Re: [sixties-l] To Nader or not to Nader

Date: 10/30/00

  • Next message: Chuck Zlatkin: "(no subject)"

    In a message dated 10/30/2000 8:04:02 PM Central Standard Time, writes:
    << For myself, I am leaning strongly against voting for Nader.  Here is my
     thinking so far:
     1. There is no doubt that voting for Nader would help George Bush get
     elected.  In Washington, Oregon, and California Bush has a real chance of
     winning, largely because of Nader's support. 
    So what??  I am one of those weirdos who believes in voting your 
    conscience...not your expediency.  For some, a vote for Nader is just 
    that...a vote for Nader.
     2. A Bush Presidency would have tremendous costs, and cause a lot of
     damage to things progressives hold dear.
        Polluters would write major environmental bills.
    Hmmm...which polluters are you referring to?  Those who support the GOP or 
    those who support the Democratic party?
        Gun violence legislation would stop.
    You cannot legislate away gun violence, because violence is a symptom of a 
    greater problem.  You cannot legislate away guns either...that is unless you 
    want to create a black market for weapons in this country so large that it 
    would make Al Capone look like a Tibetan monk.
        Progressive health care legislation would stop
    Progressive health care legislation...or socialized medicine?  This 
    government cannot even manage the bloated bureaucracy that already exists 
    much less take on another additional appendage.  
        There would be oil drilling in wilderness areas
    I agree...we cannot have this.  It is better for us to continue the scourging 
    of the Middle Eastern environment for our petroleum needs.  Better to scar 
    the deserts of a faraway land and import the stuff.  Then we don't have to 
    look at it.  We might even manage to save some rare species of fungal life 
    lining the bottom of a sinkhole in the process.  Sounds like a nice 
    payoff...and a pure NIMBY reaction, in my opinion.
        Right wing judges would dominate the supreme court....etc. 
    Debatable based on the historical record.  Bush has appointed four 
    replacement judges in Texas during his tenure as governor (this was to fill 
    vacancies as judges are elected in Texas).  Of those chosen, all have been 
    moderates and have upheld all those things that liberals hold so dear, 
    including the upholding of abortion rights without parental consent.  As a 
    Senator, Gore voted in favor of Antonin Scalia, the same man he now derides 
    as a right-winger.  In reality, there is no way of knowing what a Bush court 
    would look like, nor is there a way to know what a Gore court would look 
    like.  It is all conjecture, but great scary fun for last-minute, 
    panic-stricken soft money ads.
     It's fair to say that many lives would be lost because of Bush's policies
    What does this mean?  Many lives would be lost because of Bush's policies?  
    Our biggest problem is Congress as that is where the purse strings are held.  
    The president, in the grand scheme of federal authority, is not the greatest 
     3. At the same time,  strong support for Nader, and a Bush win might be of
     some help to the progressive movement.
        A. A strong showing for Nader shows people how many progressives there
        B. A Bush White House would energize people in the progressive movement
     and help Unite them.
    Wishful thinking.  The two-party system has a stranglehold on the electoral 
    process in this country. 
     4. The main question then, is whether the gains that would be made by the
     progressive movement are enough to offset the costs of a Bush presidency.  
     And I don't see the evidence that it would.  The progressive movement,
     however large, can't be much more than a minor annoyance to corporate
     forces unless it is willing to make alliances with the Democratic party --
     a group far less virtuous than progressives would like them to be, but a
     group that is willing to listen to progressives AND is in a position of
     political power that enables them to actually do something that can help
    What Democratic Party are you talking about here??  When principles collide 
    with big money and political power, I can tell you what loses.
     I think one of the important lessons of the sixties is that an unallied
     "pure" independent progressive party can help the people in the movement
     feel virtuous, but it does little good beyond that.  What did the Peace
     and Freedom Party, the Progressive Labor Party, or the Liberal Party every
     Actually,  let me qualify that -- such groups can certainly accomplish a
     lot.  Protest and dissent can help put pressure on people.  To help change
     hearts and minds and all kinds of tactics may be useful. But the question
     I am considering here concerns voting.  Voting is one of the tools in our
     arsenal.  How can progressives  best use the VOTING tool to help the
     causes they hold dear. 
    By selling out to the Democrats it appears, or am I reading this incorrectly? 
     One of the most direct way to help the least well-off people in society is
     by passing legislation that protects them.    Such legislation will never
     be pass unless progressives use their power, not just to condemn loudly,
     but to help elect representatives that share some of their agenda.  
    The most direct way to help the least well-off people is to spend time 
    working directly with them through groups that really meet a need rather than 
    creating more bureaucracies that make us feel better for doing something 
    (like "oh, how progressive we are") without requiring effort or sacrifice on 
    our part.  Having worked for Habitat for Humanity and other groups over the 
    years, I sense a big difference.
     So, as far as I can see, a Bush win would be horribly costly. And even if
     voting for Nader helps the progressive movement grow, a larger progressive
     movement can do little unless its willing to make alliances with
     Democrats.   But if the way progressives can help people is by helping
     Democrats get elected, then the time to start is now, by  voting for Gore. 
     I'm interested in hearing others' thoughts.
                                        Todd Jones
    This post has been paid for by the "Don't Vote Your Conscience...Vote for 
    Gore (or someone who can win)" committee.  I appreciate your thoughts and the 
    time you took in posting them, but as for me, I am sticking with my ideals 
    and my conscience and avoiding both Gore and Bush on election day.  The 
    Democrats talk the talk...but they don't walk the walk.  The Republicans 
    er...uh...I cannot think of anything.  Damn my public schooling!
    With tongue in cheek, heart on his sleeve, and praying for this election to 
    be over, 
    I am
    Brad Duren
    Instructor of History
    Oklahoma Panhandle State University

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