Ralph Nader has had a tremendously positive impact on consumer activism in the United States. Ralph Nader has made the possibility of a legitimate third party candidate seem real, if not currently viable. In fact he has had an impact on Presidential elections not by being a strong contender, but by stealing votes away from candidates who desperately needed them. Not many people can say that.
What a wonderful legacy if we could just stop there. Unfortunately we cannot. Ralph Nader made some unfortunate statements regarding Barack Obama.
“There’s only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He’s half African-American,” Nader said. “Whether that will make any difference, I don’t know. I haven’t heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What’s keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn’t want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We’ll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards.”
Unfortunately he goes on to say, “I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law,” Nader said. “Haven’t heard a thing.”
First of all what exactly does talking white mean? Does it mean to speak the English language properly with good diction and grammar? If so what is the problem with that? Should he speak Ebonics and have rap music in the background of his commercials?
Secondly, why should he only speak to the poor? The implication here from Nader is that all black people are poor. That all black people get payday loans and live in asbestos filled housing. Mr. Nader you do find black people, believe it or not, who do not live in the ghetto. Oh yeah, you just might find that there are a few white people that do live in the ghetto.
A Presidential candidate out of necessity must speak to all people. I applaud Mr. Obama for rising above race even when the national media, along with Reverend Wright have tried to make it an issue. It is very reasonable, with our unfortunate history of race relations, to suggest that Mr. Obama is the Democratic nominee for President not because he is black but in spite of that fact. Yet Ralph Nader would like you to believe otherwise. He would like you to think that he is outperforming Mr. McCain because “white guilt” for the sins of our past, is bringing out white voters in favor of Barack Obama. It is unfortunate that Mr. Nader is trying to diminish the ability and credentials of Obama. It is also unfortunate that he demeans all of us who may vote for Barack Obama by suggesting that we are incapable of making an informed, intelligent decision but instead are casting our vote based on emotional factors.
Perhaps Ralph Nader has run in one too many Presidential elections. As of right now he appears to be little more than an extremist, eccentric doddering old fool. He would do well to rethink his statements and issue an apology.
Maybe he needs to give his next speech dressed in camou and a ball cap. Then he would be addressing his people, white people. Perhaps he should finish any future speech with the following plea, “Ya’ll come out and vote for me, ya hear.”
Dan Bimrose is the creator of coffeeandprozac.com a website devoted to helping people help themselves. His “Attack Your Life” series aims to give people simple, easy to understand methods to profoundly change their lives. Help battling depression, anxiety and stress