July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

I hate Nader haters.

He said right from the beginning of his campaign for President in 2000, “the lesser of two evils is still evil.” He also propagated the notion that if we continually fail to hold our leaders to account, to keep them morally and ideologically honest, that they would drift rightward and further diminish the ever-narrowing gap between our two major political parties.

Guess what. He was right. People say if it weren’t for Ralph Nader, we wouldn’t have gotten George W Bush. Aside from the four hundred or so fallacies inherent in that argument (here’s just one of many: every single third party candidate in Florida in 2000 received more votes than Bush’s alleged “winning margin”), we must also recognize that without George W Bush and Dick Cheney’s administration, we most likely would not have elected Barack Obama.

And what has Mr.Obama done? Simply prove Ralph Nader right on all fronts, a three-year rightward tilt culminating in the coup de grace, a willingness to slash the heretofore untouchable Democratic staples: Medicare and Social Security.

To think of where we could be now if Al Gore had simply run a truly progressive campaign and had consequently been a real and viable alternative to the status quo. He would have landslided Bush. To think of where we could be now if John Kerry had agreed to pick up three major issues that Ralph Nader was championing in 2004, Wall St malfeasance the biggest and most popular, and run with the ball. Bush would once again have found himself out of a job. But both those men played safe, and adopted a “centrist” position, which is Washington double-speak for non-progressive. Al Gore did win and John Kerry claimed over fifty million votes, just for being Democrats and opposing Bush. Imagine how many more people would have risen up if they had actually embraced positions and issues that supported those who had lost interest, who no longer voted because they saw nothing in prior campaigns which spoke to their needs.

To think of where we could be now if Barack Obama, with his then majority in both houses of Congress, had staked a truly progressive position in the first place, demanding that the debate pull left instead of right. If he had begun with universal healthcare and negotiated from there. If he had begun with a true non-Wall st stimulus of a magnitude much greater than the pathetic corporate giveaway he actually signed on to.

Last, to think of where we could be now if Mr.Obama had pulled the Republican trick and framed the debate from the outset on his terms and not wavered, a position stating that Social Security and Medicare are fine just as they are, that in fact Medicare should be expanded to include everyone, that our budgetary “crises” could be solved in an instant if wealthy people and corporations started paying taxes again at a fair rate and the US stopped blowing money on useless military operations and installations.

But that hasn’t happened and, even with his willingness to give away the one true political advantage Democrats are supposed to always have, that of their party being the protector of crucial social programs, Mr.Obama is still staring down the barrel of a default on debt payment.

He didn’t learn the lesson Ralph Nader has been trying to teach us. You lean ever rightward, you keep giving in to the corporate structure, you keep shaking hands with the enemy and eventually you have nothing.

This post today is a vent. I’ll admit it. I’m at the point, as a passionate progressive, where I’m ready to watch the whole thing crash. Maybe that’s the only thing that will wake people up, at least the people who want to wake up; there’s plenty of people living in mansions behind security gates who couldn’t give a damn what happens to this country. Many of them hold elected office.

Tomorrow’s a new day and I’m sure I’ll be focusing on the way forward, on encouraging and championing those who still are trying to maintain the US as a first world country.

But today I stand by Ralph Nader and say: a pox on both their houses.


Picture : Ralph Nader. For those of you who’ve made your decisions about this man, read “Crashing the Party” and/or watch “An Unreasonable Man”. A true American hero and someone who’d be handling the current political crises in Washington very differently.


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