And other words from readers
A number of the following comments on campaign 2000 and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader are responses to a set of letters published previously.
I read all the letters posted on the Nader-Gore-Bush debate. I had planned to vote for Ralph Nader, but with the benefit of so many other perspectives, I realize that my vote is more important to keep Bush out of office.
I live in Texas and it is clear from an environmental and educational standpoint that Bush is a Neanderthal and a pawn for the oil and gas industry. Sure, Gore and Bush are both bought and paid for and maybe not far apart in their political philosophies, but I think it will be easier to gain Gore’s support for cleaning up our air and water and protecting our wildlife and the environment.
As so many of the letters said, I needed a reality check. This is not an ideal world. I don’t want a vote for Nader to really be a vote for Bush. I found it naive that a couple of the letters said to listen to your heart and vote for Nader. Nice in theory, but as the realists put it, those votes might make “a green statement,” but there are not enough to put Nader in office. So, I am listening to what I hear as the voice of reason and voting with my head.
I’ve had the recent pleasure of hearing Ralph Nader speak — he is clear, intelligent, truthful, and realistic about the need for leadership in rescuing our environment. In 1991, after reading Earth in the Balance, I felt much the same way about Al Gore. But candidate Gore seems to have lost the zeal he felt then, knuckled under to big money interests, or decided to play it safe against the environmental disaster Bush represents.
It is good that Nader makes Gore supporters nervous — perhaps Gore will get the message that “It’s the environment, stupid.” That is one reason why I’m supporting Nader with time and money. On Election Day I reserve the right to be pragmatic, but for now it’s “Go Green — Go Nader.”
After years of choosing between Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dumber-still, I’ve decided that Nader’s charge of a governmental duopoly is too generous. Our “two” parties are the Republican Party and the I-can-be-just-as-Republican Party.
If anything, having a Republican president solidifies the opposition. Too many progressives and centrists sit back and relax when the I-can-be-just-as-Republican Party is in office, with the result that more damage gets done more quietly. The only way out of our abusive relationship with the big-D Democrats is to make a clean break and walk away, no getting tempted back with, “It’ll be different this time!” It never is. So I’m voting for the small-D democrat, Ralph Nader.
Ralph Nader for president? Get a grip, people! Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that Nader actually wins. How does he plan on getting his policies and ideas made into law? Does anyone really think that he’ll get any support from Congress? Or is he just going to run the country by executive decree?
Politics is a game of negotiation and diplomacy, and Nader’s credentials are lacking in both areas. Therefore, he would be destined to be a lame duck president from his very first day in office, leaving the country in the hands of Congress.
The Clinton-Gore administration has done a lot of good for the environment and the country. Unfortunately, Republicans and environmental extremists choose to look more at Clinton’s personal life, and then use that to justify their views on his policies. Bush is the worst, most dangerous threat our environment has had to face in years (he’s already admitted that he will turn back the clock if elected), and Ralph Nader has unwittingly become his biggest ally. I’m voting for Al Gore in November.
It is disappointing indeed that Grist chooses to publish letters such as the one warning that Bush would appoint the “radical religious right” to the Supreme Court. The letter fits a greenie stereotype that hinders progress on environmental issues every day. A commitment to environmental responsibility does not preclude fighting for the rights of children. On this issue, Nader fails miserably as a caretaker of God’s creation.
I carefully reviewed the Gore-Bush-Nader letters in Grist and saw that the discussion missed one very important and concrete — not symbolic — reason to vote for Nader.
Whether or not the Greens win a single seat in this fall’s election is irrelevant if they can capture a sizable portion of the vote. By simply scoring a margin that attracts attention, say 10 percent, you can be sure the Republicats will begin to integrate some of the Green platform into their own agendas. It happened four years ago when Ross Perot’s crew made a rush and tripped. And we all know that the duopolists will readily rewrite their holy scrolls when it suits their political ends.
I’m voting for the Greens because the louder the splash, the more people will hear the Green agenda, and some of it will actually be “reinvented” as Democrat or Republican.
The real problem with the Nader-Gore issue is that the U.S. uses a plurality system for electing the president instead of a majority system. If runoffs were allowed in the presidential election, everyone could vote for who they want in the first round and then vote for who they have to when the runoff comes around.
If you think we should vote for Gore because a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush, then maybe you should be campaigning for election reform. If Nader is right about the dangers of a two-party system, then election reform is one of the most important reforms possible toward a more progressive society in the U.S. Write your congressperson with your feelings on proportional representation and majority elections.
I do not expect the Democrats to do the minimal amount necessary for the environment. All things considered, I am supporting Nader.
I think the fact that so much effort is spent arguing about wasted votes is a strong indicator that we need another voting system and people should seriously consider proportional representation and instant runoff voting (see the Fair Vote website).
Re. the Anderson comment in a past letter: I worked in the 1980 Anderson campaign in Massachusetts. I have not heard anyone I know say that they regretted supporting Anderson. I have never regretted my support for Anderson.
Did you ever get the idea that bringing about political change is very much like paddling a canoe, starting a garden, raising good kids, or working to accomplish a difficult task or goal that will encompass hours, days, years of blood, sweat, and tears, then bring happiness and contentment?
Due to decades/centuries of corporate influences, our country/world boat is a long way from the land of clean air, soil, and water, the land of social justice, equal opportunity, and good health for all.
By voting for Nader, we are changing the course of this boat. Small are our voices, but our efforts will attract those who agree with this idea but don’t think that it can be done. Bush and Gore, too, will pass, but our descendents will thank us for using courage and voting with our hearts.
New Paltz, N.Y.
You bet I believe my vote makes a difference. I won’t be voting for Nader and thus be voting for Bush. People have made that kind of choice before and put in people who have hurt the environment terribly using the kind of logic that says there’s no difference between Bush and Gore. I’m more convinced than ever now that I should vote for Al Gore.
Mai Lon Gittelsohn
Del Mar, Calif.
The real scam in Gore’s nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention seems to have passed without any comment. That was when Gore implied that by mapping the human genome we were close to finding the cause for cancer. Despite recent publicity pointing out that genetics only accounts for, at most, a third of cancers, Gore is still trying to cover up the real cause of the skyrocketing cancer rates — toxics in the environment.
The real muck is that a Democratic vice president known as an “environmentalist” won’t say what’s true: Far more cancers are caused by industrial pollution than by genes. Genes are great because they’re nobody’s fault and the only thing to do is pour more money into drug companies; pollution is a no-no as a cancer source because it would mean having to grapple with our pollution problems, and that might cost big contributors money.
See Sandra Steingraber’s Living Downstream for an excellent introduction to this topic.
East Lansing, Mich.
Re: Bobby’s World
I’m glad Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is trying to help people see the obvious about Ralph Nader’s campaign. Kennedy can count, anyway. A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush and for a sweeping conservative overhaul of environmental laws, abortion laws, and the Supreme Court.
Thanks to Ralph Nader and his blindly loyal supporters, we may have a Bush environmental disaster. Their intention is great, but the rules of this game say: Bush or Gore — choose!
Your news summary implies that George Bush and Dick Cheney are conspirators determined to destroy the environment. By not pointing out the flaws in the reporting or disagreeing with some of the outright lies and/or misrepresentations of Bush’s and Cheney’s decisions and votes as public officials, the enthusiastic folks at Grist do us a disservice.
Bush appointed the chemical company lobbyist, mentioned in the Democratic advertisement, to enforce Texas’s environmental regulations to ensure that there was someone at the top who knows and understands how the violators can cover up their practices and get around the regulations. It works on the same principle that if you want to stop a drug dealer you’ve got to think like a drug dealer. In addition, the person Bush appointed is, like many of us, a parent and has stated that he wants to leave the world a better place for his children and grandchildren.
Moreover, I followed Cheney’s voting record when he was in Congress. He is also a parent and grandparent who wants to leave behind a cleaner, safer environment. In response to the charges that he voted once against the Clean Water Act, Cheney stated that, although he wants to ensure clean water for everyone, he could not vote for a bill that prohibited debate, prohibited amendments or changes, and was attached to another piece of legislation with which he disagreed.
I feel confident that if Bush and Cheney are elected, they will represent the interests of their children and grandchildren when it comes to a balanced policy on the environment, especially on energy issues like nuclear waste and other pollution-creating problems.
Michael W. Botello
As a native of Texas, I just love the people who squawk about how dirty the air is here. They never wonder why it’s that way, it’s just something they can whine about. Ahh, the work of the brainless must be tiresome.
The majority of the pollutants measured under the U.S. EPA’s clean air rules come from two sources — vehicles and industry. People from across the nation and the world have been flocking to Texas by the hundreds of thousands each year. Why, you might ask, do they come to Texas? Maybe it’s because Texas offers the promise of a better life than their own pathetic state does.
Most of the newly arrived Texans drive cars or ride buses. All these people need essentials like food, water, housing, and electricity. To get these essentials, somebody somewhere has to “pollute” by growing the cows and crops, processing the food, manufacturing the lumber, pumping the water, and generating the electricity. So, unless the almighty brainless ones are eating wild-grown foods, living in trees, making their own clothes from hemp, walking wherever they need to go (yes, even manufacturing bicycles causes pollution), catching rainwater in non-manmade devices, and basically living like wild chimpanzees, their comments on Texas air quality are moot. You see, even the ones who wear tie-dyed shirts and flowers in their hair are causing pollution.
Give us a break from your incessant whining. If you’re serious about saving the planet, shut down your electricity-hogging computer, climb down from your ivory tower, and don’t read this unless it’s hand-carved on a piece of bark that fell off a tree. While you’re at it, don’t come to Texas. The air’s dirty down here, ya know?
San Antonio, Texas