Kudos to Brendan Phibbs for his verbal spanking of those not supporting Al Gore! [Letters, 9/1/00 PP] I too am hollering a wake up call to anyone who thinks he or she would be doing the liberal cause a favor by voting for Ralph Nader.
The next president will be Al Gore or George W. Bush, and the consequences of one or the other will be supremely divergent. To assert that there is little difference is breathtakingly naive. Just considering the environment, the differences are awesome. It boggles my mind to think any responsible thinking person could smear them together.
There are three branches of government at stake in this election, and the spooky consequences of George Bush appointments in the Supreme Court are frightening, not to mention the lower judicial branches where the Republicans have been a virulent block on Clinton's judicial appointments.
We believers are obliged to crusade for our liberal causes. We must never relent, but we are also obliged to think responsibly about the consequences of our votes in these periodic events called elections. The petulant pouting of not having a more liberal candidate is a refusal to face reality. We are a minority, and if we are sincere in wanting some successes, we must pick our battles. A candidate expressing more liberal views than Al Gore wouldn't stand a chance in an even fight with George Bush, but it wouldn't be even -- he or she could never raise the money.
We have a continent and a society to take care of, and we have to do that in some kind of concert with a lot of people who will never see things our way. We are nowhere near strong enough to grab for the golden ring. If we do, the Republican crew running the merry-go-round will take care of the environment, their judicial appointments, and their social agendas in their own destructive ways.
In my opinion, a vote for Ralph Nader in this election is a vote against the things he continues to fight for! I do hope he continues to fight for them.
In response to Marjorie S. Newell, Ph.D. [in the 9/1/00 Letters], getting rid of the death penalty is very far in the future for the United States. Keep hammering away at it, but no serious candidate for president of the United States in this era, irrespective of how he or she feels, is dumb enough to advocate getting rid of the death penalty. There are more important issues about which something can be done. I've been against the death penalty for years, but I'm not foolish enough to let that clog my action list for the many things that are possible. The death penalty has been used for thousands of years. Our democratic seniors -- Western Europe, plus the Catholics to the south -- have only recently stopped it. Most of the rest of the world use it with vigor. The United States has much maturing to go through before stopping the death penalty.
Finally, in the nearly unique (I hope) position of Steve Larkin in Republican Utah (and probably Idaho), where a Democrat hasn't a chance, I would probably do the same, but we in states with elective power are all the more obligated to vote for less than perfect elective success.
Thank god for the Progressive Populist. Your review of American Dreamer, Henry Wallace's biography, puts things in perspective. With so many pygmy politicians, it is hard to fathom a man of Wallace's depth running for president. Editor, writer, scientist, a man of integrity and ideas, why he reminds me of Ralph Nader.
American Dreamer is a great book, offering many lessons for the 2000 election. A couple of gems:
Said Wallace: "In any national fight between reactionary Democrats and reactionary Republicans, the reactionary Republicans inevitably win." That is this year's possibility. Nader is not Gore's problem; rather Gore's ideology is Gore's problem.
"When the old parties rot, the people have a right to be heard through a new party ... The lukewarm liberals sitting on two chairs say, 'Why throw away your vote?' I say a vote for a new party in 1948 will be the most valuable vote you have ever cast or ever will cast. ... Let us stop saying, 'I don't like it, but I am going to vote for the lesser of two evils.' Rather than accept either evil, come out boldly, stand upright like men [and women] and say loudly so all the world can hear ... We are voting for peace and security for ourselves and our children's children. We are fighting for old fashioned Americanism at the polls in 1948. We are fighting for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly ... to end racial discrimination ... for free labor unions, for jobs, and for homes in which we can decently live."
Nader is leading the only campaign fighting for these things, yet to be obtained in 2000. Backing him gets us closer to them. Or, do we have this same debate of sticking with the Democrats in 2004?
Your piece on "How Nader Won" [by Sam Smith, 8/1-15/00 PP] was great. I have written Ralph Nader that he had better start planning for his election in November. I have been monitoring Earth consciousness for too many of the 91 years I have lived on this planet and I think the invisible universe is much bigger than anyone imagines -- in fact a critical mass.
Some evidence I've encountered -- in June an old friend who turned off voting in the Nixon administration said he and his friends were voting this year for Ralph Nader; "he's the only one we can trust." I've always worked with young people I could never convince to vote, "don't want to be part of that mess in Washington." Not long ago several asked how to register to vote; "there might be someone we wanted to vote for sometime."
For many years we have had a plutocracy electing presidents with only half of the eligible voters voting. This November will be different -- we will regain our democracy. Those of us who have had a very different vision for our country than the direction it is going feel that the election of the Green Party and Ralph Nader would be a step in the right direction.
MARION LEONARD, Director
Save Our World Vermont
PO Box 437
Rochester VT 05767
In America today, as in most countries, the top 5% are rich. These people in turn hire the next 15% to manage their affairs and they pay them well. Together these two groups constitute the 20% ruling class. History has shown that the ruling class does better when there is a Democrat in the Oval [Office]. If you will take your bottom line today and compare it with eight years ago you will see that there is a big increase. If you think that your increase in net worth is due to something that the Republicans have done or is due to a great burst of your own genius then you are kidding yourself. The increase is due in large part because the Democrats put people first rather than things and when the people do well the ruling class does very well indeed.
The Republicans are the world's champion money-makers. In any given money-making contest be it domestic or foreign they will excel. So if they are smart enough to make all this money, and they are, why is it that they are not able to see from whence it comes? Despite doing extremely well under a good president whom they cordially detest they are seen griping all the way to the bank. And now they have come forth with many many truckloads of sheckels designed to put an empty suit in the Oval.
The last time we had an empty suit in the Oval he tripled the national debt. To throw a lavish party today and send the bill to our grandchildren is morally wrong. So it seems that the nation's greatest need is more Republicans with morals and vision.
In 1948 the nation's top 50 political pundits were polled and all 50 predicted that Truman would go down in ignominious defeat. Truman read the article and said that he knew all 50 of these people and none had enough sense to tamp sand in a rat hole. Since the election was close you might make a case that Truman would not have won had it not been for the big support that Ronald Reagan gave Truman in California. Most people tend to forget that Reagan was a big Democrat before money caused him to become a traitor to his values.
Given his strident progressive populist stance it would only be fitting if you featured Al Gore's likeness on the cover of the Progressive Populist, perhaps the pre-election issue.
As you know, Gore has recently reasserted his rightful position, slightly to the left of Noam Chomsky, Jim Hightower, and William Greider.. His defense of "the people" against the vested power of the global corporate elite is an inspiration to us all.
This veritable 21st century Marx is now showing his true resolve, risking not only financial ruin, and his political future, but very possibly his own life.
Perhaps your cover illustrator could do a pen and ink of "Rebel Al" styled with a beard and fatigues like Castro, with the simple title -- A Revolutionary Populist.
In regard to Ken Bresler's article on Instant Runoff Voting, while I agree that it would be a great reform, I have two beefs.
First, I disagree with Mr. Bresler's automatic assumption that Harry Browne would be the first to go in this year's election if it were done by IRV. With the five candidates Mr. Bresler mentioned, that dubious distinction would surely go to Pat Buchanan. Many who will vote for Bush this year, and a few who will vote for Gore, would vote for Browne under IRV.
Second, and more important, I must disagree with Mr. Bresler's premise that although he likes Nader he should vote for Gore to make sure Gore wins. As long as we have millions of voters acting as if they have to bet on a winner, the Democrats and Republicans will never have any incentive to release their stranglehold on the ballot. It is only when enough people are willing to vote for their preferred candidate and ignore the two big-party buffoons that the Democrats and Republicans will be willing to give up some amount of their power, and only in exchange for an opportunity to keep some amount of power. Perhaps Mr. Bresler is under the mistaken assumption that the Democratic and Republican parties and their candidates have some other unifying goal besides maintaining and advancing their own power.
Libertarian candidate, Oklahoma State House of Representatives
The Gonzales and Rodriquez article in the 9/1/00 PP ["Violence begs for summit"] touched on a portion of the problem which inspires Mexicans to illegally immigrate to the United States and that is that "it's more profitable for US businesses and their stockholders to convert Mexico and the rest of the Americas into maquila nations and more profitable for US businesses to have a very large undocumented labor force".
There is more to the story than that, of course. There is, to start with, Mexico's acquiescence to the maquiladoras' anti-union stance which keeps wages down for the benefit of multi-national corporations. And there is the US consumer who pays the lowest prices for food in the world, at the expense of the legal immigrants and illegal aliens who work in the fields.
If Mexico's Vicente Fox really wants to do something for Mexico's workers, he should prohibit the anti-union oppression of workers in HIS OWN COUNTRY. I also suggest that, rather than throw open our borders to any and all who would come here and grant another amnesty to the illegal aliens in the US, Americans should be demanding that decent wages be paid for the jobs now filled by immigrants so that US African American and other downtrodden people here can compete for jobs at decent wages.
In the meantime, we must not succumb to the propaganda from the likes of Gonzales and Rodriquez who lobby for granting another amnesty and an open border between the US and Mexico. It seems to me that close to 1 million legal immigrants every year (the size of a mid-sized US city) and hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens every year put quite enough pressure on our environment and provide quite enough competition for American jobs. However, neither we, nor the politicians want to face the question: How many more people can America absorb? With no population policy and therefore no discussion of these issues, we have no sensible way of judging how many more millions of immigrants we can absorb.
HOWARD A. PELLETT