Monday, November 01, 2004

A note about Ralph Nader

A kind reminder from 1% of American voters

The blog has been going now for less than one whole day, and I have received my first collection of hate mail. To be fair, a couple of people have sent me gentle reminders that Ralph Nader is also a candidate in this year's Presidential Election. I guess that depends on how you define "candidate." But Ok, we'll address that.

A couple of others have berated me for not including Nader in my previous posting about the election. So, I thought I would address directly the 1% of the American public who consider themselves Ralph Nader supporters.

First of all, I have no problem with Ralph Nader as a person. He's actually quite intelligent and interesting, which are two qualities not inherent in our current President. There is an informational link in the title of this posting, if you're interested in learning more.

I would probably support Ralph Nader for President and be more accepting of his supporters, if he or those who support him would do two things for me:
1) Admit that Ralph Nader helped to elect George Bush in 2000. We can argue about the number of votes and whatever from here to eternity, but be honest: if Nader hadn't run in 2000, Gore probably would have won Florida, winning the election, and keeping the whole mess out of the Supremely Conservative Court.
2) Recognize that some of the largest backers for Ralph Nader this year are Republicans who realize that Nader will probably siphon votes away from John Kerry. This makes Nader a political tool of the Republican Party.

I completely agree that we need more options than just two parties who are owned an operated by the private sector. I think if you wanted to, you could argue that Ralph Nader is the best candidate for President in this election. I don't think Nader is the best candidate, but there's a larger issue here.

When it comes to Presidential elections, I think it's very important to be realistic, and realistically, Ralph Nader's candidacy is simply there to help Bush win, even if that's not what is intended. I can hear the political idealists screaming "But Ryan, I don't agree with Kerry or Bush, why should I vote for one or the other, when there's another option?" I'm not telling you who to vote for. I'm asking you to acknowledge the impact of your voting decision.

Most of the Nader supporters I have talked to said that they want to force a change in the political structure of this country. Ironically, in the present election, the decision to vote for Nader will likely have to opposite effect. I think a political change in this country is long overdue, but don't stand behind Ralph Nader waving a sign for change, when your decision to vote for him will likely reinforce the status quo. There are many things you can do to affect changes politically, but supporting Ralph Nader is not one of them.

Our political world would be a much better place, if Nader and his supporters accepted their role in the current political process.


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