From: Rick Feher <feher@cwia.com>
Subject: Fear and hope in USA election

 

Dear all,

I have tried to encourage some of you, quoting the Nader campaign from
1996, to "Vote your hopes, not your fears." Fear of Bush as president is
understandable. I hope to encourage all of you to see the reality (which
we are all guilty of having neglected to see), that Gore is quite
possibly worse than Bush. Numbing complacency during an administration
of a PRESUMED environmentalist is arguably a more dangerous situation
than having a not-so-bright Republican as president who can help
galvanize environmentalists, social activists and pacifists.

Let us allow a true upshooting of grass roots, opposed to both the
Republican AND the Democratic corruption of our government and support
Ralph Nader and the Green Party. Votes for Green Party candidates,
especially Nader, will empower the Green Party in future elections, and
will not affect the probable outcome of the presidential contest due to
the way each state's electoral votes are counted (winner-take-all).

I detect no passion for Bush and Gore. Today as I passed through both
poor and affluent neighborhoods, I saw lawn signs and bumper stickers
for Ralph Nader, and none for the two-party "system." It is not
surprising that there would be little passion for corporate shills in
government. Today I witnessed a breakthrough as my Republican
grandmother expressed outrage that Nader was excluded from the debates.
"You mean the bastards wouldn't even let him in to watch?"

Limiting of the debate is one of the worst outrages which, by our
complacency, we have allowed. Last week, during limited presidential
debates in Washington, Nader was given an illegal political order to
leave the premises, though he held a valid ticket to enter as a
spectator, and though he had been invited by a news organization. The
Debate "Commission" is a private group controlled by Republicans and
Democrats to limit the debate. If this were a story about Mexican
politics, reporters here would describe the limiting of debate by those
in power as a corruption and an obstruction of true democratic
elections.

Ralph Nader first gained power as a conscientous citizen when General
Motors tripped over his first book, "Unsafe at Any Speed." The Debate
Commission, in tripping over Nader on this issue, repeats history,
opening our shoddy campaign practices to serious scrutiny.

There is an authentic political groundswell among citizens, and it is
not seen on television. The Nader campaign, and those of other parties
who challenge the duopoly, are real and inspire passion and votes.
Meanwhile, millions of dollars (half of it public money) are spent to
beam images of Republicrats, who are sold like soap, to television
audiences.

We must abandon our half-reasonable fear that Bush is worse than Gore.
He is not. Gore is the product of fossil industrialists, just as Bush
is. Two highly respected and liberal reporters, Alexander Cockburn and
Jeffrey St. Claire, who are certainly not working for the Bush side,
have disassembled the popular myth that Al Gore is an environmentalist.
Their book ("Al Gore: A User's Manual") also raises the important
question of whether Gore cares about anything but power. We hardly need
to read their book, however, if we would know our own history. I voted
for Clinton/Gore eight years ago, thinking that Clinton was trivial, but
that Gore might have a chance to become president. I read Senator Gore's
book. It was too good to be true.

Here is a sampling of Gore's record:

Voted twice to bomb Iraqi citizens--Gulf War and 1993 bombardment of
Baghdad which killed many innocent civilians. Also supported bombing of
Libya, and Serbians.

Co-creator of Midgetman ICBM proposal and strong supporter of MX Missile
during Reagan era. Voted for neutron bomb, B-2 bomber, Trident II
missile and star wars plans.

Voted, in first Senate term, against ending nerve-gas production by
U.S., and for development of a new nerve-gas missile.

In post-Soviet era, voted against redirecting $3.1 billion of military
budget to Head Start and other social services.

Voted against numerous Pentagon cutbacks.

Voted for $3.65 billion sale of Elk Hills lands in California,
previously protected strategic oil reserve and ancestral home of
Kitanemuk natives. Seventy-eight percent of Elk Hills went to Occidental
Petroleum for oil and gas drilling. This was the largest sale of our
public lands in history. Gore holds stock in Occidental, the value of
which rose significantly following the deal.
(See http://www.corpwatch.org/feature/election/goreoil.htm )

As a member of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, helped get $10 billion
to Russian agencies for the right to dump hundreds of tons of high-level
nuclear waste in the Urals.

While in official capacity, advocated and facilitated privatization (by
multinational oil companies) of Russian oil. (Vera Mischenko, leader of
a group of volunteer Russian lawyers, won the Goldman Prize this year
for her work trying to undo the devastating environmental effects of
deals which were facilitated by Gore.)

Supported the tripling of Department of Energy's R&D on commercial
nuclear reactors and supported selling reactors to China, Argentina and
Brazil.

Actively supported timber cutting in National Forests.

Ordered EPA to slow implementation of tougher pesticide standards.

Lobbied foreign governments for unrestricted proliferation abroad of
Monsanto's genetically engineered biological products.

As Gore was writing "Earth in the Balance," which argued that the
internal-combustion engine is the greatest threat to humankind, he was
supporting re-flagging Kuwaiti oil tankers as U.S.-registered, to set up
conditions for U.S. intervention (war) should our oil supply be
challenged by another nation.

In his book, Gore said that protecting the environment should be the
"central organizing principle for civilization."

In researching this urgent message, I learned that Gore has broken
nearly every pledge he's ever made to protect the environment.

In late July, 2000, Ralph Nader sent a letter to the Sierra Club board
which was meeting to decide on endorsements. The administration was then
considering a proposal to breach four dams on the Snake River to save
salmon from extinction. Nader wrote, "This was in effect Wednesday's
headline front page: 'Clinton-Gore Administration will not breach dams
to save salmon.' Will this be Sunday's headline, inside page, 'As
expected, Sierra Club endorses Gore.' " -- ?

I join with filmaker Michael Moore, who says, "Ain't fallin' for that
one again." We have just lived through an eight-year political cycle in
which power has been consolidated internationally. We have been treated
as fools while unprecedented environmental and social damage has been
done by lobbyists and their employers who got an eight-year paid holiday
to continue their self-serving destruction of OUR home planet, our
common good, our health, our hopes.

Here is Granny D (Doris Haddock), with 89 years of wisdom and the
tenacity to walk across this country coast to coast, who says, "If we
vote for the best candidates, we are voting for their ideas and we are
moving those ideas forward, whether or not the candidates win. We will
be building a voice that will, in the long term, have its day and elect
its candidates. Waste your vote! Vote your heart! Be a strategic,
long-term voter! You will shape the America and the world of tomorrow.
It is your responsibility to do so. And, in making a commitment now to
vote and to vote your heart, also make a commitment to never allow your
friends to say in your company that they will not vote or that they do
not want to waste their votes. Kick them. Elbow them. Sit on them until
they agree to join you as a strategic, long-term voter who votes their
heart. Friends don't let friends worry about wasting votes. If we waste
our votes in this election, we begin the work of wasting the enemies of
reform, of justice, of the environment, and of peace. Waste your vote
this year. Join us, and we will discover in the years ahead that we did
not such thing."

Michael Moore writes:

"I fear the cement on this new oligarchy of power is quickly drying, and
when it is finished hardening, we are finished. The democracy, the one
that's supposed to be of, by, and for the people, will cease to exist.
We must not let this happen, no matter how cynical and disgusted we've
become at the whole electoral process.

"Ralph Nader, to me, represents a chance for us to at least temporarily
stop the cement from drying. We need him in there kicking things up,
stirring the pot and forcing a real debate about the issues. He may
represent our last hope to get our country back from the clutches of the
powerful few.

"I am not writing these words lightly. I am hoping to sound a siren and
rally the majority who, for good reason, have given up--but might just
have it in them to find the will for one last fight against the
bastards. Can Ralph win? Well, stranger things have happened in the past
decade.

"C'mon, think about it, not a single one of us ever thought we'd see the
Berlin Wall come down or Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa.
After those two things happened, I joined a new school of thought that
said ANYTHING was possible. Jesse Ventura started with 3 percent in the
polls and won.

"And between Gore, Bush and Nader, he's the only person running who
would guarantee health care for all, who would raise the minimum wage to
a decent level, who would get up each morning asking himself the
question, "What can I do today to serve all the people of this country?"

Nader is also the only one I can think of who would be able to debate
the lobbyists who cry that these policies cannot be implemented, that
it's not yet time to implement them, that implementing them will cost
too much.

What will it cost if we don't implement them, if we don't wake up?

Ralph Nader campaign information:
http://www.votenader.org

Love, hope, metamorphosis,

R.

Rick Feher
feher@cwia.com

* * *

Included below is the text of David Brower's letter of disappointment to
Friends of the Earth (FOE) for supporting Gore instead of Nader. FOE
rejected endorsement of Gore in the primaries, then fearfully endorsed
him later on. I am wholeheartedly sympathetic to the fearful, but we
MUST get beyond our fear.

* * *

Dear Michael,

I am writing to express my disappointment at my failure to persuade FOE
to endorse the presidential candidacy of Ralph Nader. Mr. Nader is a
tireless advocate for Earth's
interest, a longstanding fighter for environmental justice, and a man
whose integrity makes me proud to number myself among his ardent
supporters.

The reckless exploitation of Earth's natural capital continues under the
profit-partisan leadership of the ruling political duopoly. Ralph
Nader's Green Party campaign offers a
principled challenge to that outmoded and destructive approach to
governance. He is committed to the restitution of democracy and the
replacement of corporate dominance by
a new coalition of citizen-based organizations committed to ecology,
justice, and nonviolence. I had high hopes that FOE would see itself as
an integral part of such an overdue
political development. I believe that many of your members share my
view.

I wonder if they realize that what Al Gore calls a great economic boon
is a global liquidation sale, a total failure to grasp the essential
element of natural capitalism. Al Gore
needs to read Hawken, [Hunter] Lovins and [Amory] Lovins, and to read
Earth in the Balance (and fix his understanding of nuclear, Deep
Ecology, the Public Trust Doctrine and the Natural Step).

Ralph Nader already knows.

It is better, I'd say, to vote for what someone believes and works for,
and not just look for a winner.

I have been able to work for what I believed, causes most private
interests thought were losers -- from blocking Kings Canyon's dams and
getting a National Park there, to saving Dinosaur, the Grand Canyon,
Redwoods, North Cascades and Point Reyes, to blocking the SST, MX
missiles, and Storm King Mountain development, protecting the Yukon
River and the Wilderness Preservation System, and establishing World
Heritage Areas in the Galapagos Islands and Lake Baikal.

These campaigns were all thought to be losers. We won, FOE included.

Let's help people switch to what they believe!

Sincerely,
DRB

* * *