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Nader -- lessons from his parents

I grew up in a small New England town - Winsted, Connecticut.
My father, Nathra Nader, owned and ran a restaurant - the Highland Arms - on Main Street.

Mom and Dad were immigrants from Lebanon.

At home, dinnertime overflowed with talk of current events, led by my parents - and good old-fashioned Arabic cuisine prepared by my mother - Rose Nader.

There was no television playing in the background - because there was no television.

In this nurturing environment, my parents raised my brother, my two sisters, and me to be self-confident, independent, and caring of others.

Many of today's children grow up in a domestic scene quite different from the world we grew up in.

Today, it's X-box, television, videos, DVDs, computers - non-stop screens and noise.

And junk food.

Compared to today's commercialized household scenes, ours was a peaceful other world.

My Dad was a concerned and patriotic American.

He worked long hours at the restaurant.

But he wouldn't let business get in the way of expressing his opinions.

People knew that when they put down their nickel on the counter top at Mr. Nader's restaurant, they would get a cup of coffee and ten minutes of conversation.

One day, a customer came into the restaurant and said: "Mr. Nader, how do you expect to make a profit and deliver your controversial opinions every day?"

To which my father responded: "When I passed the Statue of Liberty in 1912, I took it seriously."

And he did.

My Dad also taught me that without justice, liberty was not possible.

One day, when I was ten, my Dad took me for a car tour of our little town.

He pointed out all of the institutions - the library, the hospital, the high school - that were built with charitable contributions.

Some of the wealthy citizens of our town made an enduring effort to share their wealth.

"Imagine if all the well-to-do gave the way these people gave," Dad told me. "We'd live in a much better and stronger society."

Here is one of my favorite pictures of Dad.

It shows him (center) walking down Main Street in Winsted, leading a group of citizens of the town to protest yet another Congressional pay increase.

Dad believed that our political leaders should set an example for the people by showing restraint in setting their own pay.

Fifteen years ago, my parents put together a book - It Happened in the Kitchen .

The book contains Mom's wise advice on rearing children and many of father's classic sayings.

The book also includes recipes for dozens of traditional, nutritious and delicious dishes we grew up on - hummus, tabooli, lentil soup, fatoosh, stuffed grape leaves, burghul, kibbi - and many others - and some of my favorite Arabic desserts.

The 184-page book became something of a best seller when it was published in 1991.

To this day, people approach me at airports and say they remember my appearance with Mother on the Phil Donahue Show in 1991 that highlighted It Happened in the Kitchen .

We have obtained a few remaining copies of the Kitchen Book.

For a contribution of $100 or more to our campaign - which as you may know was driven into debt by a multi-million dollar dirty tricks operation perpetrated by the Democratic Party - I will sign a personalized copy to you of this wonderful book of recipes and sayings from my parents and get it in the mail to you in time for the holidays.

It Happened in the Kitchen will make a lasting gift for you, your family and friends during the holidays.

And your generous donation will help us wrap up this campaign on a happy fiscal note, so we can concentrate on Bush's illegal war, which has cost so many American and Iraqi lives.

Let your friends and family know about this offer by forwarding this letter to your e-mail address book.

Please go to our contribution page and give as generously as you can.

If you want to donate $100 or more and receive an autographed copy of It Happened In the Kitchen , click here.

Thank you for your ongoing generosity and bright horizons.


Contributions are not tax deductible.
Paid for by Nader for President 2004 General Election Committee
202.265.4000 P.O. Box 18002,Washington, DC 20036

 http://VoteNader.org

homepage: homepage: http://VoteNader.org

DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY 15.Dec.2004 05:06

Open your eyes!

nader is a cia asset. to send money to this man is literally throwing it out the window.
wake up! the whole election was fixed and he was in on it.

this 'crock of sh*t' article is enough to make anyone who understands what has happened to our democracy regurgetate!

WAKE UP, KIDDIES. 15.Dec.2004 05:07

ALMOST BORED

tell him to borrow the money from his friend kerry.

How was he in on it? 15.Dec.2004 09:17

planetwarming

He has been highly critical of the election practices. I heard him on Democracy Now! radio show and that's almost all he talked about. As for Kerry being his buddy, his campaign's debt from the Democratic Party's ballot-blocking efforts show different. This is a very nice article about his life and the roots that gave him the foundation to be such a good leader to stand up for the rights of citizens and the environment that has done more than all of the politicians that have ever been in office put together. And if we are ever really going to do what it takes to address global warming voluntarily, it won't come from the two major parties.

(And I'm not a paid Nader campaign spokesman if that's what you're thinking.)

RIDICULOUS 15.Dec.2004 10:01

BORED FOR SURE

why didn't he check the fixed voting machines that had proven to be compromised himself ...before the election?

why didn't he talk about the compromised machines on his campaign trail at each city he spoke at ...before the election?

after the election?
wake up.
it's a done deal.

To "Bored For Sure" 15.Dec.2004 11:28

Sarah

To answer your questions: he did. I can't personally vouch for what he said at EVERY SINGLE campaign stop but all of the speeches I heard (both in person as well as televised or via audio recording) spoke of the "compromised voting machines" (to quote you). He did what he could to call attention to the problem before the fact and is doing what he can now to call attention to it after the fact.

I find it very interesting that you attack Ralph Nader for helping bring attention to a problem that we all agree exists and needs more people upset about just because you don't like the way he is doing it. It's quite easy to critisize, isn't it? What are YOU doing to help solve our democracy's problems??

I know it's been said many times before in various places on this website, but one of the problems with the progressive movement seems to be our inability to appreciate each other's efforts when we don't agree completely with their methods. As far as I can tell, we all have the same goal in mind...let's not forget that.

THEY'RE ALL MADE OF THE SAME CLOTH 15.Dec.2004 14:36

DON'T BE MISLED

i understand what you're saying but what you don't understand is that these 'half-hearted' attempts at democracy are only an act. that's why they are ineffectual.
do you mean to say... that if you and i were running against each other for the presidency and i fixed the voting machines so that you would definitely lose...you too would simply 'comment' on it?

what would be the point in campaigning if you did not have a chance in hell to win because of fraud?

wouldn't you also test the machines yourself?

and when you found them faulty (which everyone else did) wouldn't you invite the press to see your findings and literally scream 'foul' at every campaign stop until the culprit was accounted for and the problem corrected?

yes. that is exactly what you would do if you were an authentic candidate.

look at how luke-warm kerry was about even re-counting his own votes! he wouldn't even pay for it. look closely and you will see that perhaps nadars act is better scripted--more subtle-- but he is made of exactly the same cloth. he's a paid asset.

Real World Politics, My Friend 15.Dec.2004 16:37

Sarah

Thank you for responding.

In my opinion, Nader did more than merely "comment" about the voting machines. He waged, what I consider to be, a public awareness campaign in an attempt to educate the American public. Not dissimilar from Jimmy Carter's efforts pre and post election. The problem I find with your critism of Nader is that you seem to forget that he is one man...and a man who is really not all that powerful in the corporate-big money controlled political arena. When he was here for the nominating conventions earlier this year, we weren't ever sure what (or even if) press would show up when we summoned them for a press conference. Kerry/Bush/etc. are all able to garner an enormous amount of press coverage any time they so choose...now that's power. In any case, again the main problem I have with your critism is that it seems to be lacking a certain pragmatism. I wonder exactly how you suppose Nader would "test the machines" himself? Do you suppose the powers that be (those who controlled this election) would let him anywhere near the machines? Without the overwhelming support of the citizenry (which is difficult, if not impossible, to get without widespread media coverage) there is no way one man can demand and receive public testing of the voting machines (whether a candidate or not).

I understand your suspicion of any politician; it is a healty, warrented and necessary function of the political system. However, that is not to say that every politician is in cahoots with the ruling elite. I believe that there are some progressive people out there who really do have the citizen's best interest in mind- and I believe that Ralph Nader is one of them. Perhaps time will prove me wrong, but in the meanwhile, I think you would be better served thinking pragmatically and logically and asking yourself if you are asking the impossible of the people you criticize.

Bring Back Anarchy-Whatsisname ! 15.Dec.2004 18:52

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

Sure, he drives me up the wall, but at least he knows how to disengage the caps-lock key.

Besides, it's been weeks now since anyone's called me a Republican mole. This bums me out. :p

THE REAL SCENARIO BEING PLAYED... 15.Dec.2004 20:22

STILL HERE

(like a politician; takes too much energy to unlock the locked caps key)

he is one man but he is also a man that had a campaign to win.
he made many public appearances. he made no big fuss about any election fraud. mike ruppert has caused more of a stir with his book than ralph nader did campaigning... why?

our whole democratic system depends on the integrity of our vote, does it not?
why would any candidate even continue to campaign... if the voting machines are fixed? why? answer just that.

high school students were allowed to come and try to hack into the voting machines several months before the presidential election... and they did.

you mean, months before the election the candidates themselves were not allowed to test the voting machines that were already proven to be compromised?
clearly, that rule in itself would need to be put into question.

if it didn't make me cry, i might find it laughable that we still find excuses for these politicians.

again. look closely. nader is a paid asset.

Answers to your questions... 16.Dec.2004 15:08

Sarah

"WHY WOULD ANY CANDIDATE EVEN CONTINUE TO CAMPAIGN... IF THE VOTING MACHINES ARE FIXED? WHY? ANSWER JUST THAT."

Ok, I have a couple reasons why a candidate would continue to campaign... First of all, the voting machines of which you speak are not used in every single county across the U.S. So although the problems are widespread, there are still plenty of places that didn't use the machines. (This is not to rule out vote tampering by other means, but your issue seems to be specifically related to the voting machines.) Second, I don't come to the same conclusion as you that candidates should merely stop campaigning when faced with adversarial conditions. Think about the political vaccuum this would create. Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that all the candidates running in the presidential election were honorable, honest persons...then let's say evidence came to light exposing fixed voting machines and so these candidates dropped out of the race- stopped campaigning- suddenly you would have a deluge of power-hungry, less than honorable persons campaigning to fill the empty space left behind. Even if they missed the filling deadlines in some states, I am certain that with active (i.e. heavily funded) campaigns these candidates would have a good shot at winning even a write-in campaign. And then where does that leave us? I understand the effectiveness of a boycott strategy- I just don't agree with you that it would be a pragmatic and logical solution to this problem. Perhaps if the entire citizenry refused to vote until the problem was fixed, but to ask good candidates to withdraw from the system seems to logically lead only to more problems.

I also disagree with you that he didn't make a big fuss about the problems with the voting machines. In my opinion, he did. It's just hard for people to hear or to see that fuss when the mainstream media refuses to cover his speeches with anything more than a cursory mention of the "spoiler effect."

Lastly, I wonder where your critisism is for David Cobb and other progressive candidates? In your opinion, is Cobb (and others like him) also just a "paid asset" like Nader? I'm sorry, I feel that your critisism of Nader is neither reasonable nor consistent. Nader is neither a demon nor a demigod...he is a man who is trying to do good by the citizens of this nation. If you doubt his motivations, I urge you to look at the long list of consumer protections he has fought to make law. I just don't share your belief that a man that has done so much good for the people of this country and world would now suddenly abandon his proven beliefs and become a puppet for the ruling elite. Frankly, I find it inconceivable.

You seem awash in cynasism; so much so that finding logical and realistic solutions to our democracy's problems is out of your grasp. I wish, I think you may as well, that solutions to these problems were as easy as candidates withdrawing from the race; however, in the real world I just don't see that as a practical solution.

Sarah For president 16.Dec.2004 16:07

P.S. p2r9s@hevanet.com

Phew! What a response!

Election fraud did not start in 2004. It's been part of this "democracy" since the birth of this nation.

I was doing poll watching in Greenpoint (brooklyn), NY during the 2000 they had no fancy touch screen voting machines, no hanging chads, just antiquated 50 year old machines that barely worked. I personally witnessed hundreds being turned away because machines didn't work and they were out of paper ballots. No surprise this neighborhood was comprised of low income immigrants. Calls to the elections office proved pointless. My partner was poll watching in Manhattan, they had nice new booths, and very few problems.

I didn't expect Nader, or Gore to come down and test these machines. That's what people are here for, that's what I was there for. That's what the thousands of volunteers across this country were doing in 2000, and 2004.

I mean are we to abandon any chance of broadening the debate? Nader was able to speak to thousands around this country about corporate abuse, universal health care, and removing troops from Iraq. What else are we supposed to do? Hide away and let the entrenched power continue to gorge us?

This past election was only a bump at the begining of the road. No election is going to bring about the change we all want to see in this country. Did an election give women the right to vote? Did elections free slaves or bring about the civil rights movement? Only people retaking their power will shift this country.

Nader 2008:)

YOU WERE WARNED 16.Dec.2004 20:07

THE END.

you think what i am pointing to is because i am cynical?
no it is because i am not in denial.
you need to wake up.

you accept that kerry wasn't authentic but it was 'politics as usual'
you accept compromised voting machines too, as 'politics as usual'
you are exactly the reason why this country is no longer a democracy.

do you realize patriot act 2 was passed 700 to 35 last week, allowing for secret arrests and secret executions? what kind of men would pass such laws?
with these new laws, democracy was completely overthrown. do you understand that?
probably not.

all i can say is you are in for a very, very rude awakening...very, very soon.
but don't get cynical... remember, you were warned.

Thank you, Phill! 17.Dec.2004 10:49

Sarah

I don't know about President though....

I completely agree with you- it is our job, as citizens of this country, to do the monitoring.

And to my caps-lock debating partner: I think you are cynical because you seem to dismiss out of hand the possibility that perhaps there are candidates, such as Ralph Nader, who actually have the citizenry's best interest at heart. Furthermore, I do understand about the USPATRIOT Acts but I am unsure as how that speaks to your point. We are on the same page there- the PATRIOT Acts are destroying our constitutional freedoms. Where we disagree is that you seem to lump Nader in with all the other politicians in office- I do not.

I wish you would respond to some of the issues I raised rather than throw in irrelevant new "issues." I am curious to know how you would respond to some of the questions/ideas I brought up.