Or Why I Voted for Ralph Nader
Although I predicted Kerry would lose the election, I kept my prediction private since I wasn’t sure if I was letting my disgust with the candidate interfere with my judgment. My reasons for supporting the independent candidacy of Nader had little to do with the outcome of the election and were centered on doing the right thing. Here were my reasons:
1. John F. Kerry had extremely bad positions on the following issues:
a. Iraq, Iran
c. Patriot Act
d. Free Trade
g. Kyoto, CAFE standards
2. In addition, Kerry has the worst attendance record in the Senate. He failed to defend the UN and international law. He failed to denounce torture and illegal detentions. And he tried to deny freedom of speech to Ralph Nader and his supporters.
3. Contrary to the many claims made by the liberal intelligentsia, there exists no objective evidence (statements or historical record) that
a. "organizing would be easier" with Kerry as president
b. He had any intention of withdrawing from Iraq
c. Blacks would be better off under Kerry
d. Workers would be better off under Kerry
4. The Democrat Party is extremely corrupt, and voting for JFK would do nothing to either change his right-wing positions or make the Democrats less corrupt or rightist.
5. This leaves two options:
–Try to reform the Democrat Party
–Reject the Democrats and support a third force (as the people in Uruguay and Venezuela have done)
7. Since voting for the Democrats as is will not reform the party but will have the opposite effect of confirming their belief that they need to keep moving farther right
8. Since the only way to build a third force is to start to demonstrate to the public that the third force is both different and viable, the best way to use one’s vote would have been to support the third force. Continuing to support the Democrat Party postponed and undermined this effort by doing the following:
a. It confused the public
b. It deceived the public, making people more cynical and apolitical
c.. The Green Party lost its independence and credibility, wasting long years of work which were ostensibly to build an independent, viable third force.
Some people who spent the last year being vocally wrong may think there’s no point in going over all of this. There is no lack of irresponsible types who have no sooner made one mistake than they are off and running toward the next one, and in four years they will do it to us again. Every mistake is magnified now because the planet’s days are numbered. Global warming is destroying the fabric of life as I write and unless there are radical changes in policies right now, its effects will not be at all mitigated; more likely, the US leaders will increasingly resort to military violence to try to maintain control in the face of constant natural disasters, wars over resources, and massive displacement of populations. The time for radical change was twelve years ago, and the failure of the American left to lead us toward this change is unforgivable.
DIANA BARAHONA is an interpreter and journalism student in Long Beach, CA. She has written about environmental issues, the California energy swindle, the media, and observed recent elections in El Salvador and Venezuela. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org