Hi, everyone! My name is Jo Ann Greenberg and I live in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City with my husband Bob Hill. I'm a retired veterinarian – that was my second career after getting a master's degree in chemistry and working in a research lab for a few years after grad school. I owned a small animal practice in Brooklyn, NY for 18 years before moving back to KC where I grew up. Since retirement, I have been teaching myself to bake – I collect cookbooks (mostly from estate sales) and am trying to branch out in other forms of cooking.
My official title with the Green Party of Kansas City Missouri is Prospect Intake Coordinator, which means that I'm tasked with data entry and helping to keep the contact records current. This suits me, because after so many years of working with the public, I am embracing my inner introvert and working solo for the most part. The great thing about our little group is that there's something for everyone to do, no matter where your interests and talents are.
I've been voting Green since 2008, but just joined the party a couple of years ago after becoming disillusioned with the Democrats. I volunteered for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020; we all know how those campaigns ended, and that sealed my disgust with both parties. I initially threw my name into the volunteer list because I wanted to work for a party that actually reflected the values of its members, not the values of its donors and the entrenched old guard. I was tired of lip service being given to humanistic values, while turning a blind eye to the very real problems facing our country and the world. Blue vs. Red is fine for high school sports, but it doesn't work as well for actually achieving political change. Despite what the party cheerleaders and name-callers would have us believe, there's not much difference between the sides. Both major parties are warmongers; both of them focus on the needs of the wealthy to the detriment of the rest of us; both of them manipulate the media to present a distorted world view and rile up their members against the other side. So much time is wasted on vilifying the other "team" and so little attention is being paid to finding solutions to the difficulties that most of us are facing. It's easy to see this in practice – just look at any type of social media and it's full of posts railing against the bad guys on the other side and picking out buzzwords to laugh at. There's very little actual attempt at problem-solving. I am distressed by this and so I work for a party that is truly concerned about people's day-to-day quality of life.
My pet issues are health care, economic justice, and animal welfare, but there are so many problems to address: climate, energy use/misuse, war and violence, the prison-industrial complex – and too many others to mention. None of this is being targeted by the major parties and never will be, because it's in the interest of the elites to maintain the status quo.
In an ideal world, cooperation would take the place of greed and competition. We'd see a multitude of small businesses, run by individuals who are passionate about what they do. Everyone would have a home, enough to eat, an opportunity to be educated in whatever area they want, the ability to take care of their bodies and minds, and the chance to reach a healthy old age – all without going into excruciating debt.
In my own profession, I see the encroachment of large corporations on small local businesses. I loved having my own tiny practice and kept it small on purpose; I knew all my clients and spent plenty of time with them while still making a living, providing employment for several workers, and having enough time to live my life outside of work. But my clinic eventually became surrounded by larger corporate veterinary hospitals, making it difficult if not impossible to compete. One huge corporation (Mars Inc) now owns virtually all the large veterinary hospitals and specialty/emergency facilities, as well as most of the companies selling medications/supplies, the pet food companies, and the clinical labs. This isn't good for anyone. And when you add in crushing educational debt (not unique to this field, by the way), you're faced with untenable conditions for anyone who wants to carve out a life for themselves without being boxed in by the demands of Big Business. (I worked for a corporate practice for a year after moving back here, and the micromanagement was intolerable – hence my current retired status.)
I realize that we as Green Party members are faced with a Sisyphean task – it's not easy going up against the well-funded, well-publicized Democrats and Republicans (aka the Uniparty), but I know that it's crucial to keep trying. All I (or any of us) can do is to work on our own little corner of the world and do our best to improve it. And that's basically what I'm setting out to do. See you at the next meeting!
Jo Ann Greenberg, Kansas City, MO
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