Ralph Nader: An Opportunity for Change

by Jan Baughman

November 6, 2000



With the US presidential election just hours away, the media is bursting with ever more speech bits and sound bites; the same old analyses and the same old criticisms from the same old candidates and the same old pundits, presented by the same old talking heads, night after night after night. Juxtaposed are the stories about voter burnout and voter apathy, and it's almost understandable, given our choices. Yet, it is disconcerting to hear from people that "I don't have the time to think about who to vote for", or "I can't decide between Bush and Gore, so I probably won't vote", or "I'm still undecided". If you haven't decided yet, the chance of having an epiphany soon enough is highly unlikely. You don't have time to think? What an easy non-choice, with your above-living wage income and retirement plan, your health insurance and mortgage to think about, the time required to think about the cost of a gallon of gasoline and an ounce of caviar and whether your newborn scored high enough on his Apgar test to get into Harvard. So if you still don't have time to think, perhaps I can help a bit.

Why is it so hard to decide between Gore and Bush? Because they are one in the same. In fact, both would like you to believe that they are just like you -- simple folk, the boys next door, decent, hard-workin' Americans. Bush promotes himself as a Washington outsider, actually believing we have forgotten that his father was president. Al Jr., another political son, goes through great oratory acrobatics to laud his government experience while distancing himself from the president. You can try to ignore the fact that you're not comfortable with your vote for Bush, or your vote for Gore. Go ahead, just try. But don't complain when you wake up on November 8 to the realization that you're in bed with both George W. and Al Jr. and their entire power base. Do you honestly believe that when this election is over, Bush's faux concern for you will last, or that Gore and his "I'm fighting for you" politicking will be translated into meaningful change? They'll take your vote and run with it. Whether it is Bush's family dynasty or Gore's, this corporate interest or that, their respective positions are merely variations on themes, and if you actually think that one or the other wants to forego corpocracy for democracy, you'd better let me continue to do your thinking for you.

Perhaps you are concerned about the number of people in this country without health insurance, or whether your elderly parents will be able to afford their medications. Both Bush and Gore want you to entrust them with your health. But will either be able to break with their corporate sponsors and Congress to end the stranglehold that exists between for-profit medicine, insurance companies, and our litigious selves? Not likely in our lifetime, let alone in the next four years. The closest thing we see to some sort of universal and humane commitment to ensuring the well-being of individuals relates to the mandated treatment of laboratory animals, guaranteeing them proper housing, exercise, food and a compassionate death. Rodents have mighty powerful lobbyists, and they don't even get to vote!

So if you are content with the status quo, just stay home on November 7. Perhaps if we continue along the same path election after election, with the same non-choice between lackluster candidates, the lack of ideals and lack of accountability leading to zero voter turnout, voting will be eliminated altogether and some larger entity will simply choose our president for us. That way, we won't have to find the time to think about these difficult matters every four years.

But let's assume for the sake of argument that you have a strong, vested interest in the future because you have strong, vested interest in your children's future, your parents' future, your own future, or anyone else's future, for that matter. Are you willing to take a stand for real change? Imagine an election in which the decision is difficult because there are so many GOOD candidates from which to choose! Imagine an election where third-party candidates obtain federal funding and are given serious media exposure, can participate in debates and raise politics to a new and higher level! Imagine voter turnout increasing because people feel a part of the process and that their opinion matters! Imagine not struggling over which candidate is the lesser evil! Imagine real change!

Please, imagine the possibilities, think for yourself, and vote for Ralph Nader. No, he is not going to win this election. But if we don't demand change in our current political system, it is not going to be offered to us. So, vote for change. This is an important step in the right direction.


Related links

Why Are They Crucifying Ralph Nader? by Gilles d'Aymery

Politics Of Fear And Politics Of Hope by Rick Rozoff



Resources on the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath


Articles Published on Swans Regarding the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath

Published November 6, 2000
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