cj#1145> Ronnie Dugger: 17 Very Good Reasons for Nader


Richard Moore

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

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

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
    --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

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

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

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