This is a polemic I wrote to justify my own participation in the 1996 campaign of Ralph Nader for President. A lot of it is still relevant to today, although I'm not sure what tact I will take in the present necessary campaign to oust that mad cow boy deseased George w. Bush and his cartel from the White House. first, do not harm

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The major issue is what to do about the concentration of
power and wealth in too few hands that has enlisted government as
an instrument against ordinary people.
-- Ralph Nader

Friends,

I have some things I want to say simply to be sure that I did say them in the event that a time would come when I wished to hell I had said them. So I give myself permission to be so bold.


Here they are:

I have spent 31 years voting for the lesser of two evils or to make some point whose point I no longer remember. Never again will I so recklessly discard my vote.

I support Ralph Nader for President of the United States. He has conducted his life in a manner that tends to improve domestic tranquility and the general welfare. (Flying through the windshield when you suddenly stop, is in fact no longer a common occurrence; nor is casual acceptance of corporate promise. This is improvement.)

I support Nader's stance. Only the people's will and action matter. The main pitfall of the democratic electoral system is that the people tend to believe that its vote "takes care of the matter" when in fact it does not. The vote is the salt, perhaps, but not the meal. No amount of salt will give the meal substance. The vote tends to be a cop-out. "I did my share-I voted," is usually how it is expressed. But as we whirl toward the end of the term, decade, century and millennium the people finds its salty lot stiffened--calcified, if you will--by a "public" discussion confined, defined, aligned and refined by the corporate cathode ray tube.

I surf The Net every day. Each week something new happens in the campaign to swell the ground that can raise Nader to the presidency. The red-necked cowboy state of Nevada qualifies the Greens. The State of Virginia is sued for its anti-write-in laws. The Secret Service is asked to protect Nader. The fine points of naming a committee so that Mr. Nader's stance and position is not contaminated becomes a national brainstorm session on the Internet. None of these significant events and discussions can be found anywhere in the mainstream press and electronic media. Yet they exist.

The campaign of a significant number of people to elect Ralph Nader to the Presidency is the first campaign that relies solely on cyberspace. And it will win only as cyberspace becomes aware of itself and its power to override the corporate boundaries of discussion. Nader is absolutely correct to lurk in the background and demand that other people do what is necessary to drive out the corporate bandits and shills. He is absolutely correct in his hands-off approach to correcting the American malfeasance. He is in fact setting the new dialogue, the new discussion, the new news. He is campaign reform.

In particle physics it seems to be true that one cannot know the position and the speed of a particle at the same time. As you know one, the other becomes unavailable to you. In other words, when you single out something to look at, you eliminate or ignore the other stuff. This Uncertainty Principle has its counterpart in our everyday news life. When the news reporter says, "This is a story," he eliminates the Other Stuff. This is a fact of life. Simply looking at it makes it news.

But here's another fact: the majority of the official observers--television, radio and print--is owned by a mere handful of rich people. These days, when a handful of rich folks decides that this, this and this will be the discussion of the day, that's what gets discussed, to the elimination of that, that and that. Except on the Internet. The Internet, cyberspace, is the newest and perhaps the last frontier. The Shah of Iran was overthrown by cassette tapes in individual boom boxes, although he had total control of the nation's official media. The Gutenburg Press gave rise to vernacular bibles and they gave rise to nationalism and that gave rise to a reformation the church did not foresee or want. In 14th century China the Mongols were tossed out by a populous who communicated through messages in mooncakes to organize.

Today reform is possible again and the Internet is the playing field and at least for the moment it is a level playing field. It cannot be easily tested by census takers or pollsters or shahs at this time. Maybe next year will be different. But now, this moment, today, may be the only shot we have to wrest back control from the corporate deadbeat humans. They will figure this out, of course. We must move quickly.

So.....

I demanded that my Internet provider adds Ralph Nader Clearinghouse web site to his list of favorite places--alongside the repubs and demos home pages. I forward to my significant friends and associates all the Nader discussions I receive daily. They will not find it in the newspaper.

I encourage my friends to link their web pages to significant alternative sources on the net, like the Greens and the Draft Ralph Nader Clearinghouse. This is the equivalent of a shop owner putting a flyer in his window and harkens back to the days when small businesspeople took public political stands, putting their cash flow at risk. (Every day somebody lays down in front of a logging truck, or stalls a city vote on a strip mall development, or creates a food bank distribution center, or ties two bureaucracies in a knot. But they do not get reported: Uncertainty Principle. The Internet fixes that. See it that way and go with it. Tell all to all.)

I know a few people who have national credibility of one sort or another, so I am lobbying them to publicly endorse Nader and expand the conversation. Their comments will shoot through the Internet. I engage political editors of the mainstream press in email discussions and call them to task for ignoring or buring the news of the Nader experience. One West Coast political editor, Bill Endicott of the Sacramento Bee, asserted that Nader will get no more than two or three percent of the vote and then asured me that "one of my best friends is roy christman, an original green party member from fairfax. he also has a pretty good perspective on green chances. (sic)" (Why do I hear the voice of a Southern Sheriff of the Sixties? -"I have a nigra friend, but he knows his place.")

I make Xerox copies of convincing stuff--the acceptance speech, the Concord Principles-- and spread it around. I make phone calls. I forward mail. I think the "Bill and Bob make me wanna Ralph" slogan is right on the money, so I'm getting tee shirt transfers made. And bumper stickers. How about "No More Corporate Shills! Make Nader President!"

The bottom line is that time is running out, the Internet is available now, nothing will happen without creative action on the part of well-meaning people bent on making the world better, and Nader is a figurehead and that's they way it's gotta' be. As a figurehead he admonishes the folks behind him to act responsibly, creatively, honestly and with the kind of verve that causes success. (In his speech accepting the Green nomination he remarked "The intonation should be "'Go, WE, Go'" when the crowd yelled "Go Ralph Go.")

We have now the tools to wrest away control of the path we take and damn!--we must use them! Or lose them. Email on! Spread your thought! Arm your friends! Upstage the press! Save our home planet and share its wealth! It's okay to inspire.

Dan Scanlan
Permission is granted to anyone to copy and distribute this polemic.

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