Bashing Greens Won't Help
Here's a bit of advice for those who don't support Nader or other Greens. If you don't like the Green candidates, don't vote for them. And if you want to win an election, go out and get some folks to vote for you -- like that 50 percent of the American voters who represent the largest party in America, the nonvoters. On the way, you might build a party and a platform with some integrity, not just insults.
Bashing Greens won't help
Published November 22, 2003 LADUKE.CP1122
'Tis the season to bash Greens. David Sarasohn's Nov. 14 commentary about Nader/LaDuke's impact on the 2000 presidential election falls far short on facts, and relies on lies, rhetoric and a really mean undercurrent to make a few points. Sarasohn's suggestion that Ralph Nader is "the worst thing to happen to civil liberties and poor people in quite a while," is insane, and fails not only to put the blame where it should be but also to talk about where we need to go.
Start with that George W. Bush didn't win the election. That would be an important fact, along with Al Gore getting more votes than any presidential candidate in history. To point to the 97,000 votes cast for Ralph and me in Florida as the straw that broke the camel's back misses a few other facts. Some 250,000 voters didn't even get to vote because Gov. Jeb Bush was able to deny their basic constitutional rights. Most of those voters, it seems, were Democrats and blacks.
Then there may have been (lest I be beat for saying it) a few errors on Al Gore's part. Later media recounts of the Florida election, indeed, suggest that a full recount would have found Al Gore was the victor, but Gore pushed only for a partial recount. Then there was "drift" in the Democrats; put another way, later surveys indicated that up to 300,000 Florida Democrats cast votes for Bush in the election.
Enough of chads, butterfly ballots and the whole lot. Let's say that we should have a democracy, and that it should work. After all, people died for the right to vote, and everyone's vote should count. I also happen to think that people should be able to vote their conscience, and vote for what they believe in. I'd like to work on making a democracy that lives up to that potential, which means that even third parties should be able to participate (remember that the Greens had to litigate to get on the ballot in nine states, which is somewhat of a challenge to democracy in itself).
I believe in making America better, and refuse to be called unpatriotic, or have it suggested that "Nader not only elects Republicans, he's starting to sound like them." (I would assume that some of this flak is supposed to carry over to me.) While Ralph may run, I don't plan on it, at least this election.
But here's a bit of advice for those who don't support Nader or other Greens. If you don't like the Green candidates, don't vote for them. And if you want to win an election, go out and get some folks to vote for you -- like that 50 percent of the American voters who represent the largest party in America, the nonvoters. On the way, you might build a party and a platform with some integrity, not just insults.
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Winona LaDuke is a member of the Anishinaabe Tribe.
address: Minneapolis Star-Tribune
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