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government | imperialism & war selection 2004

A Final Plea To Nader Supporters

If Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jim Hightower, and Ralph Nader's former running mate Winona LaDuke haven't convinced you that voting for Nader is too great a risk this election, maybe nothing will. But the stakes are high enough to try.
As Nader supporters continually point out, Kerry is a compromised, centrist Democrat, ambivalent at best on a host of key questions including the Iraqi war. And yes, Nader's positions are better, and it may feel personally gratifying to vote for them.

But this election isn't about abstract stands. It's about Bush's threat to democracy. Not just Bush, but a larger Republican machine that purges African Americans from the Florida voting rolls, throws away voter registrations in Nevada, jams New Hampshire Democratic phone banks with hired telemarketers, shouts down Palm Beach vote counters, and shuts Congressional Democrats out of the legislative drafting process entirely, replacing their voices with those of industry lobbyists. That doesn't count waging preemptive wars and lying about their justification, passing over a hundred billion dollars a year of regressive tax cuts, smashing unions, plundering the environment, and branding everyone who disagrees with you an ally of terrorism.

Either we stop these trends or we don't. And what we do this with is the ballot. If we place all our hopes in awaiting some nebulous citizens' revolt, we throw away a concrete opportunity to stop this assault in its tracks by voting Bush out. And that gives away an aspect of power that citizen movements have fought and died for. That's what we do by replacing a real vote against Bush with a symbolic vote for Ralph Nader.

Think of the court appointments. Four years ago, the issue seemed abstract. After the gang of five justices installed Bush in office, it's urgent. William Rehnquist is 80 years old sick, with thyroid cancer. John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have had cancer as well, and Stevens is 84. Do we really want another Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas to replace them? Or another Rehnquist? These justices didn't just anoint Bush as president. The same 5-4 majority recently validated Tom DeLay's mid-census reapportionment of key congressional districts in Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania, to give the Republicans a near unbreakable short-term lock on the House of Representatives. Maybe O'Connor will have a change of heart, but if they appoint one more ultraright justice, all three branches will be controlled by a party that seeks not just victory, but the total annihilation of all opposition, as if we were the rats and insects that DeLay used to exterminate. Stopping this trend means stopping Bush.

There's a reason Republicans have put so much money, time and organizational effort into getting Nader on the ballot in key states: it's a chance to consolidate power. And there's a reason every major progressive organization in this country begged Ralph not to run. And that three quarters of participants in Nader's "Committee of 100" from four years ago are now mobilizing for Kerry in efforts like the Unity Campaign (www.theunitycampaign.org). As Chomsky says, "...Anyone who says 'I don't care if Bush gets elected' is basically telling poor and working people in the country, 'I don't care if your lives are destroyed... I don't care about you'... Apart from [this] being wrong, it's a recipe for disaster if you're hoping to ever develop a popular movement and a political alternative."

In fact, there's an odd parallel between Bush's total lack of accountability and belief in his divinely anointed infallibility, and Nader's. Nader insists that no matter how many how many long-time allies ask him to pull back, he has a direct line to the truth, and knows he's right. It's tragic that someone who has spent most of his life fighting to expand democracy is doing his best to make the worst of Florida's plantation politics our national political model.

I've heard Nader supporters say their vote won't matter. Or that Nader will actually take votes away from Bush. As a recent Nation Institute survey showed, Nader actually draws three to one or more from those who'd otherwise support Kerry, but if you'd otherwise support Bush, please do vote for Ralph. If you want to get Bush out, however, and your state is remotely close, then you need to act as if every vote matters, including your own, and those of everyone you turn out. You need to assume that the 366-vote margin in New Mexico (where Nader got 21,000 votes) or the 537 votes that Katherine Harris certified in Florida will be the outcome in your state this round, and that your actions will make the key difference. You don't want to become one more Republican tool.

Think about the 2002 French election. Progressives split their vote in the initial balloting, allowing neo-fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen to edge Socialist Lionel Jospin to make it onto the final ballot. In response, French progressives and moderates rallied around Conservative Jacques Chirac, because Le Pen was too great a threat to ignore. And Chirac surprised us all by refusing to go to war in Iraq. Bush's politics aren't as rightist as Le Pen, but their global impact is infinitely greater. Bush's Euro-bashing aside, this is one time to learn from the French.

I'm all in favor of acts of conscience. But we also have to be strategic. We can find ample ways to express our direct voice after November 2. If Kerry wins, I expect to be marching soon afterward to get America out of Iraq, because it's going to take persistent citizen action no matter which way the elections go. But symbolic statements and symbolic actions will not stop the Republican assaults on democracy. At some point we'll need to vote them out. That point is now.

Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of "The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear", just published by Basic Books.

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homepage: homepage: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1028-34.htm

No more back street butchers for women 28.Oct.2004 16:02

a nader supporter

Nader is indeed the most honest progressive politician you'll ever find on this planet. He is admired and loved for his selfless service and the sacrifices he has made for humanity. He must continue building an alternative party if the planet is to be saved from total disaster and total barbarism.

But, WOMEN who love and respect Nader WORRY that if that psychopath/fascist Bush gets back in then women with unwanted pregnancies will end up dying on the filthy kitchen tables of back street butchers. This is too great of a price to pay. Nader must think of that half of the sky which carries the burden of the hell created by militarism and war.

Women voting for Kerry must DEMAND the repeal of all anti-choice laws. Their gains must not end up in the waste bins of history.

Nader, you are a wonderful being but you can never never understand what it is to be a woman in a hostile patriarchal society let alone in a country run by fundamentalist anti-christ.

Dont Talk T o Me 28.Oct.2004 16:05

About Democracy

Dont talk to me about democracy or the threat to until you have addressed the issue of the democrats trying to also limit democracy by keeping by keeping viable candidates off the ballot.

love the disinfo 28.Oct.2004 16:21

and the hypocrisy

Makes me quite satisfied to have not voted for any democrats in this election. It was a first for me but I couldn't be happier to finally purge myself of supporting those backstabbing, corrupt liars. Some people are in for a harsh reality check. I hope you're all ready.

The coming days 28.Oct.2004 16:32

Salamander

The fact that you have to try and convince people who are or are leaning towards voting for Nader shows how pathetic Kerry is. If he actually talked about real issues and hammered Bush where he is weak, he would win by an easy margin. Kerry is barely ahead because he will not really say anything substantive that will displease his porporate sponsors, and the progressive left made no demand of him in exchange for their vote.

Bush is not the boogie-man you make him out to be. It is the system of power and control by corporate interests that is driving our downward spiral. Kerry will be worse than Bush. What I mean by that is, things are getting worse, and they will get worse under Kerry. Now, they may get worser under a Bush second term than under Kerry (not something I wish to go into here), but the direction of the country is for the worse. Nothing Kerry has said, nor done indicates otherwise.

The situation for the great majority of people in this country got worse under Clinton, even worse under Bush 2, and will be worse yet under Kerry should he claim the White House. That is the result of the direction we are going. The negative direction we are heading did not begin with Bush, nor will it end with him. Therefore it is important to see that Bush is not the real problem, he is just another symptom of it.

Now I want to get rid of Bush as well, but he is not the source of our problem. To think so is to ignore the truth. Nader is speaking truth. He is engaging in the dialogue that is needed. His work for many decades has culminated in his deep understanding of our social decay. I greatly respect his clarity, passion and depth. He is unmatched in todays political arena. That said, I am not planning to vote for him.

I will say, that I believe the Democratic leadership is as much afraid of Nader's message as it is afraid of the votes he may receive. Maybe even moreso. As soon as the Democratic leadership has control of the White House, they will act to further undermine and subvert anti-war efforts, efforts at corporate reform and efforts at forming a progressive third party. Don't think for one second that they are allies of the progressive and anti-war movements. They are using you for their own purpose and they want to destroy Nader because of his message.

Think on these things, because come Nov 3rd (assuming a clear victor named Kerry) the radical and progressive people who are voting for Kerry, will be left in the cold, your purpose served. Some say you have sold yourselves too cheaply, others say it is worth the price. What is sure is that you have indeed sold yourselves, so please have no illusions that you are part of something. With a Kerry pResidency, you will have to fight even harder than against Bush because there will be many liberals and progressives who will go easy on Kerry, who will still be selling themselves, hoping for a bone. You will however, be in the dog house, and the corporate citizens will have Kerry's ear.

May we all find the path to a sane sustainable society.

Hopefully . . . 28.Oct.2004 16:39

oregon voter

this will be the last Nader-bashing post to appear on Portland IMC before Nov. 2?

aaah, just dreamin' . . . :-)

What part of no way do you not understand? 28.Oct.2004 16:41

indy

No way will I vote for Kerry. I vowed on the grave of Geronimo that I would never vote for a member of Skull and Bones. If Kerry is serious about wanting my vote, he'll have to demand that his secret society return Geronimo's bones back to their resting place, where they were stolen years ago by bonesman Prescott Bush. This consideration aside, there have been so many many postings to this site explaining why those of us who support Nader do so and why we will not waste our vote on either of the pro corporate major party candidates. I just heard Nader today on C-Span and he reinvigorated my committment to vote for him. He made a very interesting point. The Libertarians are currently polling at about 1 percent, similar to the Nader poll. However, the Republicans are not trying to keep Libertarians off the ballot, as the Democrats keep doing in state after state to keep Nader off the ballot. What gives? I would really like it if Democrats would turn their focus from Nader voters onto the many compelling issues they need to address with their candidate Kerry. Why not spend your energy convincing him to be anti war for instance, or to support Palestine and not just Isreael? Or to give back the millions of corporate dollars he has accepted, so that he can represent the citizens of this country and not the fat cats? You don't need to wait til after the election to do this. Well, I think you get my drift. Please respect my choice and I will do likewise.

Yawn. 28.Oct.2004 17:03

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

Why don't any of these clowns ever send any pleas to John Kerry ?

Why do they argue out of one side of their mouths that we have to vote for Kerry because if we don't, he'll veer to the Right, and yet their unquestioning loyalty to Kerry for the last six months already has him veering so far to the Right that he's about to meet up with Barry Goldwater's ghost coming the other way ?

Why must I demonstrate my sympathy for the poor and downtrodden by sitting quietly in fealty before John Kerry, a man who is doing everything he can to turn me into one of the poor and downtrodden ?

Why does my womb have to be a bargaining chip to both Democrats and Republicans ? Why is one Supreme Court ruling that doesn't even work to grant most of America's women the rights they deserve supposed to force me into silent complicity with a crowd of rich, self-satisfied corporate shitheads that would despise me as much as I despise them, if they only knew I existed once Election Day was over ?

Why why why ?

Big C 28.Oct.2004 17:19

C

I heard that 4 Chief Justices have had cancer lately. If Bush wins again, say goodbye to Roe vs Wade.

more disinfo 28.Oct.2004 17:51

and hypocrisy

"I heard that 4 Chief Justices have had cancer lately"

Nope, they've all had cancer for a while.

"If Bush wins again, say goodbye to Roe vs Wade."

Is there an echo, I remember people saying that in 2000.

Have any of you staunch Roe v. Wade defenders actually read the case? It's not about abortion.

And of course, to say that Bush will get his pick of nominees is to concede the point that the democrats will be complicit with Bush's policies, which is entirely accurate, but an unstated assumption. If the democrats would stand up to Bush there would be nothing to worry about. Unfortunately the democrats will continue to push the Bush agenda, and we all know it, whether we're willing to admit it or not.

Or, to put the scouts argument more simply:

"Since the democrats will not stop Bush from appointing anti-choice judges we need to elect democrats."

Such insanity.

Short of a full revolution... 28.Oct.2004 20:27

Sheepdog

the process of mobilization must occur by knitting diverse groups together.
Under a very visible transcending common theme. This is evident.
Their tactic.
Fractionalizing the serfs as you screw them over. If we were clever we would find and stress themes such as wealth disparity and its control over our lives. The gutting of our life and the neglect of it rulers. There are others.
We see the no brainer of a progressive movement involving the Greens, Socialist, Constitutional, Reform etc. to unite under a great umbrella. But it don't happen. Would it be a death warrant from entrenched forces of banal but powerful evil? I guess Leaders can be delt with. We need to insure the people's business is not a source of temptation to the twisted mentality of greed and dishonor done in the shadows of secrecy with the blood and treasury of our commons... The books must be opened, the criminals uncovered and justice served.

Just asking. . . 29.Oct.2004 01:34

Hal E. Burton

I am sure that Ralph Nader is good at being AGAINST something. He brought us seat belts and stopped the ever-menacing Corvair.

I am not sure that he can work with a divided political body. Can he compromise with the House? With the Senate? What makes him worthy of the executive office? What makes anyone think he has what it takes to be a politician in the executive office?

thanks, Hal E. 29.Oct.2004 13:44

important point

Why is is that no one ever mentions this? It is one thing to oppose things you dislike, and quite another to bring unity to angry, political opposites. Create consensus? Nader couldn't do it. That's one big reason why I don't support him.

what country do you guys live in 29.Oct.2004 15:01

???

"divided political body"

"political opposites"

Last I checked the democrats and republicans agreed on damn near everything.

What was the last Bush policy that the democrats opposed again?

hmmm, sounds familiar 29.Oct.2004 15:36

---

"In fact, there's an odd parallel between Bush's total lack of accountability and belief in his divinely anointed infallibility, and Nader's. Nader insists that no matter how many how many long-time allies ask him to pull back, he has a direct line to the truth, and knows he's right. It's tragic that someone who has spent most of his life fighting to expand democracy is doing his best to make the worst of Florida's plantation politics our national political model."

Pot, meet kettle.

Kerry: What He Stands For, And Why He Doesn't Deserve Your Vote 29.Oct.2004 18:58

try this on for size:


attempting to be short 29.Oct.2004 20:22

already voted for green

Kerry and Bush are both selling only fear.

Kerry is simply selling the by-product fear of Bush's selling of fear.

Both of them are hardly 'candidates' in the strict sense. They both represent one single MACHINE of distrust of voters and citizens. They both represent imperalism and war profiteering. They both are multi-millionaires who looked after each other in the 'good cop, bad cop' old routine of from the EXTRAJUDICIAL CRIMES of Iran-Contra onward. As both Skull and Bones, they both represent destruction of democracy for replacement with a corrupt inbred aristocracy. If you believe in rule of law, then no one can honestly vote for either of these two media charlatans.

More of the same... 29.Oct.2004 22:06

Paladin paladin@dmci.net

More of the same tired old scare tactics used every election cycle by the Dems to suppress progressive voters seeking alternatives. They keep talking about the "5-4" supreme court, when it's the lower appellate courts that decide the vast majority of constitutional issues. And those courts are already being stacked with Bush's reactionary neo-conservative picks, courtesy of the capitulating Democrats in the senate. They approved almost every single Bush nominee, with the exception of a small handful of the absolute worst, two of which Dubya went ahead and appointed anyway during congressional recess.

Of course, Kerry has stated that he wouldn't be averse to appointing anti-choice judges to the appellate courts as well, so don't expect things to get much better with him in the White House.

Michigan

however 29.Oct.2004 22:38

a sweet thought

wouldn't it be nice to serve an eviction notice to smug monkey face? Is that not enough of a reason to vote Kerry???

Please people....it really would be worth it, we might even get a temper-tantrum out of it...."but dad-dy....I want to be president!!"

not worth it 29.Oct.2004 23:29

in my opinion

"Please people....it really would be worth it"

Not if I have to give up being able to chant:

"Not my president! Not my war!"

oh, but you could 30.Oct.2004 00:54

have it all ways

you can still chant...all you want, we won't take that away from you AND we get to oust monkey-face...

you see....we all win :)

"Pot, meet kettle." 30.Oct.2004 10:26

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

Heh heh. I'm sure that thirty or forty years after Nader's death, the good Lefty/Progressive thinkers and writers will be lionizing him. Sort of like they're wont to do now with guys like Wayne Morse. It's easier to admire the lone man or woman fighting for what he/she thinks is right when that fighter is safely defeated, dead and buried. You don't have to march with them onto dangerous ground at that point. You can look like a stand-up, humane sort of person and still keep on the tenure track or whatever.

Bleah.