The Real Ralph Nader

There are a lot of things people don’t know about Nader.

Any time the name ‘Ralph Nader’ comes up, it is sure to stir controversy. It is like waving a red flag in front of the Democrats.

We’ve heard it all. “He’s too old”. Let’s look at that one. Would it be acceptable to say: “He’s too white, too Hispanic, too black, too short, too tall…” Ageism is one of the most destructive prejudices that can exist in any culture. It devalues and trivializes an entire class of people — sometimes those with the most experience and wisdom.

Other cultures understand this. They value their elders. Only in the United States do we not ‘get it’. The current trend would put Nader on an ice floe and replace him with a kid who just spent four years at a keg party. That is the view promoted by the culture.

Now is a time when we should celebrate all who contribute to our survival, young and old. Age is irrelevant at a time when a 29-year old and other relatively young men are making enormous contributions. Not only is age irrelevant, but also we need to take another look at the ‘paper chase’. Edward Snowden has taught us that being a high school drop-out is not necessarily a bad thing. Self-education will be the way of the future.

We also hear: “Nader can’t get enough votes.” The right come-back for that one is: “No shit”. (Sorry for the less than creative language there. That’s the only response I can come up with for that old argument.) A more polite answer would be, if the voters were capable of critical thinking NADER would win any election with a land slide. Holding any candidate responsible for the actions of voters is fuzzy thinking.

Voters — not candidates — are responsible for every vote they cast. Voters have created the current conditions by consistently voting for the ‘lesser evil’. Never, never, never let them off the hook. Every ballot has a ‘write-in’ option. There is no requirement to vote only for candidates selected by a Party. Voters have unlimited choice. Our survival depends either on ballots or bullets. Bullets have no conscience. Voters should.

There are a lot of things people don’t know about Nader. He is smart. Most people know that. Even his critics admit that. Most do not know that he is guided by a strong sense of justice and morality.

Nader is one of the most egoless Statesmen this war weary nation has ever seen. I can prove that. Back in the 1970s the Electric Company had plans to build a floating Nuclear Power Plant off the coast of Atlantic City. A small group of citizens in Cape May, NJ fought this proposal. They were getting no where until Nader came from his home in Washington and helped. He came at his own expense. No fanfare. No publicity. The floating Nuclear Plant was never built.

Nader is motivated by conscience. The list of Conscientious Objectors to USA policies is growing: numerous progressives have been joined by Greenwald, Assange, Manning, Hammond, Snowden, and many others. Nader was one of the original COs.

We owe him a lot. He might never be President. Instead he will always have an even higher status… that of Super Statesman. He is honest. He is moral. He is incorruptible. He cannot be bought. That is more than we can say about those we vote for and elect.

Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. Read other articles by Rosemarie.