Last week, as I reported here - but most media ignored - Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who'll appear on 85 percent of ballots on Election Day, was arrested while attempting to get into the presidential debates.
Police detained her for hours for simply practicing her First Amendement rights.
Well, she apparently wasn't real happy about being arrested. Today, just hours ago, she filed a lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), claiming that the CPD, Democratic National Committee, Republican National Committee, Federal Election Commission and Lynn University had deprived her of her constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, and free speech.
The lawsuit sought both an emergency court order enjoining tonight's CPD presidential debate from taking place, as well monetary damages.
"Our constitution is supposed to protect us against manipulations of democracy of the kind scheduled tonight, and I hope the court will act now to stop this farce, but either way, we will keep up the fight, and one of these days American elections and our debates will be reclaimed by the American people," said Stein in the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Free & Equal, a non-partisan civic organization, is hosting an alternative debate hosted by Larry King tomorrow featuring Stein, Gov. Gary Johnson (libertarian) and others. No major cable networks are carrying it. Americans can only see it on Al Jazeera and Russia Today.
"It shouldn't be the case that the only TV networks bringing this debate to theAmerican people are based in countries whose political systems are even less democratic than our own," says Ben Manski, Stein's campaign manager. "The failure of CNN, MSNBC, and others to broadcast the debate only adds to the global perception that the United States doesn't live up to the democratic standards it professes."
Several petitions calling for more open debates have also been posted on Change.org, which I wrote about this recently for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. And more than 14,000 people have signed a statement calling on the CPD to change its criteria.
Obviously it's too late for tonight's debate. But I frankly don't expect anything will change in the long-term, either. Debates should be more open. That's true democracy. More voices should be heard. It seems a no-brainer.