Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Hump-Day Political Rant

I'm sorry, but I've got something to say.

Ralph Nader did not lose the 2000 election for Al Gore. Al Gore lost it himself by being a bad candidate. Do you remember liking Al Gore in 2000? Because I don't remember liking him very much back then, and, come to think of it, most of the people I knew didn't like him, either. But we supported him because he was a Democrat, and because George H. W. Bush, Jr. seemed like an incompetent idiot.

What I find kind of ironic is that Al Gore tried to distance himself from the blundering President Clinton when he ran for president, who had somMy ehow outstayed his welcome after eight years. Now, as we're all embracing change and saying that Obama represents that stray from politics-as-usual and the dynastic administrations of the the last twenty-seven years, I find it rather hilarious that people are still losing their shit over Al Gore because he made a movie that reiterated everything the same things we'd learned since the '90s but suddenly started to believe because we had that bad hurricane that destroyed the poor, black section of a Southern city that we only care about for one week in winter anyway. (Also, the hurricane wasn't really the cause of all of that destruction; rather, it was most likely the man-made levees that had gone unchecked for several years. But having that argument is like disagreeing over the role that slavery had in the Civil War. I'm not going there.)

My point is that Ralph Nader also represents a departure from politics as usual and, in a perfect world, more people would realize this and vote for him. But because we're so bogged down in tradition, and really only get politically-motivated every four years because we think a few months of debates and sending emails to our friends and family will somehow make everything in our country change for the better, we tend to ignore the fact that everything in this country - from the Hill to how we run our daily lives - is politics as usual.

So yeah. I'm not voting for Nader, but I respect what he's trying to do, and I don't think he should be the scapegoat for the Democratic Party's shortcomings.

An Unreasonable Man


BG5000 said...

You're probably right. Nader didn't really cost Gore the election in 2000. But enough Republican interest groups thought he did to help him get on the ballot in 2004. And even though he managed to only pull in .38% of the vote that year, i'm sure they'll send some help his way this year too.

Nader does have a great history of consumer advocacy and standing up to Big Business, but it's just that: a history. What has he done in the past decade to further the causes he cares so much about? He's received over 3 million votes the past two elections, how has he turned that into a movement for the kind of change he seeks, or any movement at all, for that matter? Does he really think think running for president is the best way to accomplish the goals he claims to have? Cause it doesn't seem like his last two runs helped make any progress in those areas. What i'm trying to say is it would be a lot easier to respect the man if it didn't seem like these campaigns had just become a way for him to get on Meet the Press.

Tyler said...

I see what you're saying: Ralph Nader hasn't done much lately other than unsuccessfully run for president. But, I will say that I respect his attitude, which is a general "fuck you" to the two-party system and the way politics in this country work. And maybe because I happen to agree with him on most of the issues, it's easier for me to respect him for that rather than, say, Ron Paul.

It's probably my cynicism, but I like that there's someone like Ralph Nader who does get a lot of attention in the press and is able to say, "Look, this process is always the same, and I'm at least putting forth some energy to make an impact on it." He's self-aware enough to know that he's not going to make a huge change, but I appreciate the statement he is making nonetheless.

BG5000 said...

And exactly what kind of impact is that? He's demonized by most Democrats because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that he put Bush in office and he's manipulated by Republicans hoping for a repeat of 2000. The only change he's brought about that i can see is in ostracizing himself from the people most likely to work with him on his agenda.

I understand the cynicism people have towards politics. 8 years of shouting and not being heard will make anybody apathetic. But a great man once said "the game is out there, and it's either play or get played" and while that "fuck both parties" attitude may play well on an episode of South Park, it's a pretty ineffective strategy for getting things done. Nader, given his history, should know that. Whether he cares about actually changing things or if he just wants attention for attention's sake, that's another story.

Yeti said...

oh my god.. can we go back to talking about things that matter like electronic music and Berlin

megan said...

"I see what you're saying: Ralph Nader hasn't done much lately other than unsuccessfully run for president."

I don't know what you're talking about. My friend Maureen sees him on the Metro all the time. Wearing baseball caps! Busy dude, that Nader.

I like him anyway. Just not enough to vote for him. Unless McCain sits on someone's head come next November.