November 13, 2000
Here are a few opinions sent my way and the short personal comments they generated:
From California: "Don't ask me about Nader. I'm really mad at him right now! He threw the election to Bush."
Hmmm, were these 3,000,000 voters not entitled to voting as they saw fit, in the same way as you did see it fit? And what about Perot in 1992 and 1996... Were you also mad then? And was Ross Perot subjugated to the same violent and relentless attacks as Nader is drawing?
"No, I did not vote for Nader. He was right about the issues though. But it's just that the timing was wrong. Anyway, had he been elected, even if he had been, you hear, it would not have changed anything because of the Senate and the Congress. It's the entire system that needs to be changed."
When will the time ever be right? When it's preordained? Then Gandhi should never have walked to the sea to collect the salt. Mandela should never have spent 27 years in jail. Jesus the politician should not have been born...
"No, I did not vote for Nader. I strategized. Nader's voters were strategizing, too."
Well let's wait for the harvest...
"I grew up being taught that your vote counts and that you vote according to your conscience. I voted accordingly. I did not strategize."
Believe it or not, there are still such people in America. 3,000,000 of them...
From Florida, in answer to the question, "So, is it your husband's vote that's in the balance between Bore and Gush?" "Heh, yeah. He was Nader all the way!"
... who vote according to their conscience indeed.
From the Midwest: "Gore and Bush are getting what they deserve and in the long run so are the American people. We must look quite intelligent to the rest of the world (pun intended): Dead people vote. A dead man is elected to the Senate in Missouri. The dead man's wife will soon be taking over the seat. A senator (Lieberman) runs for both his senate seat and the vice presidency. Gore concedes the election and then retracts his concession shortly thereafter. Jews vote for Buchanan. And on, and on. The frightening part of all this is that half of the people aren't even aware of the extent of what's going on and the other half does not seem to care or realize how bizarre this entire situation is."
Remember, only half of the voting population voted, so your halves are really quarters and they could not find the world on a map anyway. Still, a pretty bleak picture of our state of affairs...
From a Nader activist, in answer to the question: "What's your biggest disappointment?" "It's that millions of people who knew better - in 'swing' states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon and Michigan, but even more in 'safe' states like Illinois, California and New York - crawled on their stomachs, sniveling, back to the Democratic Party...the abusive spouse who promises one more time not to beat them any longer..."
Harsh opinion, but fear is the lowest common denominator in the US society. Confronted with a relentless and unprecedented warmongering campaign against Ralph Nader, the uncommitted Nader voters jumped ship. It was predictable. Forgive them and focus on the 3,000,000 who put conscience before fear and strategy.
From a witty Naderite: "Someone said to me, 'Oh, I really wanted to vote for peace, for decency, for some semblance of a humane society, for the rights of workers and consumers, and for the environment, but that Republican - what's his name again? - really scares me!' And I wondered, with 44 million uninsured people and counting, 2 million imprisoned people (a majority for non-violent offenses) and counting, 250 to 300 billion dollars spent on 'defense' against nobody and counting, wars raging throughout South America, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle-East and counting, a growing police state and God knows what more, why, for good sake, is that person not scared? It's amazing all that doesn't frighten this kind of voters!"
Same as above... People live 90 percent of their lives in fear. It doesn't leave much time for clear thinking.
Are we marching into a constitutional crisis? "Not really," answers another correspondent, "since we have been in one for years now, a rampant crisis made of gridlocks and total control by the same political and corporate interests."
I'm not a constitutional historian, sorry. So, I'll pass on this one.
From Mr. Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times: "...We may now need some version of national unity government.... A government that reflects the fact that the electorate is so divided neither party has a mandate for its agenda and therefore must rule from the center, with a cabinet that looks like the electorate..." [Op-Ed, Nov. 10, 2000]
It all depends on what the definition of is is, once said a famous comedian, future talk-show star and former president. Humor aside, it would be enlightening to hear Mr. Friedman's definition of "center." And if his closest approximation is defined by the last eight years then I need to take a course in the new creative meanings of the English language!
From a wise friend under the radar screen: "Given the apparent tenor of the election results, whether or not Bore or Gush emerges, I expect two bureaucratic/media responses:
1) As the tenor appears to be nationalist in quality, there will be increased efforts at enemy creation, both domestic and foreign.
2) Although the vaunted Internet seemingly failed to stem or to deflect the tides of un- or marginally democratic tendencies of the voting publics, efforts will be made toward control and commercialization far beyond those already experienced."
Undoubtedly correct on both accounts. And people will continue to vote out of fear until or unless they remember Gandhi, Mandela, and Jesus the politician. Meantime, as the saying goes, we have the government that we deserve. Sadly enough, we do not deserve much!
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Dear Mr. Nader - by Gilles d'Aymery
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