From police violence to the media's coverage of her campaign, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein addressed a wide range of topics during a rally in Chicago Thursday evening.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein rejected criticism of her party's political platform in a wide-ranging campaign speech in Chicago Thursday evening.
Rallying with her supporters at the Preston Bradley Center in Chicago's Uptown community, Stein pushed back on the Washington Post editorial board for recently calling her candidacy a "fairy tale."
"Let me say that there is nothing fairy tale about justice," Stein said. "The Washington Post may not understand justice. That is not a fairy tale. One of the things they just couldn't get their minds around is this idea that we can actually solve the climate crisis at the same time that we solve the economic crisis."
Stein detailed her party's proposal for a "Green New Deal" aimed at addressing poverty, unemployment and environmental devastation by putting people to work on environmentally sustainable and renewable energy projects.
"This is not rocket science. This is something we've already done when we created a New Deal to get out of the Great Depression. Well, we have an ongoing depression, recession, whatever you want to call it. We have an economic emergency, and we have a climate emergency. They must be solved together. We call for an emergency jobs program to create 20 million good-wage jobs."
Stein went on to blast the news media more generally and accuse them of writing off her campaign.
"I hear this probably five times a day from the media. This is, like, the central question: What could you possibly be thinking? Why are you doing this? How can you dare to challenge business as usual?" Stein said. "To which I say, and who are these pundits and these media talking heads that are telling the American people to just be good little boys and girls and take our marching orders from the politicians in the Democratic and Republican Party, who are telling us we don't dare stand up and cast a vote for ourselves, for our future."
Stein argued that this presidential election is not a binary choice between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
"We say to them, 'Forget the lesser evil. Fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it, because they do,'" she stressed.
Stein's running mate Ajamu Baraka echoed similar sentiments.
"We say very clearly, you've got to live a principled life. You can't vote your fear," he told the crowd. "We have to question: When do we draw the line and start building popular power?"
Police brutality was another focus of Stein's speech. She brought up the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handling of the case.
Chicagoans, Stein said, have "been so courageous in standing up to [police violence and] saying not only did Chicago need a new chief of police, Chicago needs a new mayor. Because it was inexcusable that the murder of Laquan McDonald was covered up for a year until that video was released."
The city's suppression of the dashcam video showing 17-year-old McDonald being shot 16 times by police officer Jason Van Dyke was "absolutely unjustifiable, immoral and inexcusable," Stein said.
"We call for change in Chicago, starting at the top -- where responsibility ultimately lies for that crisis and the ongoing crisis of not only police violence, but violence on the streets of Chicago," she said.
Mount Prospect resident Jessica Unger was at Thursday's rally. She's a former Bernie Sanders supporter who is now backing the Green Party presidential ticket.
"I think that this is the next logical choice," she said of supporting Stein in the general election, adding that she particularly likes the Green Party's positions on foreign policy and education.
Unger also addressed concerns among some that the election could swing to Trump if enough voters opt for Stein over Clinton.
"I understand what they're saying," she said, "but if we get one or the other that we don't respect or want in office, we're not getting what we wanted in the first place. So I would rather vote for somebody that I support and believe in and 'throw my vote away' than throw it away -- literally -- by giving it to somebody that I don't want."