Ralph Nader

Tonight I attended a talk by one of my personal heroes, Ralph Nader. I firmly believe that our country would be fortunate to have such an intelligent, with-it person as our leader. Unfortunately, the two-party system, or duopoly as Nader calls it, prevents the population from having legitimate choice in the matter.

Behind me in line, a student grumbles, "I hate Nader. He's the reason Bush is president!" Before I can turn to explain what a limited understanding of the situation that is, another student asks, "For real?"
"Gore would have won otherwise. You don't know the story of the 2000 election?"
"No," says the second student.
"Well see, because Nader ran..." the first student tries to explain.
"Actually," the second student interrupts. "I don't care."
And I thought the first student's viewpoint was ignorant. The notion that college students are the nation's intellectual elite is sure put to shame with this bunch. Plus, why come to the talk if it's something you don't care about?

I loved the talk; though I've been down on teaching lately, it re-inspired me to find varied ways to educate my students. I'm not in the classroom to teach grammar; my goal is to assist in shaping a thoughtful (by every definition of the word) future generation of people to create a better, more just world. Though I've lost focus on this insight and given into using the textbook more than I'd wish, I'd very much love to turn these almost entirely apathetic teenagers into people who care about something other than their IPods. (While that's an observation I've made myself a few weeks ago, Nader had his own funny quip on the same topic who didn't have time for politics. "Oh, you know, IPods... so many songs." He also criticized those who wouldn't take the time to research ballot initiatives and instead found time to play Mahjong, which had me rolling.)

Here are some of my favorite Nader quotations from the event:
"Question your small talk, and once in a while make big talk."
"Respect posterity."
"You're not into politics? Well then, politics will be into you."
"Freedom is participation in power."

While the speech got me excited about doing something meaningful again, 2/3 of the audience left before the talk's completion. It was absolutely pathetic. In the row behind me, two students showed up half an hour late. One fell asleep, while the other text messaged the entire time. It's really hard to get excited about making the world a better place when the people in the same room receiving the same message clearly don't give a crap.

The audience became so scarce that when Nader made a reference to being from Connecticut, I cheered loudly to correspond with the newly-formed intimate atmosphere. Nader knows I'm from Connecticut!

Another individual who identified emself as an environmentalist informed everyone that one of the world's largest environmental concerns is the issue of overpopulation. I'm totally with the question-asker at this point. But wait, shouldn't the question-asker ask a question? After ranting for about three uncomfortable minutes about how the Green party does not love the environment if it's permitting overpopulation by not enforcing our borders and allowing illegal immigration, ey finally asks Nader in a huff what he thinks about that. The solutions to our overpopulation problems to not lie in keeping people who are already born elsewhere. Surprisingly, Nader is kind even to the crazies. He is articulate and answers well without pointing out what an idiot this person is.

Nader for president!

1 comment:

Alec said...

Nader Vote Total in Florida 2000: 96,837
Certified Bush Margin of Victory: 537

There's a pretty bulletproof mathematical case that Nader's presence on the ballot directly led to a Bush presidency. The fact of the matter is that Ralph Nader is an extremely reckless politician who does not appreciate the full ramifications of his actions. He can claim not to like the Democrats all he likes, but if he honestly can't see a difference between the two parties then he is delusional.

I would guess he's still in denial about it. I know if my actions indirectly led to the deaths of 600,000+ people, I'd have a hard time accepting it.