I am, beyond any doubt, a child of the Sixties. During that time, my childhood beliefs were forever shattered and a far more realistic and somber doctrine took its place.
I was raised in Kansas. There, people firmly believed that two things would always be steadfast; God and Country (always capitalized even in thought). One never bothered oneselves putting much thought into the veracity of either, they were just to be accepted.
A year as a US Marine in Vietnam changed my life forever. I found myself killing and torturing people I had absolutely no anger towards. I learned to what depths a person can fall while rationalizing that they were acting for the greater good even as they saw that there was no good in sight. I found myself forced to the conclusion that this was not my country nor was there any trace of a God in view.
I returned to a world turned upside down. The same nation that had sent its children thousands of miles away to kill strangers was now killing those whose personal beliefs exposed the evils of that war. Those who were supposed to be protecting our children were beating them and reviling and damning them with their every breath. Those who I had been told would protect and provide for us were only harming and hating us. Those whom we trusted were lying to us and have never ceased.
I saw the world that these outcasts were striving for and I agreed that it was the best of all possible worlds. It was one of peace and cooperation and common sense between all. It was a place where the most powerful proudly cared for and knelt to raise the lowest. It was a place where decency and kindness were the rule rather than the exception. It was a place where one knew when one had enough material wealth.
Sadly, I watched as more and more of the children of my generation turned their faces away from what is admirable and equitable about America and humanity and, instead, shed their beads and compassion for three piece suits and the greed and spite and selfishness that has infected America ever since we lost the Reagan Revolution and the false Morning in America became our long national nightmare.
My heroes were Jack and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King and Ghandi, all honorable men who, though flawed, still searched for a better society, a more caring world. All of them died at the hands of evil, sick little animals who detested anyone who possessed a soul.
It has been over thirty years since America could finally claim that there was, again, a choice in our future. It has been nearly two generations since we could once again see a flickering light in the distance, a light which brightens the darkest recesses of our national soul, places long thought by Republicans and Democrats alike as safely hidden from public view.
That light is Ralph Nader. No, Iím not engaging in any low form of hero worship. I have long ago acknowledged that we all have, in our hearts and souls, some faults and errors to atone for.
I see him only for exactly what he is; the last honest, intelligent, compassionate and thoughtful person in Americaís nearly empty public arena. What I see in Ralph Nader is a man dedicated to making this a safer, cleaner, more just world for all of us. I see a man who, as Michael Moore said, would awaken each day wondering how he could make this a better nation for tomorrow. I see, quite frankly, possibly our last best hope to alter the destructive and detestable direction that the Republicans and Democrats and their owners in Corporate America have inflicted upon this nation and world. I doubt that I will live to see another Ralph Nader nor do I believe that the Conservative Media and the Republicrat Party will ever again allow someone as honest and forthright as Nader to appear in the public eye.
We have, dear friends and gentle readers, an enormous responsibility to our children and their children to fight with all our being to force this nation to stop drooling in front of their TVs every night and to heed the distant call for justice and fairness from those few of us who havenít yet allowed our minds to be molded by Beavis and Butthead (aka Gore and Bush - Heh heh! Heh heh! The Oval Office is cool!Ē). We must speak loudly and with pride to all who will listen, informing them that there is a better way to live, a better future for our children.
We must not be deterred from that goal by those who are controlled by fear or alarm. Those who insult or ignore our course are of little enlightenment and should be treated as such, with pity and sympathy. We must proudly proclaim to all doubters that we are not going to waste our vote again. Instead, we will cast it for hope towards a brighter future. We will cast it for the best of all worlds instead of the lesser of two evils. We will cast it for Ralph Nader and all candidates running on the Green platform this November.
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