============================================================================ Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2000 23:00:25 -0800 From: "Brian Hill" <•••@••.•••> To: <•••@••.•••> Subject: Fw: [toeslist] from Ronnie Dugger: 17 Very Good Reasons Why I am for Nader -----Original Message----- From: Drusha L. Mayhue <•••@••.•••> To: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••> Date: Saturday, November 04, 2000 13:34 Subject: [toeslist] from Ronnie Dugger: 17 Very Good Reasons Why I am for Nader 17 Very Good Reasons: Why I am for Nader By Ronnie Dugger [head of the Alliance for Democracy] (The writer of the analysis below is Ronnie Dugger. I was founding editor of the Texas Observer, out of which Jim Hightower and Molly Ivins also emerged. I have written biographies of Presidents Johnson and Reagan, other books, and many hundreds of articles for such places as the New Yorker, Harper's, the Nation, Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine. An article I wrote in 1995 in the Nation led to the formation of the anti-big-corporate Alliance for Democracy, a 501(c)3 educational organization which has about 60 chapters in the country. As a member of the Green Party, I was one of the nominators of Ralph Nader for President in 1996 and presented him to the Green Party convention that nominated him again this year. (I copyright what follows only for the purpose of preventing changes in it without my consent. Please, if you see fit, re-post and publish this below as widely as you can before Tuesday. If the New York Times, NPR, the Austin American Statesman, Pacifica, the Washington Post, or anybody else wants to publish or broadcast any or all of it, have at it-it's free. I shall appreciate any corrections sent to me.) ( Ronnie Dugger <•••@••.•••>) About 3900 words Copyright Ronnie Dugger 2000 I am voting for Ralph Nader for President for 17 very good reasons. 1. Only Nader is running against corporate domination of our democracy Large corporations and their associated billionaires have bought the government, making a mockery of American democracy. Our self-government is being suborned and replaced by big-corporate control of our work and our lives. "The basic struggle," Nader says, "is between the civic culture and the corporate culture. We either have a sovereignty of the people in this country...or we have a sovereignty of big business, which is what we have now where everything's for sale." Among the three candidates Gore, Bush, and Nader, only Nader is calling for a nonviolent civic revolt against this; only Nader is discussing and proposing plans against continued corporate domination and the intensification of the morally unbearable gap between the rich and the poor; only Nader and the Green Party have had the guts to run all-out progressive this year against the big corporations and the rich, the corporate media, and their two parties, on behalf of what America should stand for. 2. Nader is running to help build a new people's movement A student organizer for Nader, Karen Tuerk, told the Boston Globe: "There is a lot more at stake here than who is president." A reporter in the Midwest asked Nader, "Aren't you wasting your time?" He replied: "Am I known for wasting my time?" "It's about building the civic movement," Nader's campaign manager Theresa Amato told the New York Times, "so that fundamentally, there's a shift in power from corporations to citizens who want to take back their government." Only Nader is leading the electoral part of this fight to build a new citizens' movement to save the democracy. John R. MacArthur, the publisher of Harper's Magazine, responding to liberal Democratic friends who "persist in bludgeoning my conscience with the prospect of a Bush restoration--this in spite of their candidate's tight embrace of the cynical, neo-liberal ethic," says that if Nader and the Greens get the 5% which will entitle them to federal campaign funds in 2004, this will "give a voice to the increasingly powerless elements of society-- eason enough to vote for him." Nader knows exactly what he is doing. "The Green Party is not going to fade away. It has too broad an agenda. That's why the press doesn't get this campaign," he says. "We are building a historic, progressive political movement in America....We want to have a significant third party after November that will be a watchdog for the body politic. We want to send a message to the two parties that says, 'Continue on your inglorious path and you will lose votes.'" Building such an independent people's movement is a better way to defeat the right wing than voting for Gore. Professor Manning Marable of Columbia writes: "The best way to defeat the right is to build powerful democratic movements within black and brown communities, within labor, gay and lesbian, women's rights and environmental constituencies.....In the 2000 election, our overall objective should be not to elect Democrats per se, but to mobilize working class and the poor, to enhance African-American and Latino clout, and to defeat the Far Right. Voting for Nader in most states actually accomplishes these goals better than supporting Gore-Lieberman. In the long run, we cannot rely on the Democratic Party to defend the people's interests against the right. Only an independent, progressive people's movement challenging racism and corporate power can accomplish this." 3. The two-party system has become ethically obnoxious For corporate bribes, the leaders of both the major political parties have sold out the public interest to a corporate oligarchy; the two-party system has become an obnoxious ethical trap because of the corruption of the Democratic Party by corporate money. As Jim Hightower says, the trouble with the two-party trap is it goes on forever--it never ends. The democracy will only deteriorate further as long as the two-party trap continues year after year. If we consent to be clamped, year after year, into it, we are participating in the long-term destruction of democracy in the United States and therefore in the decline of democracy and justice on earth. The democracy cannot be restored until the two-party trap is destroyed. "We're going to smash the two-party system," Nader says. "It's going to start this year, and it's going to go on after." 4. Nader is the best qualified to Be President Nader is better qualified to be President than either Gore or Bush. Everyone who knows anything about Nader knows he is honest, he is for the people, and he will not sell out. As Professor Robert McChesney of the University of Illinois writes, "He is the smartest, most competent, and most honest figure in public life today. He is a national treasure." Arguing for Gore in the Nation, Robert L. Borosage starts by granting that "Ralph Nader...is the one great man in this presidential election." Nader is universally acknowledged to be Public Citizen Number One. Since General Motors sent its spies after him, the safety measures the government has ordered the automakers to build into their cars have saved, out of the deaths in car crashes that, on the projections, would otherwise have occurred, about a million of our lives. Not to mention our limbs. Nader founded Public Citizen, the Center for Auto Safety, Congress Watch, Public Interest Research Groups, Public Campaign, and many other civic-action groups. He and his Nader's Raiders are responsible for the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. He has already done more good out of office than most American Presidents do in. 5. You should vote for who you believe in An elderly voter said to Nader that he agreed with all Nader is saying, but that he was voting for Gore to keep Bush out. Nader asked him, "When you send people to Congress, do you expect them to vote their conscience?" "Yes," the old fellow said. "Then," Nader asked him, "why do you set a lower standard for yourself?" As a young friend of mine said to me, "casting your vote shouldn't make you sick." You should vote for who you believe in. I vote for Nader because I can do it proudly. 6. Fix the vote-counting system--then we'll talk Citizens should be expected and encouraged to vote for the candidates who represent their deeply-held views and rewarded for doing so by having their opinions represented in public life. There's something deeply wrong with the winner-take-all vote-counting systems in place in our country when, for example, the voter is called on in the presidential elections, decade after decade, to vote "tactically" so as not to help elect the candidate whom he or she detests. I refuse to fail any longer to vote my conscience, or even to hesitate about it, because the two parties in control have continued to rig the vote-counting system to penalize me, by my own lights, for doing it. This diabolical two-party trap is just the kind of partially concealed, ferociously practiced manipulation of the people which is provoking many of us to nonviolent rebellion, simply because the only other realistic option is accepting lifelong betrayal. If the Democratic powerholders don't like progressives voting for progressives let them enact proportional representation and instant-runoff voting so that a citizen's vote will accurately register his or her convictions in the public life. 7. I am voting against the real spoilers The Democratic powerholders and panicky liberals call Nader, the most respected citizen in America, a spoiler for running against Gore. Who is spoiling our country? The giant corporations, disloyal to their workers, communities and country, killing local businesses and family farms, buying our elections and our government--they are the spoilers. The two major parties, selling out to these corporations to secure their own pomp and power, refusing even to consider public funding of elections or single-payer national health insurance--they are the spoilers. The "New Democrats" of the Democratic Leadership Conference, taking secret money from secret corporations while selling out the people on issue after issue--they are the spoilers. Jimmy Carter, promising us national health insurance to get elected, and then as President saying--Oops, sorry, no money for that; Walter Mondale, refusing to tell us what public goods he would pay for by raising taxes; Michael Dukakis, refusing to stand for anything but "good jobs at good wages"; Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Dick Morris, "triangulating" the public good to get corporate rake-offs--they are the spoilers. Five days before the election-just yesterday-Marty Peretz, Gore's close confidante, argued in the Wall Street Journal that its readers should vote for Gore because "Mr. Gore is proposing the kind of program that used to commend itself to prudent and conservative people-Republicans, in fact." In case that didn't do the trick for his friend with the conservatives, Peretz also argued that Gore "was the fiercest proponent of welfare reform in the Clinton administration"-that is, one should explain, Gore was the fiercest proponent of the "welfare reform" that became welfare repeal. I vote for Nader to vote against the true spoilers, among them Gore. 8. Only Nader can be trusted on public funding of elections The one structural reform that will do the most the quickest, though, to return the United States to the control of the American people, is full public funding of all our public elections. Only Nader is advocating this in a believable way; only he is refusing corporate money, because, as he says, "just human beings should participate" in our elections. Bush is flatly opposed to public funding of elections and, to boot, in effect supports the corporate buyouts of our elections. Last spring Gore proposed that people should just up and give into a fund until it totals $7 billion, and then we'll use it to pay for our general elections. No contributions you made to this fund could go to your chosen candidate. The all-controlling big-party primaries would continue to be bought by the major corporations. And even Gore's sham trust wouldn't go into effect until eight years from now, which would be just after his eight years in the White House if he gets them. Among these three Nader, as usual, is the one we can trust on what matters. 9. Only Nader demands single-payer national health insurance now The health of all the people is not delayable, yet it has been half a century since Harry Truman called for national health insurance. And today we have 45 million Americans uninsured, unprotected. Bush calls national health insurance "socialized medicine." Gore was an unresisting major partner as the Clinton-Gore Administration sold out national health insurance with a nutty plan, cooked up in illegal secrecy, to keep the private health insurance companies in business. Now Gore uses that very Clinton-Gore fiasco to justify his continuing to fail to fight for national health insurance. Again, among the three, only Nader is fighting for single-payer national health insurance to cover everyone now. 10. Corporate-closed public discourse is destroying democracy The openness, honesty, and vitality of public discourse in the United States is at stake climactically in this election. Democracy cannot work if the people are not well-informed, yet the two parties now conspire with the corporate establishment to keep the vital issues and key new proposals off the national agenda and out of the people's thoughts, and the corporate media obligingly implement this destruction of democracy. As Sam Smith, editor of the Progressive Review, writes, "We are facing immense dangers that are concealed from us only because the two old parties and their media won't discuss them." Consider the three national TV debates that were controlled by the two parties' corporation-funded Commission on Presidential Debates so as to exclude Nader--even using the police to bar him from the audience even though he had valid tickets for admission. Not once during all this four and a half hours of TV talk by Gore and Bush did either one of them deal in any way with the campaign proposals from Nader which I will next enumerate. I vote for Nader as one step toward ending the grave and systemic prohibition against serious public discourse in the mass media in the United States. 11. I am also for Nader because of what else he is proposing The mass media, specifically including even the best newspapers, have focused on whether Nader will cause Gore's defeat while all but totally ignoring Nader's copious critiques and proposals. I vote for Nader because of what he stands for that neither Gore nor Bush will even discuss. Nader says let's have national health insurance now. -Let's have price controls on pharmaceuticals that are discovered in part by tax-paid research. -Let's repeal Taft-Hartley and help workers more readily organize unions. -Let's lift the minimum wage to $10 an hour. -Let's have another Marshall Plan to end poverty in the United States just as it has been ended in some of the countries of Europe. -Let's abolish capital punishment, that is, "state-sanctioned murder"; let's close all private prisons. -Let's end the drug war, coping with drugs not as a criminal issue but as a public-health emergency; let's legalize marijuana, and the production of industrial hemp. -Let's count our elections by proportional representation and instant-runoff voting; let voters register the same day they vote. -Let's eliminate culturally-biased multiple-choice standardized tests. -Let's accord gays legal civil unions providing them all the benefits and protections heterosexuals have in marriage. -Let's end hundreds of billions in corporate welfare. Let's vigorously prosecute corporate fraud and abuse; end corporate concentration of the ownership of the major media; assert citizen control of pension funds and our airways and our public lands; re-escalate corporate tax rates; keep the inheritance tax; subsidize solar and other renewable power; adopt higher fuel-efficiency standards; end clearcutting in the national forests; breach Snake River dams to restore habitat and flood control and protect salmon; "enforce the antitrust laws against agribusiness conglomerates," stop their mergers, prohibit meatpackers from owning livestock and grainpackers from owning grain, and establish "a farmer-owned grain reserve...and a non-recourse loan program for family farmers"; label genetically-engineered food. Let's stop the crazy plans for Star Wars; bring troops home from Japan and Europe; cut about a third in the military budget to provide funds for such needs as health care and education; abolish the World Trade Organization and renegotiate our trade treaties to protect workers and the environment; humanize our foreign policy so that we side with peasants and workers for a change. None of these proposals--not even one--I repeat, not a single one--is supported by either Gore or Bush or their corporate-bought parties. 12. In most states, the Don't-Help-Bush argument doesn't apply As Nader campaign adviser Steve Cobble writes, "In at least two-thirds of the country, and perhaps as many as nine states out of ten, a vote for Ralph Nader is not a vote for George Bush. It's really a vote for Ralph Nader." Electoral votes decide who wins the Presidency, and all of any state's electoral votes go to the winner in that state-- it's winner-take-all within each state--so "the Molly Ivins" rule obtains: if Bush or Gore is way ahead in your state, you can vote for Nader without helping Bush. As Cobble says, "A liberal Democrat in Boston or New York is free to vote for Ralph." And then, Cobble adds, there is the Michael Moore rule: if you didn't vote at all in 1996 you are part of the party of non-voters and should vote for Nader to build a new party. 13. I am not going to vote to be sold out until I die. Though I have "a free vote" in New York State, I would vote for Nader in any state. The Democrats in Congress and the White House have sold out the public interest too many times to have sufficient standing left now to ask for votes against Republican reaction. --Mouthing around about health care for everyone and then deliberately killing it again and again, right through to the present moment. --To turn out the black vote, blaming Bush's father for excluding the Haitian boat people; then Clinton turning back their boats. --Taking the multimillions from the corporation, but Gore playing populist hero again at election time by promising only to abolish soft money, which would make the people think we had "campaign finance reform" while leaving the fundamentally rotten system very securely in place. --Persisting in the dramatically failed "war on drugs" that has failed to reduce drug use and has filled American prisons with African-Americans. --Promising to help small business while blithely validating the obscene ongoing cascade of big-corporate mergers. --Giving away $70 billion worth of our airways to the media corporations that already have and use them to propagandize us. --Posing as friends of the poor while joining the Republicans in abolishing the long-standing federal guarantee of an income floor for poor families, driving a million poor families into the low-wage workforce to compete with other low-wage workers. --Posing always as friends of working people, but letting the minimum wage fall to a shameful level and never, never calling for repeal of Taft-Hartley and enactment of effective pro-worker laws. --Expanding the death penalty despite the proof in hand for a decade that it is highly racist in application and that we have been executing innocent people. --Limiting habeas corpus for people on death row. --Denying human rights to illegal immigrants. --Acceding to the corporate domination of American politics through political bribery and of world commerce through NAFTA, the WTO, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. There is just a limit to how many curdled puddings a sensible person should agree to ingest from the same cook. In their now-predictable servings-up of betrayals the leaders of the Democratic Party have exceeded that limit. 14. A conscientious voter weighs all the serious issues Bush would be likelier to appoint Supreme Court justices hostile toward abortion than Gore, but the ideological import of Supreme Court appointments is highly unpredictable. As Matthew Rothschild writes in the Progressive, George W. Bush's father appointed David Souter; President Ford appointed John Paul Stevens; President Nixon appointed Harry Blackmun, who wrote Roe v. Wade; President Eisenhower appointed William Brennan. Joe Lieberman sponsored Clarence Thomas, and Gore voted with his fellow Democrats to confirm Thomas--a Democratic-controlled Senate approved both Thomas and Scalia. Beyond that, this election is not only about abortion any more than it is only about any one serious issue. The more issues a voter can put into evaluative suspension in his or her mind when deciding how to vote the more conscientious that voter's vote is likely to be. Trying to cudgel voters on abortion or any one issue by weighing as if nothing all the other ones--say, the big-corporate destruction of our democracy, or our need for national health insurance, or for the public funding of elections--is manipulative and irrational. 15. The organization of humanity is at stake The subject of this election is indeed who will be the next President, but is also the subject of how the human race will be organized in the future. The subject is the Supreme Court, but it is also the 1.3 billion people on earth now who live in absolute poverty on $1 a day or less--the two billion people who have anemia and who have neither schools nor toilets to go to. Corporate globalization, supported by both Gore and Bush, is reorganizing the human race out from under nations into one global transnational oligarchy. Under that emerging new system if you don't have money to spend you don't count. The United States may be the only nation-state in the world strong enough for its people to be able to rise up from within and confront this oligarchy and join with people's movements everywhere to establish international democracy. And only Nader, among these three candidates, has stood up to the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and the world's corporations on behalf of a human race whose organizing principles should be democracy and economic justice for everyone. I am voting for Nader, not only for the next four years in this country, but also for the future of the human race. 16. I am voting for Nader with anger that he is under personalattack It's standard procedure for Democrats just before the election to demonize the Republican nominee while enforcing hypocritical silence among each other on the Democratic candidate's sell-outs. But this standard procedure is now coupled with malevolent personal abuse of Ralph Nader that deserves to be rejected with intensified citizen defiance. For example, the New York Times, in one of its editorials just twelve days before the voting, for the second time argued ad hominem against Public Citizen No. 1 that Nader's "wrecking-ball candidacy" was "ego run amok." Then, nine days before the voting in the course of endorsing Gore, the Times said that "Ralph Nader and his supporters...when they say there is no real difference between [Gore and Bush]....are being dishonest, and dangerously so." What Nader says, honestly and from the perspectives of his campaign correctly, is that there are few significant differences between the two. Today, just four days before the people vote, in another lead editorial, in the course of two paragraphs the Times makes three astounding ad hominem attacks on Nader, for example, accusing the only one of the three candidates who is running with a woman for Vice-President of "male chauvinism carried to a new extreme." This, then--being called a dishonest male-chauvinist egomaniac--is Nader's reward from the venerable New York Times for having the integrity and courage to defy the two-party trap. I have the fundamental right to vote my conscience and outraged by these personal attacks on Nader I vote for him in hell's despite. 17. I vote for Nader as an act of nonviolent rebellion Jim Hightower, arguing for Nader, says, "It's time for a new American revolution." What is lost if votes for Nader throw the election to Bush is less than what is lost if we do not rebel now against the corrupt, corporate-dominated two-party duopoly that is debasing and destroying our country. The system has closed at the top against the people. I listen respectfully to and do not seek to anathematize those who will vote for their second choice for President because of the two-party trap we are in together. But if we do not nonviolently rebel against our entrapment in all this corruption and privilege, by our continued submission to it we let down our own and our nation's highest ideals and billions of people all over the world who will suffer under a worldwide transnational oligarchy. Nader is the only one of these three candidates who is fighting the onrush of that oligarchy, and he has both taught and shown us that we all still have fighting room--we still have our tools and our rights as citizens and as voters. If this year, on the threshold of the new millennium, with such a person as Ralph Nader endeavoring with all his integrity, knowledge, and passion to lead us into a new generation of "the politics of joy and justice"--if we do not rebel by voting for him now when will we ever rebel? If not Tuesday when? --30-- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Visit "Resources for Democracy" at http://bozeman.bigsky.net/drusha The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. -Bertrand Russell ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ -------------------------- eGroups Sponsor -------------------------~-~ eLerts It's Easy. It's Fun. 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