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