Sunday, February 24, 2008

Don't Be Nader Hatin'

I don't hate Ralph Nader but he seems to be going out of his way lately to make it hard not to. If you haven't heard, he just announced that he's going to enter the presidential race for the fourth time in a row. Full disclosure: I voted for the man in 2000 when nobody else inspired me. Now just relax, I was already living in California at the time and the Electoral College system turned my vote into one of mere protest and that was my goal. Of course if I had been living in a swing state at the time I would certainly have done things differently. And those are the people I blame for Gore's 2000 loss: Nader supporters living in swing states that voted in a presidential election without taking the time or initiative to find out how their vote would be counted. Yes I know, I also blame poorly designed ballots, Republican operatives, Katherine Harris and Daddy Bush's friends on the Supreme Court as well but those crucial Gore votes that were wasted on Nader opened the door to the last seven years.

As I said above, I really don't hate the guy and I'm really thankful for the seat belts and the airbags and all the clean food and water but what have you done for me lately? I don't hear a peep from this guy during years that aren't divisible by four and now he's just going to jump in during one of the most exciting primary seasons in decades. I agree Ralph, we need more political parties; choice is great. I just think that if the man really wanted to meet those kinds of goals that he would spend time organizing coalitions, forming citizen groups and networks and laying the framework for what could eventually be viable options for future elections. His actions of late make it seem like he just misses the spotlight and the notoriety he receives as a spoiler candidate.

The other story bothering me today is this whole meme on the right questioning Obama's patriotism because he doesn't wear a flag pin and has been spotted singing the national anthem without *gasp* putting his hand over his heart! This is standard jingoistic pandering to ignorant Americans that think putting a magnetic flag/ribbon on your bumper is a short cut to patriotism. These people need to realize that the American flag is merely a symbol. It's the ideals and freedoms that it represents and our willingness to fight for these things that make us truly patriotic. At least that's what I believe.


sterling said...

How many swing states did Gore lose that Nader supporters would have covered the gap? Very seriously, I'd like to know.

Also, I only put my hand on my heart about half the time... and it's usually only when I'm holding a cap. Otherwise I clasp my hands behind my back and stand at attention.

JBW said...

At least Florida and New Hampshire with a fair amount of certainty as far as I know. Some others apparently are a little less likely.

I used to cover my heart during the pledge when I was in school and I also clasp 'em behind my back for the anthem. And I don't sing; listening to thousands of people trying to belt out this difficult-to-sing song isn't one of my proudest moments as an American.