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Re: E-M:/ A serious Nader question



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Enviro-Mich message from joonmck <joonmck@gateway.net>
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Yesterday's New York Times lead editorial, "Mr. Nader's Electoral
Mischief," referred to Nader's campaign with a number of crude insults.
It was alternately referred to as "a self-indulgent crusade," "willful
prankishness," "a disservice to the electorate," "[potentially]
demolishing Democratic chances," "[a delusion] to his followers," "a
wrecking ball candidacy," and a case of "ego run amok."

That was abit much for Phil Donahue. On yesterday's Today show, Katie
Couric read Donahue a long segment of the above mentioned editorial, to
which Donahue (a Nader Supporter), replied, something to the effect
of..."It's interesting that a man who has fought hard for consumers for
30 years is being called an egotist, while a man [Bush] with a [brief
and paltry] public service record is regarded as a patriot." [pardon the
sketchy paraphrase]. 

To its credit, the Times included an editorial by the DSA-affiliated
Barbara Ehrenreich, in which she catalogued some of Gore's betrayals to
the working class (e.g. the Clinton folks failed to lift the minimum
wage above the poverty level; failed to pass health reform, undercut
welfare support for working mothers and presided over a "stunning
expansion of the prison system." These are just a few of Gore's
"disservice to the electorate," to emply a NYT phrase.

Then there's NAFTA, GATT and WTO...all part of the Clinton/Gore gift
package to transnational capital. As you know, labor and the environment
are BIG casualties to these erosions of democratic and environmental
protection. (Why haven't we heard more about this recently in the
listserv?)   

Defining the "environment" from an even broader perspective than WTO, we
can view the Clinton/Gore era as having evidenced a further erosion of
environmental health protection. (Here I'm thinking about the
relationships between human health, quality of life and U.S. political
ecology.) Many of you are aware of the recent public health literature
that indicates that it's the RELATIVE level of income inequality (not
the absolute level) that is strongly correlated with morbidity and
mortality outcomes (see the Lancet, American Journal of Public Health,
and Peter Montague's excellent summation of this literature in Rachel's
Weekly, June 10, 1999 edition on "health and Wealth). This means that a
family of 4 living on a $20K income in the U.S. is more at risk of
sickness and dying than the same family with the same income in a more
equal country like Ireland. As Montague asserts, "The environmental
movement is missing the boat on the biggest public health issue of our
time. Thirty years of scientific research have established that the most
powerful predictor of human disease is economic inequality, but the
environmental movement, for the most part, is not paying attention to
economic issues." 

The point? What the two corporate-dominated parties do to the least of
our brethren, that they do unto all of us. We must begin to reframe the
environmental debate to go beyond the chemical "toxins" to outline the
toxic relationships which result in widespread alienation (e.g. the 50%
no-vote statistic, the lowest of all capitalist first world countries). 
 
At the very least, we need to create a more democratic (perhaps
parliamentary?) system, like Europe, where Nader's 5% would instantly
equate to a 5% representation in the House. Heck, if we knew that a
Nader vote would instantly translate into congressional bodies, I bet
he'd easily garner 15-20% of the national vote right now! We need to
think about the longer view of history...in other words, we need to
advance the American revolution, or indeed, just have one. And we need
to study 20th century U.S. radicalism for lessons learned (e.g. see Mr.
Paul Buhle's excellent work, and how about Alex Cockburn's The Golden
Age is in Us) and use the momentum of the Green Party to help accomplish
the task.

Go Nader!

P.S. This does not mean that I do not respect those who "Go Gore"...it
really comes down to a question of strategy and tactics...short term
(Gore); long-term (Nader and his kind...see the 5% matchinig funds for
2004 etc.). These can either be viewed as strident oppositions or
friendly disagreements...I prefer the second one. 


Sheinzman wrote:
> 
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from Sheinzman <sheinzman@prodigy.net>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> In answer to a very legitimate question, Nader has worked within DC for
> forty years.  He's written legislation, educated lawmakers and
> shepherded legislation until it became the law of the land.  As for
> foreign policy, he has no experience as a government official.  He has
> worked collaboratively with international consumer, worker, social
> justice groups and others to advance the interests of people.  As
> President he would do the same.  International Goliath Industries, Inc.
> probably wouldn't like a President who would insist human rights,
> working conditions and environmental protection have equal enforceable
> status as commercial interests.
> 
> Some recent Presidents with zero international government experience:
> Clinton, Reagan, and Carter.  Nader would likely be reluctant to use
> force abroad.  He would pursue diplomatic, peaceful solutions.  He would
> 
> likely condemn Israel for the recent violence against the Palestinians.
> He'd probably have a problem about tanks and guns versus rocks and
> children.  And it's likely he wouldn't authorize $1.5 billion for a
> corrupt government to brutalize it's own people and spray huge
> quantities of pesticides and herbicides on peasant farmers in order to
> further the war on people, um, drugs.  The CIA wouldn't be authorized to
> 
> prop up dictators like Saddam Huesein and Manuel Noriega.  He likely
> wouldn't authorize official grievances against small Eastern Caribbean
> island banana growers with a 400 year relationship with Eurpean nations
> on behalf of Chiquita who doesn't grow a single banana in the U.S.  And
> the U.S. probably wouldn't remain the number one arms exporter in the
> world.
> 
> Our country would honor the full spirit of nuclear weapons
> non-proliferation treaties.  There would be no National Ignition
> Facility, no $60 billion strategic missle defense system that physicists
> 
> testify wouldn't work anyhow, and there'd be no effort to militarize
> space.
> 
> Other nations would see a U.S. government dedicated to social justice,
> compassion and fair play.  We'd still have the biggest stick, but it
> wouldn't be used to exploit people and the planet.  It would be used to
> confront real evil not convenience.
> 
> And lastly, Nader's a bright guy and a quick study.  His advisors would
> be the best of the best.  He wouldn't be obligated to make appointments
> to pay political debts.  No hidden agendas.
> 
> Hmm.  The more I think about it all, the more I like Nader.
> 
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