I’ve written here and elsewhere many times about my genuine fondness for the Nader family and for Ralph’s historical work, so I won’t cover all that ground anew. However, this feeling on my part really plays no role in why I won’t be joining those who want to villify Ralph for his decision to run as an Independent for the office of the president of the United States.
First, it’s tough enough that those who believe in the general principles Ralph has always stood by are often haranged by supporters of more mainstream candidates because Ralph is a “spoiler”. Spoiler to what, when our campaigns all reek from the corruption, greed, glad-handing, backroom deals, antidemocratic ideology, etc. that go on?
Second, while I in no way advocate the rise of a third (or fourth, or more) political party just for the sake of their creation, I’m also still totally in shock that the country that demands more choices for ice cream flavors than chocolate and vanilla also feels that more than two political parties is “too much.” What this has done is create great schisms under the banners of Republican and Democrat that often fracture against the whole. After all, my kind of Democrat may sound and vote differently than yours because I’m a progressive realist, while perhaps you are a middle-of-the-road Clintonite.
Third, sadly, does it really matter what Ralph does at this point? The last time he ran, he got only a fraction of one percent of the vote. Exactly from whom does this take from?
Even more sadly – because I used to take such pride in Ralph and his ideals – I have to acknowledge, and feel you should as well, that there are much bigger issues before us right now than whether or not Ralph Nader is in the 2008 presidential race. This is not 2000, nor 2004. Any sane person knows we can’t keep one of the current crop of Republicans in the White House, not if we’ll leave Iraq in our lifetimes or hope to prevent an even more bloody war with Iran. Our enemy isn’t Ralph: it’s all the bastards who want to finish destroying what little good in this nation that George W. Bush hasn’t already turned into kitty litter.