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Why Not Nader??

First, when the hell did Halloween become a light holiday? Not the candle in a pumpkin kind of lights, but strings of orange pumpkin and white ghost lights that otherwise are identical to Christmas lights? I don't get it. From what I remember from my childhood, Christmas lights two months away from Christmas was...trashy. Now it's cool to have them out starting in October???

Second, I know a lot of people who are planning on voting for Ralph Nader. They sincerely want to send a message to the two party system. I understand that desire. I actually think the system would improve (read: be less corrupt) if there were more than two (real) parties. Monopolies are bad, whether a telephone company, cable service, or political parties. Despite this, I don't think that this is the time to make that stance. Too much is at stake with another four years of Bush. A friend warns me that this approach will not work b/c the Republicans can dig up these candidates on demand, so in 4 or 8 years, they'll just have another tyrant on the podium waiting to rob us of our freedom. He's worried that liberals are constantly voting out of fear rather than out of principles. I understand that, but at the same time, I read this open letter to George Bush and concur.

Dear Ralph:
You have publicly expressed your dismay at what you perceive to be a loss of nerve by those of us who supported you in the 2000 presidential race, but now endorse Senator Kerry. It is not a question of nerve. It is a question of pragmatic good judgment in a time of deep national crisis.

I bought into the argument in the 2000 election that there was little consequential difference between Bush and Gore and joined with you to send a signal to the Democratic Party and build the Green Party. The judgment that there was no consequential difference between the two establishment candidates has proven to be more wrong than I ever imagined possible. If Gore were president, the United States would not be bogged down in a pointless and unwinnable war in Iraq; we would not have the biggest budget deficit in our history; and we would not be experiencing a massive rollback in civil liberties and in environmental, health, and worker protections. We might not even have had 9/11. You more than anyone should be aware of this.

With regard to differences between Bush and Kerry, I must admit to having serious questions about a political system that offers us a presidential choice between a rich white male graduate of Yale University and a rich white male graduate of Yale University. However, to deny the significant differences between Bush and Kerry on issues ranging from environmental protection, nuclear proliferation, women’s rights, civil liberties, the Supreme Court, labor rights, and national security is intellectually dishonest. Furthermore, Kerry has a stunning advantage over Bush in his intelligence, honesty, emotional and moral maturity, understanding of the world beyond America’s borders, respect among foreign leaders, his ability to admit and learn from mistakes, and his capacity to articulate a coherent sentence. These are far from inconsequential differences.

Bush stands on his record. Indeed, the accomplishments of his administration have been breathtaking. In less than four years it has turned the largest budget surplus in our nation’s history into the biggest deficit; presided over the first net loss of jobs since President Herbert Hoover; squandered lives, money, and international reputation on an unwinnable war with no exit strategy against the wrong enemy; weakened milestone environmental protection laws like the Clean Air Act; exacerbated inequality, threatened Social Security and Medicare, undermined guaranteed overtime compensation and key labor rights; dismantled what once were considered unassailable Constitutional rights; appointed extremist judges to our country’s courts; and established a new military doctrine of pre-emptive nuclear war.

Perhaps Bush’s greatest failure is in the area he claims to be his greatest strength: national security. The most devastating terrorist attack in human history occurred on his watch. Three years later his administration has yet to identify and charge a single U.S.-based accomplice. Nor has it charged anyone with responsibility for the subsequent anthrax attacks. The administration that immediately identified Osama Bin Laden as the September 11 ringleader could not find him in Afghanistan; so it invaded Iraq and captured Saddam Hussein instead.

I have no illusions that Kerry will be a great progressive leader, but he will at least be a competent leader. At this point a return to competent plutocracy as usual will be a major improvement over gross incompetence and naked fascism — and this improvement is the best we can hope for in the 2004 election.

Whatever the original intention of your campaign, the only issues that have gained any attention center on personal ballot access for a candidate whose main support comes from his sworn enemies. You have not even positioned your run to build a third party.

Like Bush's war against Iraq, your campaign is the wrong war against the wrong enemy for the wrong reason. Tragically, it has come increasingly to appear that its primary intention is to throw the election to Bush to extract your personal vengeance against the Democratic Party, an outcome that will serve only to further harm your reputation and the hard-won victories of your lifetime of service.

George W. has become well known for his inability to admit a mistake and his self-righteous dismissal of all who challenge him. You risk history saying the same for Ralph Nader. When so many of your once closest friends and most ardent lifetime supporters urge you to withdraw and your main support comes from those on the Republican far right who detest everything you stand for, perhaps you should take note. Your one hope of avoiding further harm to your country, your cause, and your own reputation is to announce that you have made your statement and that now it is time for your remaining supporters to cast their ballots for Kerry.

This is a time for unity among all of us concerned for democracy and the future of America. We simply cannot afford four more years of what may be the most extremist, corrupt, and dangerously incompetent administration in U.S. history.

--David C. Korten
David C. Korten is the author of "When Corporations Rule the World."


  • At 12:16 AM, Blogger Ron Brynaert said…

    "Like Bush's war against Iraq, your campaign is the wrong war against the wrong enemy for the wrong reason."

    Nader is campaigning, primarily, against George Bush and isn't afraid to mention the word "impeachment." Nader is unequivocally against the war in Iraq and believes that all the troops should come home yesterday.

    Of course, I'm voting for Kerry...and I pretty much agree with most of what you wrote. But I think this particular line is unfair and unwarranted.

    I fully support Nader's campaign...I believe that he WILL end up taking more votes from Bush than from Kerry. And as for the repulsive Republicans and Fulani freaks that have helped him and bankrolled him...well, let's just say that I am proud to be a Democrat despite the considerable influence of the neocons in the AIPAC.


  • At 1:00 AM, Blogger Matthew said…

    Eh, I think that a vote for Nader is essentially robbing Kerry, and is a vote for Bush.

    Having said that, I think the man should have the right to be on the ballot.

    But, who are these people you know that are going to vote for him? Goodness gracious, will some people never learn?!

  • At 1:10 PM, Blogger p.p. said…

    These people are as dumb as those voting for Bush. Simple as that.

  • At 1:37 PM, Blogger Curtis said…

    It's utter bullshit to make the claim that Ralph Nader lost the election for Al Gore. Gore lost the election on his own incompetence. He should have had a landslide. Now, because Gore can't run a fucking election and the Democrats can't attract an good candidate we're stuck with another moron, John Kerry, who is shoving his face up the Republican collective ass. And you guys want to tell me it's WRONG to vote for Nader. It's wrong to vote for a guy who actually stands for something real.

    Sorry, but if you want to vote out of fear every election year then have at it. It's not going to change whether Bush wins or Gore wins. The Democratic Party has come to fear itself. It's afraid of being called liberal. It's afraid of opening the doors for candidates who believe in the former Democratic Party ideals. It's basically become a Republican-Lite party.

    I'm voting for Nader because I care about this nation and I care about the Democratic Party. Make the argument all you want that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush, which is bullshit, so that you'll have another excuse why the Democrats can't beat Bush. Maybe after a few elections of the Democrats giving us the same candidates we cannot believe in you'll realize that the reason they can't win is because they've abandoned their base.

    "Furthermore, Kerry has a stunning advantage over Bush in his intelligence, honesty, emotional and moral maturity, understanding of the world beyond America’s borders, respect among foreign leaders, his ability to admit and learn from mistakes, and his capacity to articulate a coherent sentence. These are far from inconsequential differences."

    Make that claim all you want. Too bad Kerry doesn't SHOW it. Too bad he runs away from these things. Too bad he's ashamed of being morally superior to Bush. He's shying away from all of this right now, so why the hell should I trust he wouldn't shy away from it once he has to nominate a cabinet, present bills to Congress, think about vetoing legislation from a Republican Congress, et. al. There is no good reason for me to trust that Kerry will actually ACT on his beliefs when he is President because he's running away from it now.


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