I really really like Ralph Nader (plus a shameless plug to hear my voice)…

Before I say anything really substantive, I should say this.  As of July 12th, 2008 at 9 a.m. in the morning, I knew virtually nothing about Ralph Nader.  I had heard a little about his consumer advocacy, but I thought he had primarily carried the auto industry effort out against Chrysler Corp, not General Motors.  I had seen some pictures of him, but never known what he stood for.  I had heard the nasty rhetoric from Democrats in 2000 when they claimed he “lost the election” by tipping the balance from Gore to Bush.  And that’s all I knew.

July 12th, 2008 was the day that changed.  

Bethany and I happened to be in Richmond for a church annual meeting, and had the morning off.  To kill some time and relax a bit with each other, we ate at a diner, then browsed around in a local bookstore with lots of dusty books and a dog named Copyright (I’m not kidding).  While we were browsing, I happened to see a flyer on a corkboard towards the middle of the bookstore that advertised a Ralph Nader rally taking place at the Virginia Holocaust Museum downtown.  I was immediately intrigued, and though Bethany was initially reluctant at first, she agreed and off we went.

I won’t go in-depth into what Nader had to say, but I will give you a link to a Youtube account that recorded his speech (in 7 parts, I believe); it’s well worth watching. The man is brilliant, an example of integrity, and very accessible.  I am much less cynical about the possibilities of America now than before.  I also had an opportunity to ask a question (after debating whether to stand up, clammy hands, shaky voice and all) to Ralph, and he graciously responded (I’m the disembodied voice).  

Here’s the video.

And yes, sadly, I rambled in my question, but I was N-E-R-V-O-U-S.

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9 thoughts on “I really really like Ralph Nader (plus a shameless plug to hear my voice)…

  1. I’d like to see Ralph Nader and Bob Barr debate. It’d be much more interesting than McCain/Obama. Of course, I’d much rather see all four of them up there debating – the fact that Republicans and Democrats can keep third-party candidates on the fringe of the debates isn’t helpful to anybody. Even if it doesn’t change anybody’s votes, it would keep important discussions about the role of government on the table.

  2. Dang, you guys are dropping the hammer on me!

    I know I brought it on myself, but I’m serious, my knees were knocking. At least I didn’t start reading out of the phonebook, right?

    And Derek, I couldn’t agree more about inclusion of Nader and Barr in debates with Obama and McCain. The original intent of political debates in our country was to create a healthy discussion of challenges we face to more fully shape Americans’ minds. I’ve heard of how many hours Lincoln and Douglas debated with entire towns coming out…and this was before either of them ran for office! That was a different time, but the banality of our present debates illustrate how partisan and lazy our citizenry has become.

    I guarantee you this, if just Nader is thrown into the mix (because I don’t know much about Barr), a debate would get a whole lot more interesting. But of course, since the debates are controlled by the two parties, that might expose how much they are controlled by big corporate interests and have relinquished democracy to pursuit of profit and power.

  3. Thanks for that Nate. I like this guy. He tells it like it is. Sounds like you may have listened to him before church this past Sunday. Good for you.

  4. We only dish it because we know you’re tough enough to take it, Nate. You did get a pretty rad response out of the man. Props for that. It’s pretty lame how little substance is discussed by candidates now, especially considering the myriad mediums for discussion now available. I guess that is indicative of both the partisan corporate interests and the intellectual apathy of the general public. I doubt either will change anytime soon…

    I also stand by my previous statement that we should hang out. For reals.

  5. Ryan,

    I got a pretty rad response because Nader’s a pretty rad guy. I’m totally crushing on him….in a political-leader-with-integrity-thus-giving-me-hope-kind-of-way. And you’re right about the partisan corporate interests (Murdoch and Fox News, anyone?) and intellectual apathy (because COPS and Extreme Makeover Home Edition are on) of the general population. We should hang out.

    Nate

  6. Pingback: Happy Birthday Ralph and Elaine! « Thoughts and Ruminations

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