I remember the first time that I heard Ralph Nader speak as I was in the car listening to public radio in 1997. What he was talking about and his conviction gave me goose bumps. A phenomenon that doesnt happen too often for me. I was late to my meeting because I wanted to hear who this revolutionary thinker and eloquent speaker was
Ralph Nader. Three syllables that when strung together stood for a world that was fair and just. I supported every virtue that this man espoused. It was almost too good to be true. To hear a vision for society that was long-term, for the people, all inclusive, un-influenced by special interests, and completely and totally sane.
Granted, with a degree in Environmental Studies, I was a bit leftward leaning. To hear a political leader take our watered-down and corporate infiltrated democracy to task was a breath of fresh air. It didnt matter what the topic was
fair trade, corporate welfare, campaign finance reform, education, environmental responsibility
you name it, Nader scored 100 percent every time for me. Just how often do we hear that voice that reminds us of our potential?
Two years later, Ralph Nader was filling auditoriums with people who wanted something more. Who believed in what he was trying to do.
But, it was during the 2000 campaign that the sweetness of Naders ideas began to taste like vinegar. The simple statement that there was no difference between the two candidates sounded like an outright miscalculation. Even political rhetoric. It simply was a gross error to say that that one could vote for Gore or Bush and end up with the same result. Ralph is at it again with the same line only a different name. Kerry or Bush. No difference.
Only this time, we have the benefit of hindsight. Lets look at two straightforward issues: The Iraq War and Environmental Policy (no surprise).
Would Al Gore have led the nation into war with Iraq if he had been president? Would Gore have been responsible for killing four times the number of innocent Iraqi civilians than the total number of U.S. citizens that died in the trade center attack? Would Gore have rolled back the wilderness roadless rule? Would Gore have pushed a tax cut that benefited the wealthiest one percent of America or developed a Healthy Forests Initiative that increased the cutting on National Forests tenfold? Would Gore have allowed increased mercury and arsenic levels in drinking water? These questions could go on for pages and in the interest of keeping it simple, the answer to these questions is No. Across the board.
So given that Ralph Nader was wrong then, should I listen to him now? My answer is no.
Despite my respect for what most of Naders life work has been about and the need for more than a two party system, my biggest reason for not voting Nader is What if?
What if Gore and not Bush was president for the past four years, would there have been a significant difference? Would the world be a safer place? Could the $200 billion that has gone towards the war in Iraq been used instead for schools and creating a renewable energy infrastructure?
Maybe. So now I find myself, like many others, asking why would one vote for Nader after seeing what Bush has done in just four years. With Kerry receiving the highest environmental rating of any senator by the League of Conservation voters, you know where my vote is going. Not just because he has a long-term vision that would go much farther than Bush when it comes to the legacy that were leaving behind for our little ones, but because deep down, despite his imperfections, it is as plain as day that Kerry is not the same as Bush. In the same way that an elephant is not the same thing as a fox even though they both have four legs.
At the end of the day, I imagine that if youre a Nader voter, then its about principle for you. Youre sick of an ill system that both parties have helped to create.
But even a principled person has to have the wisdom of good timing and frankly a vote for Nader helps to keep Bush in office.
Its why Bush supporters have lobbied, under vague acronyms, across the country to ensure that Nader gets a spot on the ballot.
Its why panelists on Real Time with Bill Maher sunk to their knees and BEGGED Nader to pull out of the race.
Voting for Nader is voting for Bush.
Wheres the principle in that? n
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government will hold an informational meeting on Thursday, October 21, from 6pm - 9pm at Jessie Clark Middle School to discuss the proposed Clays Mill Rd. improvement project.
The school is at 3341 Clays Mill Rd.
Between 9pm and 6am, South Limestone St., from Virginia Ave. to Leader Ave., will have alternate directional lane blockages through Friday, October 22, due to construction of an overhead pedway.
The following forums are sponsored by Lexington League of Women Voters and Lexington Urban League Young Professionals:
22nd Judicial Circuit - Division 3
State Legislative Race
More than 10,000 books will be on sale on Friday, October 22nd and Saturday October, 23rd at the International Book Project (IBP) bookstore located at 1440 Delaware Avenue, between Winchester Road and Henry Clay Boulevard.
The IBP bookstore has books ranging from adult fact and fiction, childrens books, home school textbooks, and hardback and paperback novels.
Info, 859/ 254.6771 or
The Park Church Outreach program will be collecting winter coats, and mens clothing Saturday, October 23 from 11am - 2pm.
Drop off your old coats at 645 E. High St.
For those of you undecided voters, WUKY will broadcast the PBS Frontline biography The Choice of both George Bush and John Kerry Monday, October 25 at 8pm.
Info 859/ 257.3221.
The Downtown Lexington Corporation, Kentucky Utilities and the Kentucky League of Cities present the 3rd Annual Kentucky Stars Recognition Ceremony and Reception at the Kentucky Theatre at Tuesday, October 26 at 6pm.
John Lee Lair, Gwen Reardon, George Ella Lyon, George C. Wolfe, George Zack Bobby and Sonny Osborne will be honored.
So far this month, The Breast Cancer Site community has clicked to fund 270 mammograms for women in need.
Less than two weeks remain until the end of the Pink Ribbon Challenge (http://www.thebreastcancersite.com). Another 230 mammograms must be funded by November 1st to achieve the goal of providing 500 mammograms for working poor and uninsured women.
To submit an advocacy/activism activity or event for Quickies, email email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.