Monday, February 25, 2008

Anti-choice 'Democrats'

I see Ralph Nader is running for president this year.

I originally had a different essay written about this but I changed it. Nevertheless, it feels like the movie Groundhog Day. Nader runs for president again. And the same tired, baseless attacks on him surface again.

He is vain. He is an egomaniac. His ego is out of control because he thinks he's the only one who has solutions for this country.

Hillary isn't power hungry. Obama isn't vain. McCain isn't arrogant. But a man who's devoted his entire life (and nearly all of his earnings) to public service is the devil incarnate.

I'm sorry but in my opinion, the belief that you can do a better job than any of the other candidates is the ONLY legitimate reason to run for any elected office.

Let me say that again: the belief that you can do a better job than any of the other candidates is the ONLY legitimate reason to run for any elected office.

His most unhinged critics are not Republicans, but people who pat themselves on the back for being liberal minded.

Nader is a spoiler. He stole votes from Dems in '00 and '04. He elected George W. Bush.

Most people realize that these are just empty lies. Lies designed to deflect the fact that the Democrats are so pathetic that they lost two elections to a candidate as terrible as George W. Bush.

(And let's be honest: the '00 race should never have been so close as for the Supreme Court to matter.)

There is a difference between legitimate and illegitimate criticism of Nader.

Legitimate criticism includes disagreement with his policies and priorities. Legitimate criticism includes saying he has the same platform as another candidate. Legitimate criticism includes questions about his ability to implement his ideas. I may not agree with such criticisms but I can accept them as fair topics of discussion within a democratic framework.

Illegitimate criticism of Nader includes saying he shouldn't run. Illegitimate criticism of Nader includes saying that he's a vote stealer or is hired by Republicans. Basically, attacking his integrity for no other reason than he's running for president.

Votes are never stolen (except perhaps from Diebold machines). They are earned. Anyone who says that Nader or Mike Huckabee or anyone else steals votes from an opponent is telling a bald faced lie. A lie that demeans the very essence of whatever's left of American democracy.

Democracy is too important to trivialize it by turning it into just another sporting event with a point spread. Heck, even sports are not decided on paper. So I don't care one iota if the pundits think he's going to win. It's not up to them to decide. It's up to all of us to decide.

Is he going to affect the election? I certainly hope so. I hope he's going to affect the election by putting a further spotlight on the problem of corporate control of our politicians. I hope he gets enough votes that the Democrats will finally get the message that they need for their own sake to tell their corporate owners to go packing.

I realize this is a long shot. If the Dems refused to get this message after 2000, I'm not sure it'll happen this year. But what other progressive candidate even has this on the agenda?

And if the Democratic Party apparatus doesn't get the message, I hope its members will finally acknowledge the sad reality and leave the party.

Ralph Nader represents a point of view that neither Sens. McCain nor Obama is advocating. He represents a philosophy that's diametrically opposed to Sen. Clinton's. I still might vote for Obama. I'd never pull the lever for McCain or Clinton. But Nader is filling a void and no honest citizen ought to begrudge him that.

If he gets a lot of votes, it's because his ideas are popular. If his ideas don't resonate (or aren't given a chance to), he won't get many votes. So where exactly is this crisis that anti-Nader liberals are bleating on endlessly about?

Some people say Nader is an egomaniac because he's offering people the chance to actually vote for a good candidate. How dare they! I can not express how much I resent it when people attack him (or any other candidate for that matter) for giving people another choice. It offends the core of my very beliefs as an American. How can anyone call themselves a democrat, lowercase d, when they do that? Who the heck do these people think they are to unilaterally decide who should run?

If you don't like him, don't vote for him. If you think someone else is better, then make the case for them. It really is that simple.

I know many good and decent people who won't vote for Nader. If you vote for whomever you honestly think is the best candidate of them ALL, I have no problem with that. I will never reproach anyone for voting their conscience. Just treat me with the same respect.

The problem is that many liberals refuse to do that.

In one of the forums I frequent, I read many obnoxious anti-Nader comments but this one particularly stood out:

Its because of Nader that we have had 8 years of George Bush. I do think the republicans hire him to run each time they see the elections getting close. The democrats should just have him knocked off.I don't blame them for trying to stop him. He knows he can get no where but he will take democrat votes as there are a few loonies out there who will vote for him.

I found this woman's comments incredibly offensive. I've read many anti-Nader comments, some fair if misguided, some irrational and unhinched. But this was one of the most insulting things I've read.

Look at what she said in one short paragraph. Because of the simple fact that he ran for president like thousands of Americans before him and because millions of Americans chose of their own free will to vote for him, she made the following claims:

-Nader is responsible for 8 years of George W. Bush
-Nader is a Republican employee
-Nader should be assassinated and if he were, she would excuse the murderer
-Nader steals votes from Democrats
-Anyone who votes for Nader is a loonie.

That's what infuriates me. The way many liberals attack Nader is in reality an attack against those who support Nader. It's not the fact that they criticize him but the way they criticize him.

What they attack is not his ideas. They don't even talk about his ideas because they agree with most of them and they know in their brains that his beliefs are closer to theirs than any top-level Democrat. What they object to most is the mere fact of his candidacy. His candidacy brings to light the discomfort many of them feel in an increasingly unprogressive, corporate owned Democratic Party. Nader's candidacy forces them to face this unpleasant reality. They can't attack his ideas so they attack the character of a man whose integrity is unimpeachable.

They know he's more right on the ideas than any of the major Democrats so, like some talk radio yapping head, they say his mama wears combat boots.

I should be used to this empty nonsense by now but it still annoys me. The reason why is not so much what they're saying about Nader; it's what they're saying about me. It's what they're trying to do to me. These people are calling me an idiot and a loonie. But more importantly, they're trying to disenfranchise me and every other American citizen who might want to vote for him.

These people are just as anti-choice as the anti-abortionists so many of them condemn.

I'm sorry some liberals have such a visceral objection real democracy but they're just going to have to get over themselves.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Ditto. These attacks are absurd.