Monday, July 28, 2008

Ralph Nader Comes to Town

The church hid under a patch of oak trees dipped amidst the rolling hills of Austin, Texas. Little seemed unusual, albeit the few gathering outside and entering the sanctuary to hear a message about spirit without religious invocations. Yes, Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader came to the liberal haven of Texas, and along with his VP mate, former San Francisco City Supervisor, Matt Gonzales, made a poignant pitch for the presidency. The settings were bare; the Trinity Unity Methodist Church hosted the event in the Hyde Park neighborhood north of the University of Texas campus. The 1950s style low ceiling and wide floor plan made the event feel of intimacy and brought the crowd often within bumping distance from another. Such were the conditions for the evening. Some sat patiently while others fidgeted, trying to withstand the anxious wait for the addresses of the balloted Independent team.

Matt Gonzales was introduced and approached the crowd with a sense of pragmatism and intensity around legislation which defined the ever-turning destructive globalist and pro-war faction of the Democratic Party. He frequently painted Barack Obama as a failure of liberal dogma, appeasing corporations while encouraging domestic spying, all the meanwhile claiming he was the "people-funded" candidate with an open mind to change. The event's guests echoed Gonzales' grievances against Obama's continual policy opinion shift, particularly in foreign policy. Obama's muddled strategy but definite position on protecting Israel at all costs from Iran came out as a major point of contempt. Gonzales hit hard with a comprehensive speech about the absurd giveaways of mining rights on federal public lands to major oil companies, as well as the major subsidizing the federal government doles out every year to the highest grossing companies in the world. Furthermore, the young and inspiring Vice Presidential candidate raised in McAllen, Texas, of the Rio Grande Valley, spoke on the military industrial complex and the corrosion of democracy through executive branch power grabs. The skillful pragmatist slowly and carefully spoke, adding reassurance to the crowd, but bafflement at the current state of affairs. He condemned the Democrat Congress for increasing appropriation bills spent for the War in Iraq from $87 billion in 2004 to now more than $180 billion for 2009. Gonzales is a strong advocate for Cindy Sheehan in her independent San Francisco Congressional campaign against Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has continually funded U.S. wars abroad.

Ralph Nader was greeted by loud applause and fondly received by the crowd for his witty and philosophical oratory. He began by quoting Greek philosopher Cicero on democracy and spoke on the poor standard of justice now held by our federal government. His message focused on morals and the ability of the people to govern as a cohesive and powerful group. He waned about the loss of independent culture, the proliferation of corporate conglomerates controlling American culture, the needless and intrusive deeds of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act and the destruction of our political freedoms. Nader claimed that although Americans have not lost their personal freedoms to travel and spend their time and money how desired, civic freedom is almost now non-existent. Without a fair media and open debates to all candidates, much of what was fought for is now lost, lest the Congress reclaim its uniquely influential power for the people. The consumer rights activist advocated an end to domestic spying, an immediate end to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nader especially fixated on combating corporate corruption and greed, an area he claims has had little accountability under the Bush Administration. As a crusader for the average citizen, Nader passionately argued the abuses of power by the executive branch as well as culpability in the Congress led the nation to the current economic and cultural crisis.

The aging gentleman from Connecticut recounted some of his own battles against corporate abuse and praised the Freedom of Information Act as an extremely important measure of his lifetime. He joked about those who claim his candidacies in the past have spoiled possible Democrat victories. He noted that his ballot appearance in Florida actually helped Al Gore in the amount of votes per precinct. Nader slammed the corporate media as lackeys for the government, and with well articulated remarks lamented the state of American culture, especially in the rise of an uneducated middle and worker class.

His aura emulated of a charming youthful man with a dedicated mission to fight for justice. Unlike President Bush, whose entire political career will only number 14 years by its end next January, Nader brings over 40 years of experience, knowledge and the wherewithal to survive the hardships of the presidency. His message is convincing, his rhetoric is based on principle, and his personality awakens a public hungry for a new attitude of civic participation and the imagination needed to inspire a generation.

While Ralph Nader may carry baggage as a big government advocate, his attitudes on the most crucial issues, mainly the military industrial complex, voting machine fraud, the war on drugs, especially on marijuana, hits well with a crowd tired of backtalk and treasonous disloyalty from Washington. Perhaps our First President, the good George, would have admired Mr. Nader, or even been his friend. While Washington may have not agreed with Nader's socialistic ideas of market regulation, Nader would be trusted and held esteemed by our founder in these times of rampant corruption. A candidate for a scaled back military and fiscal restraint, rule of law, social activism, and peace, the often mislabeled and unfairly slandered Nader continues his crusade.

Nader expressed optimism about his recent 6% polling numbers and conveyed satisfaction at the possibility that he could debate the two major party candidates on Google, this September in New Orleans. Also, the Libertarian Presidential Candidate, Bob Barr, recently polled similar numbers. As for McCain and Obama, not many at this rally saw much difference between the two puppets. Convinced of the loss of the United States' Constitution’s Bill of Rights, this gathering remained somber while still flexing flares of exuberant enthusiasm calling to regain the nation.

Perhaps the whole city of Austin is not yet catching on to the cry to regain our governments from the corrupt centers of back-room dealing, double-talk and the feeding of the media with government lines to be sold as truth. Eerily similar to George Orwell's 1984 reference to the "Ministry of Truth", many now see the corporate-government-media collaborative takeover of our society, Mussolini's preferred model, as the reign of a propagandist regime based on bold faced lies. With such distraught and rampant absence of justice, many ask what is to be done. Ralph Nader may not have all the answers, and certainly leaves out details of his complete plans, but he is an independent progressive voice who can be heard out for his good intentions and can use the opportunity to carve out a more open and active democracy.

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