Tag Archives: Scranton

What I Learned from Spending One Day w/ the Green Party

green party pic

Monday evening I attended the first meeting of the Lackawanna County Green Party. I’m not a registered Green Party member and am still part of the Young Democrats of Lackawanna County. However, after last night’s meeting, I sincerely am rethinking my political affiliation…

I have been learning about the Green Party only over the past month. I became interested when Jill Stein started showing increased polling and saw mainstream political articles sternly lecturing Bernie supporters that they better not support Stein. I did believe that Stein could hurt our country by aiding Trump by basically taking votes away from Clinton. This is a valid fear, however the mainstream media extremely exaggerates it. CNN, MSNBC, Politico, The Hill, WP, and NYT all have had some type of article where they demonized Bernie supporters who may be thinking of not supporting Clinton. In my opinion, this is a pretty shitty way of getting Bernie supporters to back the establishment that we have been fighting against.

So ANYWAYS. Monday night: I was at the Green Party meeting and Mr. Carl Romanelli spoke about his experience over the past 16 years as a Green Party member in NEPA and his run for US Senate in 2006. He spoke about the Green Party’s history which started in Germany in the 80s and spread throughout Europe. He also spoke about the Green Party’s history in NEPA and some of their accomplishments in the area, such as making the 7 Tubs in Luzerne County a public area.

I also met Jay Sweeney from Falls Township who is running for PA State Rep for the 112th District. Sweeney also has been active in the Green Party for the past 16 years and graciously gave me a copy of “The Green Pages”, the National Newspaper for the Green Party, which I wasn’t even aware of.

There were a lot of good take-aways from the meeting. Romanelli compared political parties to religion in the idea that almost everyone is born into one, but only through self-reflection and research can someone find the best fit. I see this a lot in some of my friends. They were raised a certain way, and to think differently, or attempt to explore different viewpoints is sacrilegious. Something else that Romanelli said which resonated with me was “America doesn’t so much need new ideas or pure hearts- we just need a new way of looking at things”. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I think a real change of perception, and a close examination of American values are crucial to our country’s fate of being the “land of the free”. A friend of mine, Alex Lotorto, explained the Green Party as the party that puts all social movements on the ballot.  I’ve been saying recently that I wish there was a “Progressive” party, and I think I found that affiliation last night.

green party group pic

look at these threatening people…

After the meeting I took a petition to get Jill Stein on the ballot in November in PA, and walked to a local bar to participate in their weekly trivia night. I thought this would be a good opportunity to gather signatures since this bar gets pretty busy. The first person I asked questioned me a lot, and asked me why I would try to get Stein on the ballot since it might help Trump. My response, which is my conviction, is that I really want to vote FOR someone, not AGAINST someone. I also want headway for the Green Party. WE NEED A THIRD PARTY. Things aren’t black and white. I’m fed up with establishment politics and am ready for a real change. I explained this in so many words.

Then I approached another friend who refused to sign it, saying that it would help Trump. I tried explaining that I see this effort as a way of gaining recognition for the Green Party, but she still didn’t want to sign. She said this was the first time she stood up for something, so I get it and respect her, and anyone else’s, refusal.

After an hour and a half into the night, I asked the woman next to me if she wouldn’t mind signing. This was a mistake. If I ever saw distinct party lines, it was within this conversation. She first accused me of not knowing what I was talking about, and that the Sanders’ campaign doesn’t teach its supporters how to answer questions. NOTE: She didn’t ask me any questions- this accusation was the first thing she said to me. I told her I respected her opinion and was happy to listen to her. She then continued to lecture me on not voting for Clinton because I should be supporting our first women president. This is an argument that I have a real issue with (ironically enough, I was asking for her help to get another WOMAN presidential candidate on the ballot) and deserves a blog post of its own. I can understand where this feeling comes from, but I can’t stand behind someone who I don’t believe in. This woman continued to question my intelligence and belittle me, and then reduced the Green Party to just a pro-marijuana group. I was happy to get out of the conversation as soon as possible.

This is the issue though. People are afraid of the unknown. America has had a two party system forever, adding a third (or a fourth! or a fifth!)  is a hard concept for people to swallow. But this is the route we need to go. Issues aren’t black and white, and our parties are as polarized as ever. There isn’t room right now within our political system for a revolution, which I believe is what we need. Our elected officials don’t live in the same reality of their constituents. There needs to be a change, and I believe supporting third party candidates is a good place to start. I haven’t changed my party affiliation yet, but the more and more backlash I get from within the Democratic Party makes me very tempted to do so. As someone who cares about real issues, not the surface value entertainment the media dishes up as news, the Green Party’s platform carries real weight.

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How to identify heroin usage

After seeing a post about Narcan in Philly schools I thought I should write this blog post. Narcan is basically the antidote for heroin overdosages. If someone is in the state of overdosing, Narcan can block the opiates from continuing damage and can save their lives immediately. I know a few local social service agencies in Scranton now have this miracle drug, along with Scranton PD, at their disposal incase it warrants use. Now schools in Philadelphia are allowed to have their stock of it, which is sad that it is needed, but wonderful that they have access to it.

Northeastern PA has a long history with heroin, and it’s rare that I meet someone who hasn’t had a friend or family member haunted by the drug. I personally have lost a very close friend from a heroin overdose, and have seen lots of people I know lose years of their lives because they’ve been addicted to heroin or in jail.

heroin packet

The heroin in NEPA comes in little stamped wax packets like these here.

I’ve battled with writing this post for a while, but I think it’s needed. I hope no one is upset with me writing this and I’m just going to keep it as short as possible. What is listed here is how I can identify is someone is on heroin:

Some signs of someone on heroin:

  1. Pinned pupils. This means the blacks of their eyes will be small, even if they are in a dark room.
  2. Lower tone of voice when they speak. I don’t know how to describe this in words, but people on heroin often have a low, heavy speaking voice. Also slower speech patterns.
  3. Itchiness, especially an itchy nose.
  4. Slow, heavier breathing.
  5.  “Nodding out”- literally watching someone’s head nod down and stay there, like they’re asleep.
  6. Being overly tired, falling asleep basically everywhere.
  7. Money, jewelry, electronics, dvds, cds, etc. missing.

I know it’s hard to accept that a loved one is possibly addicted to heroin or any drug. But please remember, just because someone is addicted to heroin (or anything) does not make them a bad person. They are not intentionally trying to hurt you or anyone. Heroin rots the mind and personalities. People turn into someone they never thought they could be, and its really scary to see. So if you know someone who you suspect is on heroin, the best thing to do is:

  1. Try to help them get into a treatment center, even if just to detox. Wilkes-Barre General Hospital has a heroin detox.
  2. Contact a local agency to ask for help with dealing with the person. Try best to get them into an inpatient treatment center. Some treatment centers:
    1. Clearbrook– Wilkes-Barre PA
    2. Choices– Kingston, PA
    3. Marworth– Waverly, PA
  3. Get yourself some help. Addiction messes up everyone’s lives, not just the lives of the user. Al-Anon has many NEPA chapters.

 

I hope this is helpful. I hope that if you know someone struggling with addiction that they get the help they need.

 

 

 

 

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