October 24, 2010 by wcobserver
By Susan McCarthy
He likens himself to the little boy in a story book who stood along a cobblestone road waiting for the Emperor and his entourage to parade by to show off the Emperor’s new clothing. In the story, the little boy was the only one to tell the Emperor the truth; he wasn’t wearing anything at all.
John Gray of Greenland is running for U.S. Senate on the Green party ticket and he’ll be the first to tell you that his ideas for putting America back on a fast track will definitely turn some heads. His ideas aren’t conventional and might be considered controversial, but he’s passionate about every one of them.
Gray grew up in Morrilton, Arkansas. He’s an outdoor enthusiast with four grandchildren. He has a master’s degree in Physics and went from designing systems to detonating atomic bombs to being an anti- nuclear activist. He has served as Greenland’s mayor for the past four years. He has no formal political endorsements. And he knows that the person most likely to win the U.S. Senate race has a lot more money in the race than he does.
“I’m realistic to know the person with the biggest money will win. But I can always fantasize that the American electoral system is not dead…that people’s votes matter….where a common citizen can be heard.”
He says America needs to rebuild its manufacturing base, reduce military spending, overhaul health care, and repeal corporate personhood. Gray says he favors small farmers and small business and is a strong supporter of unions.
“A lot of people will say I hate America, but I love this country,” he says. “We can do so much better than we are doing.”
Gray says he’d like to see the United States bow out of the World Trade Association and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and rebuild a manufacturing base in America.
“I’d like to see a period of 10 years where if it’s not made in America, it isn’t sold in America,” said Gray. “I’m for the rebuilding of factories that have been lost to immediately put Americans back to work.”
He says he’d like to hit a “national reset button” returning to post WWII times where there was “safe food, employment, and the largest middle class this country has ever seen.”
“By definition, we’re a third world country,” said Gray, explaining that our country has gone from importing raw materials to exporting raw materials, from exporting finished goods to importing finished goods and from the greatest lender in the world to a country with more debt than any other country in history.
Gray is also for cutting military spending significantly to free up money to raise the payouts on social security, improve medical care, and lower the qualifying age for Medicare from 62 to 55, provide free education to qualified college students and rebuild infrastructure.
“We spend more money than all the countries put together on military issues. Fifty nine percent of all our (country’s) money goes to military issues one way or the other,” He said the U.S. could cut their military budget in half and it would still be bigger than the next ten largest countries and he says he’s basing these figures on data that’s five years old.
He feels similarly about health care; he says Americans spend more for health care than any other nation and yet “get less.”
“I see no reason for the insurance industries.”
“I think it’s totally insane to connect your health insurance to your job,” Gray said. “Every other industrialized nation has some form of national health care…where it is considered a right.
Gray stepped forward to run for the senate seat after the Green party asked him to run on their party’s ticket; up until then he says he was an active Democrat. He says he was tapped to dispel the Green party’s image of “latte drinking, sandal wearing, pot smoking, tree-hugging hippies” with his business experience and more corporate look.
“I’ve been fighting free trade for over 10 years and this was the first opportunity to have a pulpit to do something about it,” said Gray who says he experienced first-hand the transfer of jobs from America to Mexico.
He said while he never expected to win the seat, he said momentum has built around his campaign because, “I’m not the other guy.”
And what if he were to win? Gray said he’d call together senators he respects and say, “I’m here for one term only. I’m here to do all the things that will kill all of your careers….point me to what needs to be done and say ‘I want to do it.’”
Gray will have to beat incumbent Blanche Lincoln (D) and senatorial candidates John Boozman (R) and Trevor Drown (I) to win Arkansas’ senate seat on Nov. 2.
“I don’t need another job, another career or a million dollars. It’s something I feel I need to do.”