Clifton Roberts and The Humane Party of the United States
I first became aware of the US Humane Party after seeing a video from the Onion Knight on YouTube. The host has asked other vegans to raise awareness about the Humane Party and explain why they would or would not vote for them.
As a Canadian, I won’t be voting in the US election. But I do think this is a very important issue in a critical election, so I’ll be sharing my views on the Humane Party and its candidate, Clifton Roberts.
Firstly, if you’re not familiar with the Humane Party, here are the core pillars of the Party’s platform:
- Rights for all animals — not just the human kind,
- Full realization of an ecosystem-neutral, sustainably prosperous economy
- Running and electing only candidates who have committed to humane values both personally and politically
- All of the Humane parties’ candidates and leaders are vegan.
Humane Party Candidates
Clifton Roberts, and executive from Intel, is the Humane Party’s nominee for president. Roberts is a vegan who staunchly supports animal rights and to bringing awareness to veganism is a political issue.
Breeze Harper, who has a PhD in Social Science and degrees from a number of prestigious universities, including Harvard and Dartmouth. Harper’s work experience is in the area of diversity and inclusion, and she brings a great deal of that knowledge to the campaign.
Roberts is not a single issue candidate – which is part of the problem
The first criticism many will make of the Humane Party is that they are a single issue party. That is definitely not the case. They have clearly laid out a series of policy proposals on a number of important issues.
Unfortunately, some of these are extremely poorly thought out, in my view. The Humane Party believes in banning all GMOs.. Moreover, in an interview Clifton Roberts indicated he would include synthetic insulin in this ban. This attitude is both poorly informed and ableist.
Roberts argues that people with diabetes should eat a plant-based diet and “research vaccines” – whatever that means. Unfortunately, while a plant-based diet helps people with diabetes, it can’t cure type 1 diabetes. Unlike Type 2 diabetes, which is often triggered by poor diet and controllable with proper nutrition, Type 1 Diabetes is an often genetic, chronic condition. It disturbs me that someone like Roberts doesn’t know (or care?) about this. And I am also concerned about the vaccine comment, as vegans don’t need such a public figure lumping vegans together with the anti-vaxxers.
My view on Banning GMOs:
I see the Humane Party’s position on GMOs as based on fear of the unknown,
Practically every food you buy for consumption by humans is genetically modified. Wild seedless watermelons don’t exist. We’ve modified all foods ever since cultivation.
We call this process artificial selection: we modify the biology of the world to suit our needs all the time. I have no problem with this unless it violates other beings’ right to life.
Preserving Democracy is Paramount
I’m enough of a utilitarian I believe in choosing the lesser of two evils (though I don’t believe Hillary is “evil”). The humane party isn’t going to win. Jill Stein isn’t going to win. And Hitler rose to power thanks to a third-party.
People can talk about Abraham Lincoln all they want, but the Republican party rose from the ashes of the Whigs (one of largest parties previously), so I don’t think it’s a legitimate argument. We haven’t had an election in my lifetime where the outcome could be so serious.
I’d like to clarify that while I don’t support the Humane Party at this time, I do think they are a good sign of things to come. Hopefully over the next four years, they will work to gain legitimacy through more thoughtful policy decisions and better publicity. Roberts has said he will run again in four years, and I hope that at that time he will have matured as a candidate.
What Should Vegans Do?
It’s a shame that more vegans haven’t taken Bernie Sanders’ advice to heart and become more involved in politics at the local level. Animal rights is not something that can be imposed from the highest office in the country. It needs to be a grassroots effort, and if vegans want to make changes they MUST become involved in local politics.
But getting down to brass tacks, maybe for you having the perfect candidate is essential. I know many people feel voting their conscience is paramount. But after this evening’s debate, in which Donald Trump refused to commit to accepting the will of the American people, my conscience tells me the most important issue in this election is preserving democracy and avoid having a crazy person running the country.