The Case for Nader

So, there is this big event happening in early November, I think some of you may have heard of it, it’s called the Presidential Election. Well, as it approaches and people begin to think more critically about whom they vote for, the majority of UVM students and most Americans are bombarded with the idea that there are only two choices in this election and apparently there have only ever been two choices: the Democrats and the Republicans. And apparently this two party system works!

Mainstream media does not mention third options, unless to criticize them and scream about how they are stealing the election. Ralph Nader, a progressive, left-wing, independent candidate is running this year, and it is time we consider him a viable option in this election. As Julian mentioned in last week’s article, “Five Things a Liberal Should Remember”, only about half the country votes in presidential elections. Those who usually don’t vote are the poor, the young and minorities. I think this says something incredible about the two party system that is American politics. Those who don’t vote don’t vote because they are lazy or apathetic (some, maybe, but most, no.)

They don’t vote because they do not see how their voices are ever represented in the two candidates the corporate parties give us. Currently, the majority of Nader supporters are between ages 18 to 30, and he is the candidate of choice among Arab-Americans. Arab-Americans are a group that has been severely oppressed under Bush, with their civil liberties vanishing after 9/11, so they would seem to be the perfect “Anybody But Bush” crowd. Instead, they see through Kerry. They see that he wants to continue the war in Iraq and the War on Terror, thus knowing that voting for him would not be in their interest at all. Nader, on the other hand, is the only candidate calling for an immediate end to the US Occupation of Iraq and to end the War on Terror.

The Arab-American community is not looking simply at the individual (Bush) as the source of all these problems, they see the whole two-party, corporate American system as the problem, and that is why they are supporting a third party and a true break to the left in this election. This election, and every election, for that matter, it is important to look at issues and agendas, not at the individual, when voting. I hate Bush as much as the next person, maybe even more. I don’t want to have to hear his Texas drawl as he stumbles over words that don’t exist for the next four years. I am sick of his ears and his swagger when he walks. But this is not reason enough for me to choose Kerry, someone who is going to carry out almost the exact same agenda.

The rising deaths in Iraq, for Americans and Iraqis, the cuts in healthcare or the lack of gay marriage in this country is not going to be any sweeter if it is Kerry giving the State of the Union address. The fact is that people are still going to be treated as second-class citizens and huge sums of money, that could otherwise be going to education, healthcare and jobs will be going to our already enormous military budget. Nader, and his running mate Peter Camejo, are running a campaign that is the opposite of Bush and Kerry’s. As I have mentioned before, they want an immediate end to the War on Terror, they are for universal healthcare, gay marriage, abortion on demand, immigrant rights. They are great on environmental issues; they are against NAFTA and the FTAA. These are all issues which concern me, and they share my position on them, so thus, I feel that it is only right for me to support them. Most importantly, Nader is making a true break from the two-party system and demanding that we bring democracy back to the US by allowing third (and forth, and fifth….) parties to get into the debates, appear on the ballot without a witch-hunt to keep them off the ballot, and to actually pull US policy to the left. Nader is truly the voice of the people, unlike Bush and Kerry, who are the voices of major corporations. As Peter Camejo said of the Democrats and Republicans, “It’s time we stood up in America and as citizens said, ‘We want free elections, so we’ll never vote for you.’ The time has come. We are now free – free yourself from them. Vote against them… It is the only way you will ever break this monolithic hold money has over our society.”

If you want to get involved in Students for Nader, and help bring third party politics to a rightward moving two-party system, come to a meeting on Tuesday nights, 7:30 pm, Lafayette 111. Or visit votenader.org.