Nader needed in debates

In recent editions of The Hatchet, the College Democrats and College Republicans have faced off on important issues in the upcoming elections. There is one problem. We still have more than six weeks until the elections. If the current pace of one debate a week continues, before October, there will be no issues left to debate. Well, that’s not quite true. Add Ralph Nader and we can argue well past November.

As Nov. 7 approaches, voters need to understand that they have a choice outside the current two-party system. In fact, it’s hard for me to call it a two-party system anymore. Today the Democrats and Republicans differ little outside of rhetoric. Al Gore and George W. Bush agree on financing a missile defense system, the North America Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization, support for the death penalty, opposing same-sex marriage and opposing universal healthcare. Ralph Nader stands against the missile defense system, which has been proven not to work. Ralph Nader stands firmly against NAFTA, the WTO and other so-called free trade agreements. Ralph Nader opposes the death penalty. Ralph Nader supports the right of a gay couple to wed. Ralph Nader supports universal health care.

Above all, the Al Gore and George W. Bush agree on the corporatization of our politics. Each raises millions in soft money donations. At their respective conventions, large donors were given skyboxes from which to watch the proceedings. In a recent speech, Al Gore blatantly showed how large donations affect his policy positions. At a $1,000-a-person fund-raiser in Washington, attended largely by African immigrants, Gore thanked the audience for having raised $350,000 for the Democratic National Committee. He then said, That is a sign that this group has really entered a brand new relationship to the national politics of our country. Gore continued and praised the crowd for finally being able to play its proper role in helping focus the attention of our country on issues in Nigeria or Ethiopia or Ghana or Cameroon or South Africa. More and more we should wondering whether or not our democracy is run by the people or by big money.

To continue on the theme of democracy, the debates are soon approaching. As the rules now stand, Ralph Nader will be excluded. Nader is on the ballot in 48 states, he is pulling almost five percent in the polls, and he is campaigning tirelessly across the country. Without Nader in the debates, important issues will not be heard. Without Nader in the debates, an important voice will not be heard. Without Ralph Nader in the debates, the only candidate who has campaigned across all 50 states without the use of soft-money donations will not be heard.

Ralph Nader must be heard. His campaign is an important one. While the chance of Nader winning the White House might be slim, a vote for Nader is not wasted. A vote for Nader is a vote cast with a long-term vision. A vote for Nader tells the Democratic Party that they can no longer continue to ignore the concerns of labor, environmentalists and other progressives. A vote for Nader shows D.C. that the people want control over policy not the largest corporate contributor as our current plutocracy now dictates. A vote for Nader is a vote against a two-party system that arrogantly believes it has a right to our vote even while abandoning the issues most important to us. And one must not forget that the chance of Nader winning is not zero, because in Minnesota they elected a professional wrestler who was at eight percent until the debates. Get Mr. Nader in the debates, and who knows?

-The writer is president of GW Students for Nader.

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