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More headlines: Ralph Nader on Principles & Values

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


Question of his campaign: Do you want to be stronger?

The question of this campaign is, to every citizen, Do you want to be more powerful? Are you tired of being pushed around? Are you tired of being entertained into trivial pursuits? Are you tired of having your children exploited by corporate hucksters? Are you tired of having the promise of America being held back by the greed and power of a few dominating the many? That question is going to be asked. It’s not going to be, Support me and I will do this and that. It’s: Do you really want to be more powerful in your role as taxpayers against corporate welfare, as workers to organize trade unions, as consumers to advance the health, safety and economic rights of ordinary people, and as voter citizens to be able to build the most important instrument for justice ever devised, a strong democracy? Do you want to be stronger? That’s the question. If you do, you’ll join this campaign.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

“Civically responsible upbringing” by Lebanese immigrants

Q: Few people know of your Arab heritage. Your parents were born in Lebanon. I was wondering how that background influenced you.
A: It was a very civically responsible upbringing. My parents said to the children, “The other side of freedom is civic responsibility.” My father said that when he sailed past the Statue of Liberty. He took it seriously. So we were always encouraged to participate and try to improve our community and not be passive onlookers or bystanders. Our parents would take us to town meetings in my hometown, which were often pretty robust displays of discussion between the citizenry and the selectmen and mayor.
Q: What about the heritage of Arab culture?
A: We grew up learning the language. The proverbs were always a part of encouragement and admonition in the household. It was a very nurturing type of cultural upbringing.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

Democracy over plutocracy

Abuses of economic power are nothing new. Every major religion in the world has warned about societies allowing excessive influences of mercantile or commercial values. The profiteering motive is driven and single-minded. When unconstrained, it can override or erode community, health, safety, parental nurturing, due process, clean politics, and many other basic social values that hold together a society. Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and William Douglas, among others, eloquently warned about what Thomas Jefferson called “ the excesses of the monied interests” dominating people and their governments. The struggle between the forces of democracy and corporate plutocracy has ebbed and flowed throughout our history. Each time the cycle of power has favored more democracy, our country has prospered (“a rising tide lifts all boats”). Each time the cycle of corporate plutocracy has lengthened, injustices and shortcomings proliferate.
Source: Green Party Announcement Speech Feb 21, 2000

People are the roots of the tree of democracy

Voters have got to take themselves more seriously, spend more time on civic actions and on political deliberation. They’ve got to raise their expectations as to what politics is all about in this country. Democracy is like a tree; the people are the roots and the trunk, the politicians are like the branches and the twigs. If we don’t do our job as citizens, the branches and the twigs get brittle, and they don’t bear any fruit.
Source: Interview on “Larry King Live” Oct 6, 1996

Chose 16-hour day work instead of personal life

Q: You are known for your 16-hour days and seven-day-a-week work ethic. Has it been worth it? Do you regret never having married and not having started a family?

A: This work is very personal -- it is my personal life. If you love your work, you don’t divide life into impersonal work and personal enjoyment. Of course, you >can’t have it all. I don’t believe in being an absentee father, so I had to choose.

Source: Mother Jones magazine Jun 3, 1996

Forever an optimist to improve society

Q: Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

A: Forever an optimist. A long time ago, I tried to decide whether it’s functional to be a pessimist. I even read Schopenhauer. And there’s no function to being a pessimist. Where does that get anybody? That doesn’t mean you’re a pie-in-the-sky optimist, but you have to ask yourself, are you going to get further in trying to improve your society by believing it can improve or by starting each day saying it’s going to get worse.

Q: There’s no adrenaline in pessimism is there?

A: It’s almost an object of intellectual dilettantism. You know, you see these people who are very aware of the problems of the world and they say, “Well, it’s all going to hell and nothing can be done about it.” It’s a way out. It’s an easy exit.

Q: And in moments of adversity, with no wife and family, who do you turn to for support?

A: The imagination, which is an endless, infinite reservoir of good works.

Source: David Frost interview Oct 21, 1994

Vote with your heart if your state is a foregone conclusion

Many liberals are torn about what to do. Do they follow their heart and vote for Nader or use their head and go with Gore? Some Nader allies have come up with interesting ways to solve their dilemma. A philanthropist is taking out newspaper ads in states that are considered safe for Gore (Massachusetts, New York) and safe for Bush (Texas, Colorado) urging progressives there to vote for Nader since the outcome there is a foregone conclusion. That strategy is meant to help Nader achieve his goal of securing 5% of the national vote so his Green Party can get federal matching funds in 2004.

Another strategy that has popped up on the web at NaderTrader.org implores, “If you live in a swing state, contact a Gore-voting friend in a strongly Bush-leaning state and informally agree that your friend will vote for Nader, while you will vote for Al Gore.” For his part, Nader says he doesn’t care whether Bush or Gore wins.

Source: Matthew Cooper, Time magazine, p. 79 Nov 6, 2000

Gore defends record to the left to deter Nader supporters

At a town-hall meeting, voters forced the vice president to defend his advocacy of the death penalty, his push for free trade with China, even his wife’s decades-old drive for parental warning labels on music with obscene lyrics. One woman sternly admonished: “It has felt to me like the Clinton-Gore administration gave an awful lot of ground back to the right and I would like to know why I should vote for you and not Ralph Nader. And don’t tell me, ‘Because I’ll split the vote.’ That’s not an answer.“ The question -- plus another woman’s counsel, ”You ought to be acknowledging more that there are more than two candidates in this race.“ -- come at a time when polls suggest that Nader is a growing threat to Gore’s support from the left. Gore avoided speaking his rival’s name in answering questions. ”The economic success that has come with the Clinton-Gore policies has helped working families far better than slogans, far more than rhetoric.“
Source: AP article in NY Times Jul 14, 2000

Plans to be on 50 ballots & make a 4-party race

Consumer advocate and Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader predicted Monday that he will qualify for the November ballot in all 50 states. Nader said his party is “growing quite readily” as an alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties - “which is really one party with two heads wearing make-up.” Nader continued, “We’re going to be on every state’s ballot. This is going to be a four-party race in November.” Nader said he plans to visit all 50 states.
Source: Associated Press Mar 13, 2000

Ran in 1996 to broaden agenda with progressive alternative

Q: Ralph, why face this?

A: The political system is a winner take all system. It excludes competitors and third parties, that’s what the debate commission did. That’s why you’re having us on, to have more competition.

Q: So, you know you’re not going to win.

A: All right, one is to get a Green Party on the ballot in future elections. That the corporate Democrats will never again be able to say to millions of people, “you got nowhere to go except to vote for us because we’re not Newt Gingrich.“

The second is to broaden the agenda, to put the issue--the central issue--of global corporate power, and its influence over our politics, economics, culture and education on center stage. Both of the big candidates are ignoring corporate issues. They’re taboo.

And the third is to get more young people into progressive politics. If young people trun off politics, politics will turn on them.

Source: Interview on “Larry King Live” Oct 6, 1996

Hold Your Vote: check late polls; vote Nader if not close

Another strategy [for Nader supports who don’t want to hurt Gore’s electin chances]: In some states, Nader supporters and ‘Greens for Gore’ are organizing ‘Hold Your Vote’ campaigns. They’re urging people to wait until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day to vote. If exit polls show a close race in their state, they should vote for Gore. If Gore leads by a safe margin, they can vote for Nader without hurting the vice president’s prospects.
Source: Charles Babington, Washington Post Oct 26, 2000

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Ralph Nader on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts