Ralph, Ralph, Ralph
July 20, 2004
we gotta talk. About 2004 and the election. And about common sense.
I know you're a man of principle. You've fought for the consumer
for the last nearly fifty years. Cars have mandatory seatbelts because
of your concern. That's probably saved a lot of lives. Your idea,
PIRG, is still doing good things in the states (but, you gotta do
something about paying your canvassers a living wage).
I know you really get upset at the degree of influence big corporations
have on the political process, and that you're equally upset with
Democrats craving that big money just like the Republicans (hey,
I'm pretty annoyed at it, too). Truly effective and complete campaign
reform would be the cat's ass. The ever-loving cat's ass.
I know you think there's little to no difference between the Dems
and the Repubs. And, you're right. The Republicans are taking long
strides to the right, and too many of the Democrats are trying to
keep up with them. Doesn't bring us back to the days when the Democrats
truly represented the interests of the working people of the country.
That's got to be something we have to work on in the years to come.
I thought it was a great idea that you had a smart, well-spoken
woman on your ticket in 2000 as VP. I voted for you and Winona LaDuke
in 2000, but only because I wanted to see the Green Party get a
sufficient percentage of the vote to remain on future ballots and
because I thought my state was safe from a win for Bush (little
did I know that the vote would be so close).
But, Ralph, my vote didn't mean I thought you could win. Truth
is, in one guise or another, you've run for President three times
now (2004 would make your fourth try), and your best showing was
2.77% of the popular vote in 2000. After three tries at bat, it's
not likely that a majority of the electorate is going to make a
U-turn in your direction in 2004.
Despite the fact that Republicans are trying to get you on the
ballot, and contributing to your campaign, it doesn't mean they
want you to win - it means they want you to run, to take votes from
the Democrats and ensure that Bush gets elected to the Presidency,
for the first time. They're rooting for you to get in there, but
they aren't going to be voting for you. The Green Party liked you
in 2000, but they're leery in 2004.
Rightly or wrongly, you got pegged as the spoiler in 2000. Add
up all the nutcases running in the Constitution Party and its ilk,
and their votes probably exceeded the ones for you, but there's
a difference - they took votes from the Republican right wing. Your
candidacy took the votes of the most progressive thinkers on the
left. And, like it or not, if you weren't running, those votes probably
would have gone to a Democrat. And, like it or not, those votes
meant the difference in a very crucial state, when all was said
and done. Yup, Gore blew it big-time with his initial DLC patter
and his choice of a sanctimonious corporate friend for VP, and he
should have done much better and saved you from the being labeled
the spoiler. We wouldn't be having this discussion if Gore had won
his home damned state.
But, Gore didn't, and the Supremes pretended that Bush was a black
sharecropper and gave him the benefit of the 14th Amendment, and
look at what's happened. Look what's happened. Just look.
The neo-cons are running the show now, and are running the country
into the ground. Four more years of them, and there won't be ground
left. With all the shenanigans the rigid, rabid right have been
pulling with judgeships and then using those judges to uphold partisan
redistricting plans, we'll effectively be a one-party country in
2008. You won't have to just read about Tom DeLay in the Washington
Post, you'll have to deal with him in your face, telling you
what to do. Don't think you'd care for that - I certainly wouldn't.
I know you have a right to run. I know that you want the best
for the country, to undo all the damage corporate money has done
to the people's government. I believe you truly want to correct
that. I believe that with the right message and an honest news media,
that message would influence a lot of people. But let's get real.
The news media isn't honest. You got almost as much media exposure
as did Gore in 2000, and not a whit of the love and affection shown
to Bush. Now that Bush is the incumbent, he's going to flat ignore
you, and if he ignores you, the media will, too.
It's not right, and it's not fair. But, truthfully, "Mr. Smith
Goes to Washington" was fiction. Uplifting fiction, but fiction,
But, here's the absolute bottom line lowdown: You can't win. You
can only influence this election in a way which could end democracy
in this country. I don't know if you've noticed or not, but the
only ethic the Bushies have is to win - nothing else matters. And,
they have some distinctly fascist tendencies (hope you've been reading
the papers lately). And they want to turn this country back to a
time when people like Ralph Nader were strung up from trees without
trial and free beer was available for the onlookers.
Ralph, Ralph, Ralph. Here's my advice. Ask for five minutes at
the Democratic Convention in Boston next week. Stand up before the
assembled delegates and say, "I know I can be a good President.
I know I can return this country to its best and brightest ideals.
But, I can't win in the current political environment. However,
I don't wish to be the person who catapulted this country back into
the Middle Ages by helping George W. Bush and his axis of evil retain
the White House. I'll make a deal with all of you. I'll ask my followers
to vote for John Kerry and John Edwards in exchange for the right
to pester the shit out of them whenever they fail to act in the
people's best interest. Is that a deal?"
Then wait for the applause, Ralph. And, you're a lawyer. Don't
forget to get their agreement in writing.
punpirate is a New Mexico writer who doesn't want Ralph Nader
to fade away, along with the country's future.