Democratic Underground

Confessions of a Former Naderhead

October 5, 2004
By Chris Honeycutt

Okay, I admit it, I voted for Nader in 2000 - but I'm not going to make that mistake again this year.

"Whoa!" say Nader supporters, "Don't you know that the two parties are identical? Don't you know that Democrats and Republicans are in cahoots?"

To which I can now respond, "Did you actually listen to the first presidential debate?"

This year the Democrats and Republicans have managed to put up two of the most dissimilar candidates in recent memory.

George Bush favors tax cuts for the superrich, the rape of the natural world and the environment, destroying alliances in the name of convenience, secrecy, robbing funds from education to pay for war, and the erosion of civil liberties.

John Kerry cares about the environment, clean air and clean water; he supports the use of allies to defray the costs of war and to legitimize the conflict to the rest of the world; he supports education; and, most importantly, he understands that supporting the troops involves more than waving flags and wearing flight suits.

He understands that really supporting troops means that they have proper body armor, proper education for their kids, a living wage, and good healthcare at home that will care for soldiers' damaged bodies and damaged minds, soldiers who have been harmed in that most noble duty, defending the country.

Kerry knows the difference between playing a soldier and being a soldier.

Any Nader supporters who have made it this far are probably saying to themselves, "Yeah, but Kerry and Bush get their money from the same place!"

I have some terrible news for these supporters. While it is true that some people donate to both campaigns, Kerry doesn't literally get money from the same people as Bush - but Nader does.

According to the Guardian, a liberal British newspaper, Republicans have been funding Ralph Nader's campaign [Republicans fund Nader as decisive electoral weapon, August 10, 2004].

This fact has two important implications. First, it means that the high moral ground beneath Nader has been significantly eroded. Nader has always professed that politicians listen to whomever funds their campaigns. Under his own logic he is now under the control of the Republicans.

Second, it implies that the Republicans are more afraid of Kerry than Nader, that they perceive Kerry as a greater threat. It also stands to reason that the Republicans are so afraid of Kerry - frightened enough to fund a rival political party - because Kerry will reverse the imperialist, pro-superrich measures of the Bush administration.

Nader supporters pride themselves on their idealism, their support of the environment, peace and the poor. I have one message for Nader supporters: take another look at John Kerry; I think you'll find what you're looking for.

Chris Honeycutt is a graduate student in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois.

 Print this article (printer-friendly version)
Tell a friend about this article  Tell a friend about this article
 Jump to Editorials and Other Articles forum