Unity in Diversity
The slogan of the Unity Party is "Not left, not right, but forward." This echoes the words of Petra Kelly, a co-founder of Germany's Green Party, who said that "Greens are neither left nor right -- we are in front."
I was a Green Party candidate for state representative in 1996, and for Congress five times from 2010 through 2018. I was inspired by the values that the Green Party claimed to represent: including nonviolence, ecology, social justice, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, grassroots democracy, and decentralization. I learned from experience that the Green Party doesn't live up to these values.
In 2020, I brought "Green Values" into my Unity Party candidacy for Colorado's Second Congressional District.
In 2022, I stand as the Unity Party of Colorado's candidate for Secretary of State. My candidacy has also been endorsed by the Jefferson County Green Party. This is the last remaining active chapter of the original Green Party of Colorado.
The slogan "Unity in Diversity" has been used by a variety of religious and political groups as an expression of harmony and celebration of multiculturalism based on an understanding that our differences enrich human interactions.
India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, advocated "Unity in Diversity."
The preamble of South Africa's constitution of 1996 incorporates the term "Unity in Diversity" as a central tenet of post-apartheid South Africa.
The European Union adopted the phrase "United in Diversity" as its official motto in 2000.
President Nelson Mandela, the leader of post-apartheid South Africa, said: "Bridge the chasm, use tolerance and compassion, be inclusive, not exclusive, build dignity and pride, encourage freedom of expression, to create a civil society for unity and peace." Mandela also said: "It is necessary to heal the wounds of the past if you are going to build your country and to have unity."
We live in a nation that was built on a foundation of slavery, genocide, and racism.
Seventy-three percent of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were slave holders. The US Constitution was voted on by 38 wealthy white men. The majority of them were slave holders.
Under the original terms of the Constitution, ninety-four percent of the population was denied the right to representation. Eighteen percent of the population was enslaved.
The United States has made progress by ending chattel slavery and segregation, and by expanding voting rights. However, the United States still has an archaic political system that was designed by eighteenth century slave holders to shut people out from participation, while preserving the concentration of political power in the hands of the wealthy elite.
Thomas Jefferson argued that future generations could not be bound by the systems designed by our "barbarous ancestors." He proposed that every generation should write its own constitution, once every nineteen years. I would say a new constitutional convention should be held at least once every twenty years.
Our system of government should be redesigned to be as inclusive and representative as possible, not as exclusionary as possible. The US Senate and the Electoral College should be abolished. These relics of slavery violate the principle of equal voting rights for people. Representation is for people, not for "the imaginary beings called states."
Better voting methods should be implemented to secure fair representation for a politically diverse population.
Political authority should be decentralized in the hands of state and federal legislators who are elected by an open party list system of proportional representation.
As the second US President, John Adams, said about Congress: "It should be in miniature, an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason, and act like them."
My 2022 Campaign Message
Campaign Pitch at the 2022 Unity Party State Assembly
Hi. My name is Gary Swing. I was a Unity Party candidate for Colorado’s Second Congressional District in 2020. I was also the secretary of the Unity Party of Colorado for about a year.
In the late 1990s, I was a National Advisory Board member for the Center for Voting and Democracy, which is now called FairVote.
From 1995 through 1997, I was the Vice Chairman of the Colorado Coalition for Fair and Open Elections. That was a coalition of alternative political parties that lobbied the Colorado state legislature for ballot access reform legislation. It included representatives from the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Taxpayers Party, the Reform Party, the Natural Law Party, the Prohibition Party, Labor Party Advocates, and Concerns of People.
In 1995, we successfully lobbied for a bill to reduce the number of petition signatures needed for independent candidates to qualify for the ballot in Colorado.
In 1997, we lobbied for a second bill. It established a process for minor parties to nominate candidates by assembly for all partisan offices in Colorado. The Unity Party is operating under that law today.
In 2003, I testified in favor of another bill that regulates minor party nominations. Under that law, any candidate who receives at least thirty percent of the vote at a minor party assembly qualifies for a primary ballot, or for the general election if only one candidate qualifies for a given office. Every minor party in Colorado except for the Green Party has operated under this law since 2004.
I offer to stand as a Unity Party candidate for Secretary of State if party members would like me to do so.
The duties of the Secretary of State include verifying petition signatures on citizen initiatives, recording campaign finance reports, the licensing of businesses and non-profit organizations, and the licensing of notary publics.
As a candidate for Secretary of State, I would advocate for alternative voting systems to secure fair representation for a politically diverse population.
Electing the Colorado state legislature by proportional representation would create a multi-party system in which each party would win seats in proportion to their share of the vote. If the Unity Party wins five percent of the vote, it would win five percent of the seats. Ninety-four countries use some form of proportional representation to elect their national legislatures.
I support greatly reducing the number of petition signatures required for citizen initiatives and for candidates who petition onto the ballot in Colorado. I would also propose to give independent candidates the option of paying a reasonable filing fee as an alternative to petitioning for ballot access. This could range from a $50 filing fee for county offices to a $500 filing fee for statewide offices, and the current filing fee of $1,000 for presidential tickets. I support online petitioning as an alternative to circulating paper petitions for candidates and citizen initiatives.
Year after year, Democratic and Republican Party politicians look for new ways to exclude people from participating in the political process. I would rather have a system that is more open and democratic; a system that provides better representation for a politically diverse population.
In 2019, Democratic Party state legislators enacted a broad package of miscellaneous changes to state election laws. Secretary of State Jena Griswold helped draft that legislation. This bill included a vast increase in the number of petition signatures required for independent candidates and candidates from new parties to qualify for the ballot in Colorado. I testified against the independent candidate suppression section of this bill as a representative of the Unity Party. My friend Jesse Kumin from the group Best Democracy also testified against the new restrictions on independent candidates. Representatives from the Approval Voting Party and the Libertarian Party lobbied against new ballot access restrictions as well.
At the national level, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has been an outspoken advocate for Congressional House Resolution 1, which is known as the "For the People Act." Among other things, this package of federal election law changes would effectively eliminate federal campaign financing for third party and independent candidates for president. It would also enable wealthy campaign donors to circumvent campaign contribution limits by allowing them to funnel large campaign donations through national political party committees. These political party committees would be permitted to contribute up to $100 million to presidential candidate campaigns. Currently, national party committee contributions to presidential candidates are limited to $5,000.