AUDIO FILE: Ralph Nader at the Roseland
Ralph Nader appeared Monday evening, April 5, 2004, at the Roseland Theatre in downtown Portland. Various reports as to the size of the crowd have been offered, but the last figure given by those who were counting was somewhere around 725.
Nader gave his usual rousing speech, exposing government corruption and corporate greed, and drawing a clear connection between the two. I've heard him speak on at least three occasions over the passt half dozen years or so, -once for about 2 1/2 hours, and this evening he packed much of that material in about a 50 minute presentation. He began, of course, by refering to the failure to reach the necessary 1000 head count of registered voters to get him on the Oregon ballot as a presidential candidate.|
"It's really amazing when you go around the country, the completely arbitrary laws keeping third party independcent candidates off the ballot. For instance, in Tennessee, you need 300 signatures and you're on. In Alabama you need 1000. In North Carolina you need 98,000. One thing we're trying to do is highlight all this and go for one Federal standard for all Federal elections. And where we can'at wait for that we want to file lawsuits in a number of states." He states further that they've got the Two Party Debate Commission in Federal Court, again.
Next Ralph speaks a little about replacing PGE with citizen run Public Utility istrict. "That's what will save you about $150,000,000 a year, and if you have a public owned utility, they're not going to be using y our dollars to invest in some outlet in Indonesia or Brazil or some real estate development out east, as some California Utilities did once they were deregulated.
Nader also mentions briefly Initiative 53, the Money is Not Democracy Oregon Campaign Finance Reform Initiative. This Initiative is designed to change the Oregon Constitution in order to keep money from determining politics
From here Nader goes into a description of the events which led up to our involvement in the Iraq war, and the deceit employed by the Bush Adminsitration in order to bring that about. His commentary is as much social, as political, commentary. His descriptions are colorful, referring to advertising aimed at children as child pornography, and the poisoning of our environment as a "deadly form of silent violence."
Much of the remainder of his presentation is a series of "Imaginings."
"Let's frame this campaign on what we can legitimately imagine our country to become. And then we should ask ourselves who's saying no to all of this, and who'saying yes." He begins and continues with a litany of imaginings. "Imagine an America where there is universal health care insurance and health care; imagine an America where 45,000,000 American workers earn a living wage, where now they don't earn a living wage; imagine an America which revolutionizes public transit in this country and relieves the congestion on our highways; imagine an America that provided affordable housing to the people athat are either homeless or living in hovels; imagine an America, where we begin rapid conversion of fossil fuels and nuclear power follies...into solar energy in all it's manifestations and efficiecy;imagine an America where we have public funding of public campaigns, and stop selling our politicians elections and our government to the highest financial bidder." He continues for some time with this theme, bringing up so much that is wrong with this country, wrongs which many people acknowldge but have grudgingly learned to live with. And he doesn't just list a number of problems, but shows how all these problems are the result of a deliberate corporate design
Ralph always shows us a way out of the dilemma we are faced with. The dilemma of growing up corporate instead of civic; of growing up expecting less of our leaders and of ourselves than we are capable of, as a nation and as individuals. Here again, he finishes with a plea for assistance that is more than the typical campaign promise. His solution is to empower the people, he traces an outline of our true potential as human beings and wishes to assist us in filling in the blanks.
This audio file is about 46 minutes in length, but moves along rapidly, and is full of good information and perspective.
Ralph at the Roseland
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