By Jim Smith
I want to start this article about why you should vote for Ralph Nader by saying that I hope Barack Obama defeats John McCain. There is some difference between them on domestic affairs. Unfortunately, Obama wants to create a new Iraq war in Afghanistan, encircle and provoke Russia with a ring of NATO countries. He is not a peace candidate.
In California, Obama is miles ahead – 52 – 39 percent – at this writing. In 2000 and 2004, Gore and Kerry carried the state by more than 1.25 million votes – a landslide. Obama will get all of California’s electoral votes. In our convoluted democracy, popular votes don’t count, only electoral votes.
How can we, in Venice, make the best use of our valuable votes? By making it even more lopsided for Obama, or by voting for Ralph Nader? If you live in Venice, there is probably much more on which you agree with Nader.
Ralph Nader’s platform includes the following. Neither Obama nor McCain is supporting any of these issues. Check the ones where you agree:
_____ Law and Order, Not Bailouts, On Wall Street
_____ Adopt single payer national health insurance (remove corporate profit)
_____ Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East, withdraw troops and corporate contractors from Iraq and Afghanistan.
_____ Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget
_____ No to nuclear power, solar energy first
_____ Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare
_____ Adopt a carbon pollution tax (reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere)
_____ Living wage for all; Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law (all workers should have the right to join a union without being threatened with firing)
_____ Open up the election process and the Presidential debates (Nader is on the ballot in 45 states, yet he is barred from the debates)
(Detailed information on these and other issues is available at www.votenader.org)
Ralph Nader advocates a rapid withdrawal from Iraq. He is opposed to war with Iran. Both Obama and McCain say war with Iran is still “on the table.” Either of the two major candidates is likely to trade a “war” in Iraq for a “war” with Afghanistan. Nader has been opposed to U.S. intervention in Afghanistan from the beginning. He says the U.S. should abide by international law when going after terrorists. Ralph Nader is of Lebanese extraction. When he has a family reunion at his home, he can see the Middle East from his living room!
In the recent confrontation between Russia and Georgia, both major candidates immediately sided with Georgia. Nader explained that Russia is angry with U.S. and NATO activity on its borders. “Why are we trying to surround a large country like Russia that already has reasons to feel paranoid,” said Nader. “It’s as if we are trying to start another Cold War,” he continued.
Let’s get one thing straight. Ralph Nader did not cause Al Gore to lose the presidential election in 2000. In fact, Al Gore won the election. It was stolen from him by George W. Bush and the Supreme Court. Had Nader not been in the election, the result would have been the same. If you want to blame someone for Bush getting in the White House, blame the Democrats for not fighting harder to defend our right to a free, democratic election in 2000 – and 2004.
Nader’s campaign is aimed at addressing the real issues that the candidates of the two major parties ignore. But it is also focused on the future. Without courageous candidates like Ralph Nader, we’ll be stuck with corporate-sponsored political parties that are beholden to the rich and powerful.
We can, and should, celebrate the possible election of an African-American as President of the United States. And, the inclusion of a woman as the vice-presidential candidate of the Republicans is a step forward for that party. These candidacies are symbolic of equality for people of color and women. Yet, the election of either one will not fundamentally change the living conditions of millions of Blacks or Latinos, or women. Real change for most working people will have to wait until a candidate with a platform like Ralph Nader’s gets elected.
Ralph Nader is on the ballot in California because he is the presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party. It’s important to support third parties, like P&F, that provide another voice in the political arena. Don’t sit on the sidelines by registering “Decline to State,” or by remaining a Democrat (it only makes them feel complacent).
Register and vote for the California Peace and Freedom Party. Learn more at www.peaceandfreedom.org. Visit Ralph Nader’s website at www.votenader.org. In Venice, call 310-399-2215. Vote Ralph Nader on Nov. 4.