Consider Ralph Nader for President

Iíve been painfully trying to make the choice of who I should support in this upcoming Presidential election. I have pondered over and over, should I support Bure or Gosh, Bore or Gush, Tumbleweed or the 2 X 4, the anti-everything that is good and decent in America or the sell-out to Corporate America and to the Rabid Rightís disgraceful agenda? Iíve been forced into the realization that, quite frankly, they are both without a clue as to what America needs and without a soul since what little they may have once had now resides in the pockets of their co-owners in Corporate America and those wealthy enough to hide in their gated and guarded communities.

My complete inability to chose Tumbleweed needs no explanation. This C average bozo (and that was in the time of grade inflation, remember) who so delights in murdering real human beings whether they are guilty or not and who gleefully and openly has sold himself to the wealthy and those in the executive suites and who probably would be just another smirking half-wit divorce attorney on late night television if he didnít have his equally inane fatherís money connections to get him the jobs he remains completely unqualified for.

Gore has become just another politician (is there any greater insult?). He sees no irony in back slapping union leaders and pledging to do everything in his power to protect the American worker and their families and then running back to the White House to lobby for Most Favored Nation status for Communist China (donít hear it referred to by that name much anymore, do we?). He has abandoned just about every ideal that once made the Democratic Party the party of the people. His constant and tired rhetoric about saving Social Security by forcing Americans to gamble their futures on Wall Street, where the only people who will see any profits will be the already wealthy and the stock brokers who will be charging tens of millions of Americans to buy what the wealthy no longer want places him on the same sad level as Tumbleweed as being political garbage. He and the entire Democratic Party has completely abandoned the poor and the disabled and the children and the homeless and every other American who is incapable of buying the best representation that the government offers. The facade of his that he is somehow "Green" has been shattered over and over, leaving our children the mess that Corporate America so loves to leave behind.

To continue to expound on the infinite weaknesses of these two moral and ethical losers is, to take a page from Tumbleweedís favorite nocturnal pastimes, beating a dead horse. Neither has any qualifications that would lead me to even consider supporting them for any position higher than the squeegee guy on every downtown corner who spits on your windshield, wipes it with a dirty rag and then demands a dollar. The only difference between the two is Goreís inability to appear human like and Tumbleweedís constant moronic sneering.

Okay, assuming I will continue my unbroken streak of voting in every election since 1972, who does that leave? Well, thereís that nasty old Hitler apologist and anti-immigrant and anti-woman and anti-Right to Choose and anti-gay and anti-feminist and anti-, well you know who Iím talking about by now. Pat Buchanan holds the distinction of being the only candidate out there who is actually of a lower moral and ethical character than the other two bozos. Pat Buchanan wants to bring America kicking and screaming into the 1930ís of Germany. Nope, it wonít be him.

Iíve kept hearing about Ralph Nader and his candidacy for President with the Green Party. While I have the utmost respect for this man, I remember his dismal attempt during the elections of 1992 and1996 in which he basically refused to even appear to run a campaign. I donít want to put my faith in him a second time if the end result will only be a repeat of the first.

Well, gentle readers, having read many of his interviews, in particular the one he did with Robert Kuttner in The American Prospect, and having visited the web site created to further his claim as a legitimate candidate for the nationís highest office, I find I must admit that he looks better and better.

I know that third party candidates have a snowballís chance at being elected. Going all the way back to Teddy Rooseveltís run on the Bull Moose ticket up to John Andersonís 1980 run and Ross Perotís cameo appearance on the third party stage, third party candidates have seldom come close to the ultimate prize. This, however, is where Ralph Nader differs.

Naderís, apparent, main objective is to force the issues that are paramount for real Americans back to center stage. As he has said, third parties have been the early supporters of the most important issues in our history, from anti-slavery to social justice to a womanís right to vote to Civil Rights and on and on, it has been the outsiders who have forced the so-called "insiders" to take stands for or against these questions, stands that have often destroyed the political careers of those who took the wrong side.

By creating a forum in which the media must eventually acknowledge the differences between the little that Democans and Republicrats offer and the message that Nader forces to the table, a higher level of debate and education is being produced.

Letís get specific, shall we? I immediately confess to taking large chunks of the following directly from Naderís web site and his book, The Concord Principles, written by Mr. Nader in 1992.

First, and I believe foremost, "Democracy must empower and enable citizens to obtain timely and accurate information from their government, enable citizens to band together in civic associations in pursuit of a just society, and communicate their judgments through modern technology."

Boy, does that all sound familiar?!? The entire statement is founded on those simple words, "timely and accurate information". That is and will remain impossible as long as the media is controlled so completely by so few mega-corporations, all co-owners of our government and politicians. They will never allow "timely and accurate information" to be easily available as long as that information doesnít further their greed and lust for power.

The next principle set forth by Mr. Nader continues the call for free and open debate. he states that "The American people should have reasonable control over the public lands, public airwaves, pension funds, and other societal assets which the public legally owns, rather than having these public assets controlled by a powerful few."

Again, the absolute need for a free and informative media which educates the citizens is the most important of all. Without that free flow of information, weíll end up with, well, weíll end up with Tumbleweed and the 2 X 4, time after time.

Third, he states that "We need modern mechanisms so that civic power for self-government and self-reliance can correct the often converging power imbalance of Big Business and Big Government that weakens the rights of citizens."

In other words, gentle readers, it must be the citizens of this nation that control Big Business and Big Government and not, as it is now, the reverse.

He goes on to champion easier voting registration, state level initiatives and 12 year term limits. He calls for the removal of legal mumbo-jumbo from legislation in order that ordinary citizens can understand our nationís laws and, thus, will no longer be kept from understanding them and using them to challenge waste, fraud and governmental abuse. He offers the idea that all government forms and information be available through the Internet and accessible both at home and at the nationís libraries. He proposes that all cable/TV/radio airwaves that are leased free to the conservative media be required to provide an "Audience Network" which would inform, alert, and mobilize democratic citizen debate and initiatives.

A very important objective would be to provide "effective legal protections for ethical whistleblowers who alert Americans to abuses or hazards to health and safety in the workplace, or contaminate the environment, or defraud citizens. Such conscientious workers need rights to ensure they will not be fired or demoted for speaking out within the corporations, the government, or in other bureaucracies."

The most important revelations about the governmentís and Corporate Americaís many abuses to our safety and our freedoms have come from the brave men and women who risk all to inform the public of the dangers that are being foisted upon us. Their efforts to ensure the free flow of necessary information must be protected from Corporate Americaís punitive measures to keep their dirty little secrets away from the publicís notice.

Again, an important facet of his principles would be that "[w]orking people need a reasonable measure of control over how their pension monies are invested, ... ."

Having, as I am fortunate to do, a pension fund which is controlled by a board with strong worker representation, I have, nevertheless, watched as political vultures have attempted time and again to steal those hard earned pension funds for strictly political purposes. Every pension plan, including Social Security, should have the same strong worker protections that I and my fellow employees enjoy and, sadly, too often take for granted.

He goes on and proclaims that the true owners of Corporate America, the shareholders, should have the importance of their proxy votes protected by law and that the salaries and bonuses and greenmail and golden parachutes and the like be subject to acceptance by those shareholders rather than through the "good old boy" network of interchangeable and self-perpetrating boards of directors.

Finally, and by far most importantly, he states that, "Our countryís schoolchildren need to be taught democratic principles in their historic context and present relevance, with practical civics experiences to develop their citizen skills and a desire to use them, and so they will be nurtured to serve as a major reservoir of future democracy."

For just these ten reasons, I believe that Ralph Nader is the only current hope for a return to a nation controlled by its citizens. Yet there are still many other reasons to support this manís efforts in this election.

In his statement announcing his candidacy, he reminds us that "Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and William Douglas, among others, eloquently warned about what Thomas Jefferson called Ďthe excesses of the monied interestsí dominating people and their governments."

Ralph Nader has testified before Congress on the massive damages that Corporate Welfare imposes on America and its citizens. He has addressed the insanity of the push to privatize Social Security and has harshly opposed corporate sponsorship of political debates such as those sponsored by Anheuser-Busch and scheduled for this fall. He reminds us that in 1992, AT&T, Atlantic Richfield, Ford Motor Company, IBM, J.P. Morgan & Co., and Philip Morris Companies, Inc. sponsored those debates and in 1996 Anheuser-Busch, Lucent Technologies, Philip Morris Companies, Inc. Sara Lee Corporation and Sprint Corporation were involved.

He exposes the Commission on Presidential Debates as the cover for excluding other candidates that it is. He shows how its solicitation of millions of dollars from the coffers of Corporate America betrays the "Commissionís" true efforts at stifling debate by only allowing the two major party candidates to be included, removing any possibility of real answers to our nationís problems, answers that wouldnít be acceptable to Corporate America.

Gentle readers, how you vote is between you and your conscience. Personally, I feel that the infinitesimal power of my one vote must be offered to the only candidate who offers real, long-term and citizen centered solutions to our out of control government. Only Ralph Nader offers any hope for our future and only he presents any ray of optimism that the nation that we leave for our children will be theirs to run and no longer Corporate Americaís plaything and puppet.

If you would like to learn even more about the campaign of Ralph Nader, please visit his site. You can sign up for e-mail updates as well as volunteer for whatever level of participation you feel comfortable with. Itís an interesting and informative site and one I would recommend to everyone, even those who already have made up their minds as to whom to endorse and vote for this fall.

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Copyright 6/25/00