(The following interview was originally published in CounterPunch.)
“Let us hope that the inevitable first woman [United States] president is a person distinguished by a profound understanding of the world and genuine human compassion, rather than by relentless personal ambition.” So writes Diana Johnstone in her brilliant new study Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton (CounterPunch Books, 2015) . Last week, two days after Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton fought to a virtual tie in the Iowa Caucus and six days Sanders trounced Hillary in New Hampshire, I sat down in Iowa City to chat by phone with a person who matches Johnstone’s notion of what she’d like to see in a first female U.S. president. I spoke to Dr. Jill Stein, who ran for the White House as the Green Party’s candidate in 2012 and who will in all likelihood do so again in 2016.
“From Clinical Medicine to Political Medicine”
Dr. Stein is a Harvard Medical School graduate who witnessed firsthand the terrible impacts of what she calls “predatory capitalism” on ordinary working and middle class children and families during her years as a physician. Learning that pollution produced by corporate greed was the major “underlying driver” behind many of the expanding illnesses (especially asthma, diabetes, cancer, and learning disabilities) she was confronting on an individual basis, she became a leading environmental and public health policy expert and advocate. “You can help people one at a time,” Stein realized, “while whole populations get thrown over the cliff.” She turned “from clinical medicine to political medicine” after realizing that “the road to health was profoundly obstructed by the hijack of our political system by oligarchy and corporate power.”