Both saw that holding political office largely depended on how much money you have, which in turn enabled injustices to be fashioned into law and public policy. Outraged and angry, they decided to stand up and take action.
"When people ask me 'what kind of medicine are you practicing?' I usually say, 'I'm practicing political medicine because it's the mother of all illnesses,'" Stein tells Bill. Flowers adds: "Once you start speaking truth to power and standing up for the right things, it's very empowering."
Stein and Flowers serve as the president and secretary of health, respectively, for the Green Shadow Cabinet, an organization offering alternative policies to the "dysfunctional government in Washington, DC."
This week, Bill talks with them about their personal journeys fighting for policy change — including arrests for acts of civil disobedience — and the pressing challenges they're focusing on, such as the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
Interview Producer: Julia Conley. Associate Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Rob Kuhns.
In 2002, Stein ran on the Green-Rainbow Party ticket to be governor of Massachusetts, an election ultimately won by Mitt Romney. In 2003, she co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. Stein represented the Green-Rainbow Party again in 2004 when she ran for State Representative, and in 2006 in her campaign for Secretary of State. In the 2006 race, Stein won over 350,000 votes — the most ever for a Green-Rainbow candidate in Massachusetts.
In 2008, Stein advocated for a "Secure a Green Future" ballot initiative that called for moving the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy, and prioritizing the development of green jobs. The initiative won 81 percent of the vote in the districts that included it on the ballot.
Stein's presidential campaign focused largely on moving towards a green economy, which she argued would provide the American economy with 16 million new jobs while making the environment cleaner and safer. She currently serves as president of the Green Shadow Cabinet, an organization of nearly 100 prominent scientists, community and labor leaders, physicians, cultural workers, veterans, and more, and provides an ongoing opposition and alternative voice to the dysfunctional government in Washington D.C.
Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and from Harvard Medical School.
Flowers served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program during the 2009-2010 national health reform process. She organized briefings, lobby days and testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in June, 2009 and before the National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in June, 2010. She is currently a spokesperson for PNHP and an adviser to the board. She is on the board of Healthcare-Now. She was co-founder of the Mobilization for Health Care Reform. Flowers serves on the coordinating committee of the Health Care is a Human Right Campaign-Maryland and is Secretary of Health on the Green Shadow Cabinet, an organization of nearly 100 prominent scientists, community and labor leaders, physicians, cultural workers, veterans, and more, and provides an ongoing opposition and alternative voice to the dysfunctional government in Washington D.C.
Flowers views the struggle for health care as part of a broader social, economic and environmental justice movement. She joined Kevin Zeese in March, 2011 as co-director of ItsOurEconomy.us in order to educate, organize and mobilize around social and economic justice issues and democratization of the economy to reduce the wealth divide. She served on the steering committee of October2011.org which organized the Occupation of Washington, DC on Freedom Plaza and continues to report on and help organize events around the country through PopularResistance.org. She co-hosts,Clearing the FOG radio which airs on We Act Radio, 1480 AM and is published regularly in TruthOut, Alternet and AlJazeera English. She has appeared in local, national and international media. Her twitter is @MFlowers8.