Vote conscientiously, not strategically
Voting for the Democratic party is like voting for ‘Bush-lite’
Michael Moore is visiting campuses to convince students to hold their noses and vote for John Kerry. Laugh at Michael Moore all you want, but don’t be fooled by his “cool” shorties, like “Bush and Kerry Both Suck — that’s Why I’m Voting for John Kerry.” Ha, ha, ha.
Voting against one’s conscience is serious business with implications for the entire system of democracy. Free people should choose their leaders based on the kind of world they want to create, not in a resigned surrender to the least of the worst.
Oh, Eugene Debs, Robert LaFollette and Henry Wallace — where are you to show Michael Moore that you have to have the courage to lose some struggles laying the groundwork so those who follow you can win. Moore has cut and run. He has shelved his past, very vocal criticism of the Democratic Party for abandoning the public good to corporate greed. He knows this is a party which has gotten regressively more gutless, spineless, clueless and hapless; bungled the election of 2000; and has continued losing to the worst of the Republicans for the past ten years at the state and federal levels.
And yet he rallies good people to become a part of that corrupt system, to sell out their values, hopes and consciences to vote for a candidate who is prepared to send them into harm’s way in prolonging an unprovoked war. It’s bad enough to become a turncoat to one’s friends and allies, as Michael has, but far worse to become a turncoat to millions of supporters who counted on him to continue challenging corruption.
Put Michael Moore to the test when he says, “I will do your laundry, I will clean your house, I will give you a year’s supply of beer nuts if you will commit to me to go to the polls on Tuesday, November 2nd.” Watch him claim he was just kidding–kidding so you can do his bidding in going for the least-worst of two choices–Kerry. Tell Michael to give you a list of what public demands he’s making of Kerry to offset the pull of corporate lobbyists on Kerry and the Democratic Party day after day. Tell him that if he makes public his Kerry demand list you’ll cook him a low-carb meal and serve it with carrot juice.
And then make your own demands on Kerry and don’t let anyone convince you that it’s time to be strategic to avoid four more years of George W. Bush. What “Anybody But Bush” gets us is Bush or Bush-Lite, because it signals the politicians and the corporations that all it takes is a fear campaign to get citizens to shut up and surrender our right to vote for candidates of our choice.
The only way to make lasting social change is to stand our ground as did the abolitionists, the civil rights leaders, the women’s movement and the great freedom movements across the world and throughout history. Leaders of these movements were told by both opponents and fearful friends alike to shut up and take it or it would only get worse – but to our society’s lasting and great benefit, many of them stood strong. Now the independent movement to free our government from the stranglehold of corporate greed faces the same standoff and there is no “some other time,” no better time, to stand strong. The struggle for justice must never be put on adjournment.
Young generation of Americans, stand with us in this historic struggle to return democracy to the people.
Ralph Nader is a candidate for president of the United States and can be reached at P. O. Box 18002, Washington, D.C. 20036 or www.votenader.org
Nader not the answer
Third-party campaign stuck in ‘dream world’
From the Rainforest
Disturbingly, I often come in contact with people who are so disillusioned with our election process that they refuse to consider a candidate from either “mainstream” party. They say we need a multiparty system to break free from the corporate “duopoly,” and that such diversity would spur a much more inclusive discourse on the national stage.
The time for such efforts is most certainly not now. No thinking person who actually cares for our country should support Bush, but the fact remains that many inexplicably do. In this situation it becomes imperative that we choose the candidate most able to defeat him.
With this in mind, I had a telephone conversation with Ben Marcus, the campus coordinator for perennial third-party candidate Ralph Nader. Speaking from his office inside the Beltway, Marcus addressed a few of the issues I have with Nader’s candidacy.
First, I asked whether the Nader campaign actually thought that his candidacy would hurt Bush more than Kerry. Marcus pointed out that a recent Zogby poll showed that 52 percent of Naderites would in fact vote Dubya (I was unable to find this poll). In contrast, John Nichols of The Nation cites polls done by The Nation Foundation in battleground states indicating that almost three times as many Naderites would vote Kerry (49 percent) as opposed to Bush (17 percent). Realistically, do you know even one Nader supporter who would vote Dubya?
Marcus claimed that the Green Party’s failure to nominate Nader was a result of their “by-lawing themselves to death,” and their hopelessly abstruse nomination process. Further, he also says that a large majority of Greenies support Nader over David Cobb.
As for Nader’s acceptance of Republican funds, Marcus candidly replied, “We’ll take money from anyone,” but remembered to add, “Ralph’s not for sale.” He cited figures (whose source he could not provide) that stated the Republican monies come from donors who had actually given to the Dems, Reps and Nader. Marcus believes that Nader is completely immune to the sway of money.
Of Kerry, Marcus said, “He’s an awful candidate. He’s basically promising us four more years of the same.” And, unnervingly, “Kerry stands for nothing” (sound like Fox News to you?). This is silly, as a quick visit to johnkerry.com (or a listen to his speeches) will easily show. Marcus went on to say that if Kerry doesn’t win, it’s “his own fault,” completely rejecting the idea that Nader has any effect at all on Kerry’s campaign.
All in all, I was left with the sinking feeling that the entire Nader camp is living in a dream world, one that the American people and the planet simply cannot afford. In a piece he sent to the Vanguard in response to Michael Moore’s visit (see left), Nader compares himself to Eugene Debs and Robert LaFollette, right in tune with Marcus’ assertion that any “true progressive” would support Nader “100 percent.”
Those who no longer support him, like Moore, are “turncoats.” This is far too much like Dubya’s “with us or against us” rhetoric, descriptive of a political messianic complex that wholly ignores the efforts of other progressives.
Ralph needs to stick to seat belts and stay away from the presidential race. This election is deadly important and we must assure Kerry’s victory, as he is not only an exemplary public servant and a good man, but also the only hope we have of unseating Bush.
I support the Green Party (which, in Oregon, has endorsed Kerry), and its goals and that’s why I’ll vote Teresa Keane for U.S. Senate and John Kerry for president.
Riggs Fulmer can be reached at [email protected]