Posted by Pat N on November 02, 2000 at 14:11:28:
In Reply to: Re: Thanks for your petition - Naderites are living in a fantasy world posted by doones on November 02, 2000 at 10:54:03:
You lost me a bit there on the hippie/swinger bit. I don't recall referring to either group. When I refer to the "righteous" activism of the 60's and 70's, I mean exactly that. I think the causes were - in large part - quite righteous. I was a subscriber to Ramparts magazine in those days and subscribed to the anti-corporate ideals of those decades (aimed at Ma Bell et al) as well as environmental, feminist, and minority causes. But the Right in this country has pretty successfully demonized liberals (let alone radicals) and liberal causes. (By the way, Skinheads and abortion clinic bombings do – thankfully - make some Republicans cross over too.) While many of the ideas that Nader espouses have real merit, I believe that the result of his candidacy will be to further entrench the power of the Right to accomplish exactly the agenda of corporate power and plunder that the Greens oppose. Do you really think that 4 (or 8) years of a Bush/DeLay/Army/Lott regime is going to help the Greens move their agenda forward?
Bush and his campaign have done an incredible job of distorting their true position in the public mind; hence your assertion that both he and Gore are "very near the center." George W. Bush (and the Bush dynasty all the way back to Prescott) believes in nothing so much as the unhindered rights of the corporate and moneyed elite to amass and retain ever-increasing concentrations of power and wealth. While the "compassionate conservatism" bit is a nice ploy, they really believe it is their God-given right to plunder the remaining stores of the earth's non-renewable resources for their own benefit and that nothing should be allowed to stand in their way. He will, as he has done in Texas, side with the corporate agenda in every contest between the corporate and public interest. And, while Roe v. Wade may not be a litmus test for his Supreme Court appointments, you can bet that "strict constructionism" will be. With a few more Thomas/Scalia type appointments to the Supreme Court, we'll see more decisions eroding the power of the Federal government to enforce environmental protections, protections against violence toward women and other minorities, and, yes, I think we will see them overturn Roe v. Wade. And a Bush Supreme Court will continue to have a devastating impact on this country for many years beyond a Bush Presidency. As will drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, opening up the last 5% of the national forests to logging, and opening up the Utah National Monument to coal mining.
I also think it is deceptive and disingenuous to try to paint the Democrats as being equally in the pockets of corporate donors as their Republican foes. Yes, they both accept corporate donations, and, yes, their decisions have thus been compromised. But the Republican Right has both controlled the distribution of and been the recipient of far more of these funds than the Democrats, and the Democrats have much more consistently and historically upheld the public interests against those of Big Business and Big Wealth.
When I refer to "purists" I mean those who believe that, because their ideas are "right" or "correct", they must not compromise with the "enemy." The net result of this heroic stance, is to marginalize their causes, alienating the larger culture, and insuring they will remain powerless to effect any real change in this society. Absent the ability to gain control of all three branches of government (as Nader may assist the Republicans in doing this year), the only way to achieve some of the Green/Nader goals is to forge a coalition among environmentalists, Labor, women, minorities, small business owners, and some of the other disenfranchised elements of our society. And this won't happen without compromise. Unfortunately, the majority of America's working men and women don't necessarily see their immediate self-interest as directly linked to the health of the environment (though I believe it undeniably is-though perhaps not immediately). Many will feel their self-interest to be too threatened by an all-out assault on the “demon corporate culture”. In this regard, I think that Al Gore offers a more attainable hope of beginning to accomplish some vital changes within the political realities in which we must function.
I agree with you that change must begin at the local, grassroots level. But I don't see that a Nader Presidential bid is exactly starting at the local level. We'll see how many Green candidates sweep to victory on his coattails. I think that bringing these issues back into the Democratic Party and re-energizing its historic base around some of these ideas offers the best hope of being able to achieve any real change. There’s always a chance that I'm wrong and the Greens will forge an enduring third party effort powerful enough to successfully challenge the Republican stranglehold on this country. My greatest fear is that they will remove the final barriers to the Right's attainment of its dearest long-held agenda for this country.