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I Still Say Run Ralph, Run!

Got some interesting comments and reactions to my post the other day on Ralph Nader (Progressives (ought to) Love Ralph Nader). One email essentially said:

Sorry, I disdain his run. I admire his consumer advocacy and agree with much of what he says. But I want him to stay the f**k out of national elections…I noticed that several Republicans were also pleased about it…Who does he help?”

I understand the sentiment and I know where it comes from: A deep revulsion from seven years of Bush. Who could find fault with that? And I know many on the Left blame Nader for 2000 (incorrectly, but that’s for another time – although they seem to forget that Ralph ran in 2004 with no impact whatsoever).

But I still strongly support Nader’s candidacy, and not because I want him to win anything. It’s because without him there will be no mention of the major contemporary progressive causes that only he will raise. I heard him on NPR and we got real issues in a public forum for 30 minutes. We know what happens after the primaries are over – Democrats pull to the “center” and drop the working class hero rhetoric. We’ll be back to media stories about “fuzzy math” and “flip-flops” – coverage for three year olds.

As for who Ralph “helps” – I understand this sentiment too. No, he won’t be helpful to the Democrats, and I suppose this is a reasonable concern. But who he helps is clear: He helps my kids whose teeth and bones are blasted with Strontium 90 from the nuclear plant downwind (no Dem is talking about the nuclear energy danger); he helps my family members who are going bust fighting a medical condition (no Dem is talking Universal Health Care); he helps all of us who pay taxes for the astronomical military budget/corporate welfare state (no Dem dares to talk about military spending); he helps all of us by insisting that Bush/Cheney get brought up on legitimate charges under impeachment proceedings (again, no Dem is calling for impeachment)…I could go on. And on.

I’m also surprised at the criticism Ralph gets for being selfish, egotistical, or for not being pushed by the media. I’ve had friends who say “where’s he been? I never see him on cable news” as if he can just call up Rupert Murdoch and demand to be interviewed. It’s not as if he’s decided to stay away; they essentially shut him out, which is not suprising since he is the most eloquent and effect spokesperson against runaway, unchecked corporate power we’ve got. The only time he gets mentioned are these moments when he enters the race. And often the coverage is about his “egocentricity” for daring to run, or how he will impact the horse race. The disdain for the man is really bizzare. But let’s face it, this happens to anyone who rocks the boat. My favorite quote in all literature:

A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

When the history of our times gets written Ralph Nader will stand tall, which is what always happens after the great agitators have gone. In the meantime, as I’ve written elsewhere on this blog, I’ll be supporting Obama. I say let Ralph raise his issues and keep them in the public debate. Then go vote for a Democrat.

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February 28, 2008   |  Filed Under Political   |    Permalink


1 wbblack { 02.29.08 at 11:02 am }

I have a couple questions for all you “progressive Democrats and Nader haters.” How can you be for “democracy” and against Ralph Nader or anyone who wants to run for public office? Isn’t that what “democracy” is all about. Nader has integrity and a worthwhile message. The Democrat party is bought and paid for by the same people who own the Republican party. Who owns you? Are you a party hack or a citizen who believes in “democracy?”

People in this country supposedly have a right to choose who their conscience and politics compel them to vote for. What we really need is None of the Above on all ballots. I’ll lay odds that would increase election participation dramatically, and I bet None would win a lot of elections.

2 Eric { 02.29.08 at 11:37 am }

Here here brother. Well said. And I don’t think President None could do any worse than what we’ve recently had….

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