sorry, but didn't you just send out an e-mail with the photo of Rohrabacher in Taliban attire that our paper recently published—with the caption “Is your representative a terrorist?”

Yes, I did forward that e-mail because I thought it was information that was important for folks to know. If I had not forwarded it, I would have been withholding information for no good reason. If I point out these facts, am I exploiting a vulnerability in my political opponent? I guess I am, but that is not my intention. If the intention is to notify people of a matter of importance, then that is a noble intention.

If your intention is to harm, then you have brought malice with forethought, and that is not a noble intention. So it is best never to trust me and to hold me to my stated intention. This is good. Our form of government is not built on trust. It is built on suspicion of authority. Trust your God or your mother—but certainly not your representatives or your president.

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