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.)