Ralph Nader, Tom Paine

Sup­pos­ed­ly, polit­i­cal­ly pro­gres­sive Amer­i­cans still need to decide whether or not to “for­give” Ralph Nad­er for “putting George W. Bush in the White House.” You know the idea: Nad­er went from being a tire­some and irrel­e­vant pub­lic fig­ure to being an out­right dam­ag­ing one by insist­ing upon run­ning for pub­lic office as a prin­ci­pled can­di­date, there­by split­ting the vote and keep­ing “real” and “viable” can­di­dates, like Al Gore and John Ker­ry, out of office.

Main­stream media–PBS and NPR included–either refuse to cov­er Nad­er or ridicule and vil­i­fy him–overtly or sub­tly. I’m sor­ry to say that the con­sis­tent­ly dark pro­pa­gan­da-por­trait influ­enced my own per­cep­tion of him over the years. Dis­tract­ed and lazy, I grad­u­al­ly bought the bogus propo­si­tion that by demon­strat­ing defin­i­tive­ly that we do not live in a real democ­ra­cy, Ralph Nad­er had done us wrong.

I’m over it. Ralph Nad­er isn’t a trai­tor to the left. (He isn’t tire­some or irrel­e­vant, either.) He’s a gen­uine Amer­i­can hero, right up there with Tom Paine. I was remind­ed of this recent­ly by a May, 2010 address that Nad­er gave in Seat­tle to pro­mote his lat­est book, a utopi­an “prac­ti­cal fan­ta­sy” called Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

This speech is an impas­sioned, informed, and inspir­ing piece of com­mon sense. And of course, being a speech by Nad­er, it’s a cry for orga­nized civic action. Tom Paine would be proud. It’s an hour and a half in length. You have the time. Repeat: you have the time. (One of Nader’s key points: we choose not to find the time to have an actu­al democ­ra­cy, and our mas­ters couldn’t be more pleased.)

Lis­ten to the speech. At this dis­mal moment in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, it might change your life. It’s in two mp3 files which you can down­load here, or stream in a Web brows­er here and here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.