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Web Letter

I believe you meant "Nader's Stubborn Egotism," right?

Donna de la Perriere

Oakland, CA

Nov 5 2008 - 2:27am

Web Letter

Help! I need advice from my fellow progressives. The election is six days away, and I am still extremely conflicted about whom I will be pulling the lever for. I voted for Dennis Kucinich in the primaries, because I felt that he was the candidate whose ideas best reflected my own. As a 27-year-old African-American, I cannot deny that the idea of a black man becoming the next president of the United States is inspiring, but that is simply not enough for me. I love Obama's apparent thirst for change and I can overlook our differences on certain issues--like his support for the FISA bill, the war in Afghanistan and even the death penalty, but it is his narrow-minded approach to the conflict between Israel and Palestine that I find most disturbing. In some ways I feel like a vote for him would be like voting for a George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. Sure, many people love and respect them, they are admired and revered by most Americans, but as a black woman I see them only as men who supported and participated in the maintenance of American slavery and apartheid, the same kind of apartheid that currently exists in Palestine. For some time now I have been leaning toward a vote for Nader or McKinney, but I do have a certain level of anxiety about the prospects of my vote contributing to success for McCain/Palin. Do I send a message by supporting a progressive third-party candidate, or do I vote for Obama with the hope that an Obama presidency will be easier to pull closer to the left than a McCain presidency? Help Help Help.

Khalia S. Kweli

New York, NY

Oct 29 2008 - 9:43pm

Web Letter

Since when is <i>idealism</i> a nasty interference and since when is <i>ugliness</i> of war preferred by voters who claim the <i>ugly</i> rule of two-party power against a majority?

Nader is due the proper <i>vote</i> by <i>everyone who wants to elect Nader</i>, and then we'll see how different America will be, when the majority rules against the "elite/ugly" people who want increased warfare and red ink!

America the Beautiful is with Nader's ideals as <i>proper</i> in the voters' viewscope. People who are finding out the contrast between what Nader offers and what the others are offering are choosing Nader. <i>But</i> still to come before election day is the <i>belief</i> that your vote will be the same as the others, the vote for proper ideals in place with the success backed by the people.

When Nader was young, his ideals were indeed backed by the Senate. He sued General Motors and the Senate found GM had preferred the attempt to discredit instead of answering the charges with honest rebuttal, and standing on the merits as they should have.

A young woman confessed to me, at Alewife Career Source where I was job-hunting but also doing some volunteer activism--posting the electoral college on the web and trying to still promote the <i>obvious</i> reality that Nader can win--the two parties do not control the electoral college, nor the individual voter's choice, there are <i>six</i> on the ballot, and ideals backed by a success track certainly is years of earning the right to win, handily. The young woman looked somewhat apologetic, but still, it seemed to me, she doubted, she said, "My grandfather was an investigator for GM, but he couldn't find anything." Gee whiz. At the time I was not sarcastic, I simply said, "Of course not, Nader is totally sincere and top-notch. GM owed the proper legal defense, trying to pick on the accuser as if they are the problem is hardly honest, and that is why GM had to apologize to Nader while he was working in the Senate on auto safety.

Well, if ugly is more worth the two-party voters' duopoly, there is still a majority of 100 million voters outside who are registered non-partisan, and they are not obliged to either party, they do not owe any votes except to the <i>best</i>, and ideals do have a place outside the warmongers' parties, and for policies on track to put the budget on track.

I am an independent in Massachusetts, as are a majority of registered voters. Democrats and Republicans <i>combined</i> are 49 percent. So who can and <i>may</i> take Massachusetts? <i>Nader</i>. Maybe even that young woman will vote for Nader, she knew she was skeptical of me, but there was nothing to fault in what I was doing either. I am not Ralph Nader, but I do know standing up for proper democracy is utterly required more now than ever before.

A vote for Nader is <i>for Nader</i> and not for the <i>bums</i> in office!

Elizabeth Owens Ellis

Cambridge, MA

Oct 29 2008 - 1:03pm

Web Letter

I'm glad to see that Greider, like Nader, refuses to give up.

In 1992 I was so taken with Greiders' book Who Will Tell the People? that I ran for Congress as an independent. That was a story about participating in the political process, not about winning elections. It is about expressing one's political will.

It has been a long time since elections were anything more than football games in which everyone wants to be on the winning team. "The hypocrisy of liberals" ia not that they have sold out their values to get a seat on the fifty-yard line of the winning team. Rather, it is that they have abandoned the concept that their most deeply-held political beliefs have value unless "their guy" wins.

Every election season I am reminded of Norman Rockwell's painting Freedom of Speech. This has never been a statement about winning. It has always been a statement about standing up for what you believe in--particularly if that belief is unpopular with your like-minded friends.

The next time someone tells you that you're "throwing your vote away" by standing up for your beliefs, give them a pat on the head, and tell them that Ralph Nader still believes in their dreams. Even if they have forgotten how to stand up and articulate them. I do too.

Grady Price Blount

Corpus Christi, TX

Oct 28 2008 - 9:32pm

Web Letter

Thank you, Mr. Greider, for this balanced article on Ralph Nader's candidacy. I look forward to your articles weekly. I have voted once again for Mr. Nader, this time as an act of appreciation for his keeping the Progressive agenda as visible as possible in an environment of horse- race election coverage by reporters who have little experience in life and its realities.

I believe that Ralph's refusal to retire has kept alive many of the important progressive ideas that are working, however slowly, to redefine the platforms adopted by the two major parties. The energy that has been tapped by Obama to first defeat the Clintons and the DLC wing and to now challenge a well-funded corporate dictatorship has come from the very constituency that Ralph Nader has encouraged with his message.

Were it not for the stranglehold maintained by the two major parties on electoral processes, were Ralph Nader able to participate equally in campaign coverage and debates, I have no doubt that most of the votes going to Obama, and some of those of the other candidates, would go to Ralph Nader. We would all be talking daily about single-payer universal healthcare, jobs with living wages, and free higher education for all. Ralph Nader has my thanks for his enduring fight and my vote for as long as he wants to promote the ideas that are important to America and me!

Kevin Tansey

Eugene, OR

Oct 28 2008 - 6:09pm

Web Letter

Mr. Quarterman's letter is predicated on a series of hypothetical assumptions about Al Gore and the Democratic Party that run counter to the historical record. His first assumption about a Gore administration is "no economic collapse." But it was Clinton--with the ardent support of Gore and most Democrats--who pushed for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the New Deal law that prohibited commercial banks from engaging in risky investment banking. Many economists view the repeal of Glass-Steagall--a bipartisan folly that passed the Senate 90-8--as an open invitation to the reckless casino betting that ran amok in the banking industry over the past decade. Second, Gore was also cheerleader for the Gingrich-conceived and Clinton-backed WTO and NAFTA, which have led to the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs, the rapid deindustrialization of the US economy and ballooning trade deficits. Gore also applauded the rampant deregulatory policies of the Clinton administration that led to such disasters as the Telecom Act of 1996, a disaster for consumers but a boon to the communications giants that have swallowed up any remnant of independent commercial meda. In general, it was precisely Clinton-Gore's embrace of the fundamental tenets of Chicago School neoliberal market fundamentalism--under the tutelage of investment banker Robert Rubin--that set the state for the current meltdown.

As for the supposition that Gore would have prevented the war in Iraq, keep in mind that Gore was one of the earliest and most vociferous supporters of the 1990 Gulf War, and that as late as 2002 he was urging decisive military action against Iraq. In his February 2002 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Gore said, "I also support the President's stated goals in the next phases of the war against terrorism as he laid them out in the State of the Union.... virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq. As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table. To my way of thinking, the real question is not the principle of the thing, but of making sure that this time we will finish the matter on our terms.... So this time, if we resort to force, we must absolutely get it right. It must be an action set up carefully and on the basis of the most realistic concepts. Failure cannot be an option, which means that we must be prepared to go the limit." Clearly, Gore was part of the chauvinistic chorus stampeding the nation toward war, as were most of his Democratic confreres in the Senate, who voted to authorize this disaster and, even worse, have voted preponderantly to fund it ever since (including Obama!).

Civil liberties? The Democrats in both Houses broadly lined up behind both the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, and it was Democratic votes that provided the margin of victory in the confirmation of both Roberts and Alito (the Democrats controlled the Senate when Scalia was confirmed 98-0. So much for the Democrats as defenders of civil liberties.

The Democrats have been complicit in every plank of the Bush agenda, and since they have controlled the House have not moved to repeal or reverse any of it--to the contrary, they continue to fund the war and the bloated defense budget.

The corporate bipartisan consensus that rules Washington, DC, is a documentable reality. The fantasies of a progressive Democratic Party simply fly in the face of this reality. I praise Mr. Nader for exposing this bipartisan scam, for having the courage to set his shoulder against the myths purveyed by the camp followers of the DNC. The American people have the right to vote for whomever they deem best for the presidency. Blame Gore, not Nader, for failing to pose the serious alternative that would have allowed him to landslide Bush in the last election. Given the record of Democratic complicity in the crimes of the corporate elite, progressives should applaud, not marginalize, those with the courage to speak truth to power--and to the stubborn illusions and myths purveyed by smug liberals.

Beth Hanlon

Yorktown Heights, NY

Oct 28 2008 - 4:36pm

Web Letter

Great article. And I am with the first four writers. I strongly recommend picking up a copy of George Farah's No Debate, which is a simple primer detailing how the Commission on Presidential Debates and the two parties converged to make sure those pesky independent candidates never succeed in upsetting their apple cart. Shamefully, it becomes more acknowledged that what used to be known as the fourth branch of government (or was it simply the Fourth Estate?) is now a part of this problem.

Sadly, the other respondents here illustrate the results of all this. They probably would not recognize their statements as something that's been "said before," even though it's been promulgated by those in the major parties before (note: Howard Dean in the '04 election where he "pleaded" with Ralph not to run, back then).

We really need to wake up and realize how little of a democracy we have left. More and more, these elections are more about symbolism, and not substance (another trite-ism that has been used before, I admit, but it is sadly true), even though we are due for this type of symbolism. Regrettably, it only has value if it is in the sphere of the "right" party.

Thanks, for exhibiting some of the congruity I would like to see more of from your fellow writers.

Jeff Batter

Meriden, CT

Oct 28 2008 - 3:51pm

Web Letter

During the last three presidential campaigns I've found and completed web surveys that compare my views to the candidates positions and find that Nader represents my views on issues more than the Democratic candidate every time. Then I look around my community to see who's supporting Nader. For this election, and the last two, I've told myself that I'll vote for Nader as soon as I find a lower-income non-white person who supports him. Maybe they exist, but I haven't seen any here in Wisconsin. I see lots of college undergrads that attend the flagship campus of our state university here in Madison, most of whom are supported by their parents. I see Nader bumper stickers on $30,000 hybrid cars and Nader lawn signs in front of quarter-million-dollar houses.

In other words, at least here in Madison, Wisconsin, there's no visible support for Nader by people who are at the most financial risk from another four years of a Republican administration. Again, maybe those folks exist somewhere, but they don't appear to exist here.

It's pretty clear to me that the people in our country that are financially beneath the middle class are better off under Democratic administrations than under Republican ones. It's also pretty clear to me that (despite his denial of it) Nader's candidacy has consistently helped the Republicans and hurt the Democrats.

I have a good stable professional job, my spouse does as well. We probably could survive another four years of a Republican administration. Voting for Nader might best represent my views on issues. But as he has no realistic chance of winning, the thing I think he's most likely to do (again) is weaken the chances of a ticket that, while less idealistically aligned with my views, presents a far lower risk to the people in our country that need the most protection. As long as that's true, voting for Nader is, for me, a nice idea that it would be unacceptably irresponsible to act on.

Mark Nessel

Madison, WI

Oct 28 2008 - 3:50pm

Web Letter

I have said for years of Nader, the greatest "democracy advocate" of our generation, the very most important question that Americans should be asking of any candidate for president is not where they stand on the war or the economy but, "Where do you stand on the Empire that has taken over our country--an Empire of which the war in Iraq and the coming financial collapse are only its biggest and most visible crimes... so far?"

It is now joyful news that the American people themselves are looking beyond the lies of the corporatist Empire and its DC and MSM media whores, and finally in the fall of '08 are starting to understand the timeless truth of Hannah Arendt's warning in the era of the Nazi empire and its less sophisticated, one-party "Vichy" pawns, that "empire abroad (always) entails tyranny at home."

Arendt knew this about the dual oppressions of all empires in foreign imperialist military slaughter abroad and economic tyranny at home. And our forefathers also knew this timeless truth about the political and economic wrath of empires, as they felt both the military "lance in the eye" and economic "punch in the gut" of the British Empire against the early dream of American democracy against empire.

"Democracy advocate" Ralph Nader has spent his whole career standing up against this corporatist Empire in its attacks against our society, our political economy, our laws and our entire, indivisible democracy. Nader has never failed to take on the corporatist Empire attacking average, "working-class" Americans--first in the economic sphere, where everyone knows that corporate power and corporate Empire reign, against our personal safety, our constitutional and legal rights to privacy, to a clean environment and many other rights supposed to be protected by "our" government.

But when it became clear to Ralph that the corporatist Empire had started to take over government itself and cancerously spread from the economic sphere to the political sphere of our whole society, our total political economy and our waning democracy, Ralph Nader volunteered like a minuteman for democracy and fought against the corporatist Empire in all its oppressions, economic, legal and political--just as the first minutemen rose up to battle f0or democracy against the British Empire's economic, legal and political oppression and tyranny over the American colonies.

We 're not colonists--but free men! And we're not going to be dictated to by an Empire, regardless of how it disguises itself as some unholy axis of a political monarch and greedy corporate profiteers, working together behind the scenes.

Ralph Nader is not some loyalist/royalist frontman for the corporatist Empire selected to be a political officer of the empire, like the American colony 's "royal governors" were selected by the crown and the British East India Corporation, to dominate and rule over their working subjects. Ralph Nader has proven more than any man that he will not be bought by the corporatist Empire 's treasure trove of royalist money, appointments and hidden "deals" but that he will always (and very successfully) fight the corporate Empire on all fronts--economic and political to save our democratic self-government of, by and for all free men against the scourge of corporate Empire.

Good luck, all you patriots and minutemen of democracy--as we continue the American Revolution for democracy and against empire.

Alan MacDonald

Sanford, ME

Oct 28 2008 - 3:44pm

Web Letter

The reason why the Green Party went with Kerry and not Nader was the fact that the Green Party was embarrassed about Nader taking enough votes away from Al Gore to put the imbecile in office we have today. Thanks, Ralph

Nader lost all credibility during and after the 2000 election as a result of the stories published about him wanting to punish the Democrats. Well, Nader, your sights were set too low for you ended up punishing not only Democrats, but the whole nation and several sectors of the whole world as well.

Go campaign in Alaska. They'll buy anything up there.

William Grieder gives Ralph more attention and credit than he deserves. Ralph is about as well-liked today as Joe Lieberman. While both may have done noble things in their past, they are both viruses to the well-being of the United States today. When are we going to stop giving these anti-progressives air time?

Rich Bender

Mechanicsville, IO

Oct 28 2008 - 3:09pm