And other words from readers
Your letters on Ralph Nader keep coming and coming. Here are a few of the latest missives. (And if you just can’t read enough on this juicy topic, check out our first, second, and third batches of Nader letters.)
There’s a point that appears to have been missed in the Nader/Gore/Bush “wasted vote” debate. All of the letters I read have missed something about the way we elect presidents — namely, that we don’t; the Electoral College does, in a state-by-state “winner-take-all” system.
More than half of the states are committed to Gore or Bush already. If you are not in one of the few “battleground” states, a vote for Ralph Nader is not a wasted vote. The winner-take-all system means that if Bush is going to win your state anyway, a vote for Gore is a wasted vote. If Gore is going to win your state, then a vote for Ralph Nader won’t hurt and you can be free to vote your hopes and dreams instead of your fears.
I have long felt that my vote didn’t count for squat at the national level. I’m overjoyed to be able to vote for someone who reflects my long-held values. I figure I will make a greater difference by helping Nader get 1/2, or 2, or 5, or 15 percent of the vote than by helping “Gore/Bush, Inc.” get anything.
A vote for Gore or Bush is a wasted vote, unless you’re in a key swing state. Vote your conscience!
Santa Fe, N.M.
I agree Bush would be worse than Gore in the White House. However, in all but a handful of states, a vote for Nader is not a vote for Bush because most states are solidly for Gore or Bush by big margins. A vote for Nader in these states is truly a vote for change, and will not alter the outcome of the winner-take-all Electoral College vote. Read more on this in a TomPaine.com article.
Please don’t waste your vote on Gore in states where the outcome is solid.
I think it’s a bitter irony indeed that Nader’s candidacy is most likely going to be a crucial factor in getting Bush into office. Naderites think they’re being environmentally conscious, but all they’re really doing is dividing and weakening the opposition to Bush, thereby paving the road for more drilling in Alaska and countless other environmental offenses. Hell, Bush doesn’t even acknowledge that global warming’s really happening. He needs more proof.
Do these Nader supporters really think that our fragile environment (getting more fragile by the minute) can handle four years of Bush extraction and exploitation tactics? How tragic that in wanting to help, they’re actually going to act as the nail in the environmental coffin.
I’m not saying Gore is some environmental hero, mind you. But Bush is downright dangerous, and a vote for Gore is a vote against him.
Susan Craig Winsberg
Los Angeles, Calif.
For me the decision is clear — I’m voting for Nader. Why? On many of the issues that I care about — livable wage, health care, campaign finance reform, the death penalty, national defense, genetic engineering — the difference between Gore and Bush is minimal. Especially disturbing is the fact that I believe that they’re both wrong on these crucial issues. When it comes to the environment, Gore’s talk is clearly better than Bush’s. Gore, however, fails to realize that what’s destroying our environment more than anything else is the corporate donations being made to our politicians and the kickbacks that come out of this legalized bribery.
I live in Vermont where Gore’s leading Bush by 14 points. Why vote for Gore? He’s going to win anyway. By voting for Nader, I’m supporting the creation of a third party that will address the most important issues, which our politicians have blindly avoided. I was disturbed to see a letter from a Nader supporter in Texas who was going to vote for Gore because she didn’t want Bush to go to Washington. Has she forgotten about the Electoral College? Texas is just as certainly going to go to Bush as Vermont’s going to Gore. Her one vote for Gore won’t make a difference in Texas, but it could help Nader win the 5 percent of national votes needed to build the Green Party.
My advice to people considering voting for Nader is to look at the polls the day before the election. If it’s clear who’s going to win, then vote for Nader. If not, then the question is up to you. Me, I’d still vote for Nader.
The irrefutable bottom line on a vote for Nader is that it may very well result in the election of George W. Bush, and anybody who thinks that there is no difference between Bush and Gore hasn’t been paying attention.
Harry L. Cook
This Nov. 7, I will be voting for Ralph Nader. I am constantly asked how I can justify voting for Nader when it means that it may help Bush win. When did this become the equation? Why am I taking a vote away from Gore by voting for Nader? Why isn’t someone who votes for Gore taking away votes from Nader?
Ralph Nader is the only candidate who speaks with his mind and heart. His value system is not blown about by political winds like those of his rivals Gore and Bush. He is progressive, forward-thinking, rational, brilliant, and as near as I can tell, morally impeccable. He is truthful. He says what he believes. What he has done for this country is beyond measure. Every word that comes out of his mouth I agree with 100 percent, whether it be the need for a living wage, the need for universal health care, the need to end the death penalty, or the need to restore our earth and care for our environment. After every single word that comes out of his mouth, I literally want to scream “YES!” because for the first time in my life my views are being represented by someone running for president. Why on earth would I vote for anyone else?
Donella Meadows has lost it big-time with her support for Nader over Al Gore. The lost truth is that Ralph Nader has zero, no, nada qualifications for holding high office. He’s never run an organization bigger than his office staff and certainly never had to negotiate with a pig-headed Congress.
If he wanted power for the Green Party, he should have started like everybody else, running for city council or the school board, and building a base of experience. As it is now, he’s an egotistical spoiler, trying to wreck the only real environmental hope we have. Anyone who dreams that Bush can’t do tremendous harm in four or eight years is either too young to remember Ronald Reagan’s catastrophic mal-administration or simply out to lunch.
I find the assertion that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bus
h to be ludicrous. A vote for Nader is a vote for Nader; it doesn’t increase the number of Bush’s votes in the slightest. What it does do is send a strong message to both established parties that paying lip service to environmental, labor, and social justice issues is simply not enough.
If the Green Party can pull off just 5 percent of the popular vote, the party will receive federal matching funds in the next election. This means a lot to a citizen-driven movement that does not have corporate backing, as the Democrats and Republicans do. For real reforms to take place in this country, we need to elect someone who isn’t wedded to big businesses. Al Gore is firmly committed to the same sort of conservative compromising that brought us a weakened Endangered Species Act, an under-funded EPA, salvage-logging exemptions, NAFTA and GATT, decreased social spending, and increased corporate welfare.
In August, 100 of the most respected American grassroots environmental leaders from 25 states, including David Brower and Randy Hayes, formed the ad hoc Environmentalists Against Gore to urge all environmentalists to vote for Nader. The group issued the following statement: “If a candidate wins the presidency by pretending to care deeply about an issue, when he and the whole world know that he doesn’t really care, then that issue stops being important in American politics. For Americans who care about the quality of our environment, the one thing we cannot afford to do in this election is give our votes to Al Gore, a man who has betrayed his own vision and our only Earth.”
Contrast this with Ralph Nader, public citizen number one. If it hadn’t been for Nader’s activism, we may never have had an Occupational Safety and Health Act, a Clean Water Act, a Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, a Consumer Product Safety Commission, a Freedom of Information Act, the hundreds of Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) that dot the landscape on university campuses in dozens of states, etc., etc. Ralph Nader is running for president of the United States, and the only appropriate response is to get out there and work harder than you’ve ever worked before to help bring in at least 5 percent of the national vote so that he and the Greens are assured $12 million in four years to run a much more ambitious campaign.
A vote for Nader is not a vote for Bush, but a vote for Gore might as well be.
Al Gore’s campaign is not a movement. Political victories for the environment require an organized citizen movement. Ralph Nader’s campaign, if it gains 5 percent of the popular vote, will get matching funds for the Green Party, creating a lasting citizen-based institution that can fight for real change over the long haul, not just the marginal difference that Al Gore offers.
I plan again to write in Ralph Nader for president. For my family’s future, I must vote my values and those are most strongly identified and supported by the Green party. The so-called third parties are where the fresh ideas and perspectives come from. Ross Perot harped on balancing the budget and debt reduction. He was much more successful at affecting the national agenda than Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America.
I want more independence, I want a choice, I want my views represented. I’m for open debate and real leadership. I’m voting for Nader/LaDuke this year and voting my conscience. It is my right.
John H. Martin
I have heard Ralph Nader speak twice in the last three months and also marched in Boston to protest Ralph’s exclusion from the debates.
Al Gore has had eight years to prove his worth to the environment, to the poor, and as an opponent of the insidious problems that are this country’s own making: the “prison industrial complex,” an unabated and relentlessly cruel regressive taxation system, corporate welfare, the WTO and NAFTA, and so on. He has failed on all counts.
Voting for Al Gore in the wan hope that he will be “less damaging” than George W. Bush is to repeat a mistake we have made countless times in the past. Does it really soothe the conscience that, by electing Gore, our progeny’s suffocation by ecological collapse will be delayed a generation or two?
I will ask a question I have heard Ralph Nader ask several times. Just how low must our expectations go? It is past time, well past, to say, “Enough is enough.” Nov. 7 isn’t about them; it’s about us.
Volunteer Coordinator, Green Party of Western New York
I volunteer on the Nader campaign to the tune of about 30 hours a week. At times I feel so depressed I want to quit, but I continue my work for the benefit of generations to come who will someday read in their school history books about the American people who recognized that our society was living in fear and controlled by huge corporate interests, and how those people, endowed with understanding and foresight, fought to change a totally corrupt political system.
Believe me, I have heard all the arguments on voting for Ralph Nader and not voting for him. I have considered every angle and I have this to say: If Ralph Nader doesn’t get elected to the presidency on Nov. 7, I hope George Bush does! Why? Because, of all the frustrating situations I deal with on this campaign, the one that tops the list is the number of people who are lethargic about the whole situation. People tell me they love the planet but are not willing to lift a finger to fight for its protection. They are all too willing to let “others” do the fighting for them. If George Bush is elected president, I am confident many Americans will wake up and join the fight for a new democracy. If Al Gore wins the election, those same Americans will, I’m afraid, slip back into their television-induced, drugged state of lethargy, do nothing, and the country and the world will only slip deeper under the ocean of corporate and political corruption and greed. With Al Gore as president, the environment of our life-giving planet will continue to be polluted and destroyed, although admittedly a bit more slowly than with Bush.
How long are you going to wait? What kind of a world do you want your children to grow up in, and you to grow old in? When will you stop thinking of your own self interests and start thinking of what’s in the best interest of everyone on the planet?
If you are on the West Coast and are undecided as to whether to vote for Al or Ralph, I urge you to considering waiting to vote until you see what’s happening in the rest of the country on election day. If Gore is on his way to victory or if George W. is a clear winner, voting for Ralph Nader makes more sense. If the race is too close to call and the West Coast states will decide the election, I’d strongly urge a vote for Al Gore, because a win for the Republican will be a blow for the nation’s environment.
If you are on the West Coast and are undecided as to whether to vote for Al or Ralph, I urge you to considering waiting to vote until you see what’s happening in the rest of the country on election day. If Gore is on his way to victory or if George W. is a clear winner, voting for Ralph Nader makes more sense. If the race is too close to call and t
he West Coast states will decide the election, I’d strongly urge a vote for Al Gore, because a win for the Republican will be a blow for the nation’s environment.
The Nader supporters who don’t see any difference between Gore and Bush also rightfully see an environmental emergency in which each day counts.
Please, folks, count the number of days in a Bush administration that will actively work against the environment: 1,461. If Bush is elected due to votes for Nader, we can all blame Ralph Nader’s bloated ego and his silly supporters, instead of the right wing, when the world goes to hell.
While predictable, it is indeed shameful that presidential candidate George W. Bush is proposing to “fix” the current price increase in oil by opening up the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Fat chance. It would take at least 10 years to develop this wilderness into an ugly oil field before the first drop of oil would flow.
Opening up the Arctic Refuge is a major ploy of the oil industry, and has been for years. Why? Ninety-five percent of Alaska’s oil-rich areas are already open to the oil companies, as are virtually 100 percent of the offshore oil deposits. Only the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge remains closed to oil drilling, so naturally that is the “key” to “energy self-sufficiency” (read: bigger profits for oil companies when foreign oil prices rise). The best estimates for the refuge predict that it would supply about 60 days of U.S. oil consumption.
George W. Bush is dead wrong about opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to his oil cronies. Such a move would hurt wildlife and all Americans. In this era of budget surpluses, modest investments now in energy conservation measures and alternative, non-polluting energy sources will pay off, and these alternatives can be implemented much, much sooner than drilling in our last refuge for wildlife.
Mark J. Palmer
Director, Wildlife Alive, a project of Earth Island Institute