...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, February 23, 2004
      ( 11:41 AM )
The Dems Go All Drama-Queen

Calm. Down.

From the way the "Yikes!" gang has responded to Nader's announcement yesterday, you'd think that the Second Coming was upon us and Jesus had "GOP" on his t-shirt. I think people need to take a step back and see that Nader's run as an independent neither threatens the Dems, nor is it wrong for him to do it. I remain unapologetic for voting for Nader in 2000 - the Dems DID look like the Republicans, and they were trying to look like the Republicans. In 2002, they tried the same thing again. Now, we're faced with a Dem party that is going back to the same old, tired and LOSER plan for running against the GOP. Nader is right the Democratic party has once again failed to show any creativity, courageousness or desire for risking change. I don't think it's a coincidence that he waited until Dean dropped out to make his announcement. If the Dems were going to actually embrace a truly new path, then the party wouldn't have done everything it could to get rid of Dean.

Here are a few reasons why I think it is good for the country for Ralph Nader to run for president:

He is an American Citizen and has the right to run. If nothing else, Ralph Nader shows us over and over again how one person can make a difference in this country if they just have the courage to speak out. His long career of public service shows that. But more than that, the juggernaut the two main parties have on the political process is not what was intended by our system's founders. Nader has a right to run for President, and if we deny him such, then we are committing fraud upon ourselves as citizens.

Why shouldn't voters have more than two choices? They should. Yes, we all want to beat Bush, and I have no doubt that we will. But people who will vote for Nader wouldn't have voted the main parties anyway, and why shouldn't those voters have a truly genuine third choice on their ballot?

Ralph Nader tells the truth. What Ralph Nader says about corporate control of basically everything in this country is important, and everyone needs to hear it. It is a very serious issue, and the Dems, while their candidates are addressing it more than they ever have (thanks to Dean), do not go far enough. Of course they can't - they have to stay within the mainstream of their base. But Ralph can, and that is why him running is a good thing - he will say the things that must be said. An independant voice will keep the other candidates sharp, just as Dean's voice did for the other dems.

He won't take votes from the Dems. It is pretty obvious the massive amount of ABB support there is across the country. The Dems don't need to worry about Nader and should simply let him run his campaign. They will be faced soon enough with trying to fight the Bush machine and need to focus on making their campaign the best it can be. That is what will keep all the ABB supporters in the fold. Gore ran a trash campaign. He knew it then and he knows it now - look how much more progressive his rhetoric has become. He didn't remain true to his beliefs or the promises of his party and that's what lost in 2000, not the independent voice of Ralph Nader. The Dems shouldn't make that mistake again, and I don't think they will (Especially if they choose Edwards). Ralph running doesn't endanger the ABB vote, so that excuse should be put to bed.

He is not a "spoiler." He is a citizen and he has the right to run for president. People need to get off their high horses and have a little more confidence in the electorate and in their own messages if they are afraid that Nader will take votes from them. Treating us like we're stupid and we can't tell the difference is what ended us up with a pansy-assed party like we have now. If we keep along the path of reform that Dean has inspired and that Edwards is now following, then that is all the power we need to win voters.

He will make local elections come alive and be fair. The two parties have divied up local electorates so that those in power can keep their power. Basically, they've done a deal so that once you're in Congress you can stay in Congress. That is why so many seats go completely uncontested. The entry of Green and Independant candidates into races will be healthy for our country and will shake up the status quo in Congress. It's time to start at the local level and make changes, and Ralph Nader inspires and helps people to do that. This is a truly valuable contribution to our electoral and representative process.

Last week, The Nation published an open letter to Nader asking him not to run. Nader has replied in kind. Those who would profess to speak out for the progressive causes of this nation and for those citizens who are left behind by the corporate powers that be cannot demand that those who dare to continue to fight the machine and a system that cripples us all should stand down. Nader's concluding remarks say it all to those who would tell him "Don't Run":

The Nation has rarely been a hostage
to prevailing dogma and electoral straitjackets. Its
pages have articulated many "minorities of one"
over its wondrous tenure and has watched many
of its viewpoints today become the commonplace
of tomorrow.

I have not known The Nation to so walk away
from those engaging in a difficult struggle it
champions on the merits, in a climate of conventional
groupthink--much less with a precipitous prognosis
of a distant outcome governed by a multitude of
variables. Discussions and critiques from a distance,
after all, are a dime a dozen in an election year.
O apotheosis of the exercise of dissent inside
and outside the electoral commons since 1865:

"Don't walk."


I will support Ralph Nader's right to run as long as he chooses to do so.

All that being said, I will be supporting John Edwards for the nomination and hopefully for president. Kos lays out some good reasons why he is doing the same. I believe that the way forward is to look to the future for the party, and if that means incremental steps, then Edwards is the way. If the party and the voters want everything to stay in the same old patterns and maintain the status quo, then Kerry is their choice. For now, with the choices I have, I believe that John Edwards will continue to be the best choice for us as a party and a country.

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