Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ralph Nader at the Bagdad Theater (10-20-08)

Ralph Nader came to speak in Portland several years ago and was impressed enough by his message to vote for him in 2000. Still bruised over the last two elections, I had just about made up my mind that I wouldn’t pay attention to his candidacy this time around. Everyone said the stakes are too high.
Originally a Hillary Clinton supporter, I was very irritated when Obama didn't choose her as a vice-presidential candidate, despite Biden’s extensive...blablablah…record, etc. In addition to having some residual grudge over the Hillary issue, I wasn’t thrilled by Obama, since issues that matter to me were never mentioned in his speeches, but I was resigned to vote for him, although, really, the whole process has been a drag and I’ve been getting to the point where I couldn’t care less. When it comes to politics, I think that one must be either crazy or out of his mind to want to be president anyway, so anyone running for office in today’s climate is suspicious (case in point: the last eight years).
When I heard that Ralph Nader was coming to Portland, I decided to hold off my vote until I heard his speech. After a mix-up at the Denver airport, which made him miss a connection to Eugene, Ralph Nader barely made it to Portland on time to speak to a full house at the Bagdad Theater. Nader, always a great speaker, gave numbers, statistics and facts off the top of his head. It was really impressive to see him go from one point to another, and to give a speech with substance and devoid of fluff. No surprise he has been kept off the debates: he may have called attention to issues plaguing the country, such as poverty, low wages, lack of insurance, corporate greed, etc.
It was refreshing to finally hear points that I care about brought up in Nader’s speech, which had for the most part been left unmentioned by both Democrats and Republicans: military and corporate withdrawal from Iraq, national health insurance, the reduction of military budgets, a national minimum wage, solar energy, crackdown on corporate crime. Thank you, Mr. Nader for having some clear objectives.
Unlike past elections, I filled out my ballot early this time, and dropped it off at the elections office the day after the Bagdad rally. I know the way I voted will result in some people feeling like that they have the right to lecture me about how my vote is going to count for the other guy, etc. I heard it all in 2000. Don’t blame me for voting for a person with integrity and principles. Blame the Republicans who voted for George W. Bush in the first place. And if Obama doesn’t win, people ought to look at the corrupted election process, not at my vote as the reason.

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