Letters to the Editor

Nader Talk

To the Editor:

With a clear majority of Americans expressing dissatisfaction with the direction of our country, the unspoken truth is that neither John Kerry nor George Bush nor Ralph Nader represents the visionary leadership that America ultimately needs.

While Nader can be far more frank on many issues than either of the two major candidates, he is also extremely self-deceptive with regard to his immediate impact on America's direction. We absolutely need a crusader telling the unvarnished truths, but we cannot afford to let the ideal become the enemy of the possible. Nader needs to continue exposing both parties and the system that protects them, but when the bullhorn for truth threatens to become the barricade to recovery, it is time to reexamine priorities. Before we can take the first step in the right direction, we must end our sprint in the wrong direction.

We have seen where Bush has led us, and you can imagine where he and Cheney, Ashcroft, and Rumsfeld would lead us, given four more years without having to worry about getting reelected.

Kerry is an imperfect candidate in an imperfect party in an imperfect political system. But in order to assure better options are available in the future, we must choose the best available option now.

The choice is not between Kerry and Nader. It is between Kerry and Bush. Make sure your vote counts toward steering America in a new and sensible direction. Then, after the election, help Nader or McCain or Dean or whoever you want to shape and advocate for the real changes that are necessary for a secure, peaceful, and sustainable future.

Mark McKinney


To the Editor:

A vote for Ralph Nader has been described as a "wasted vote" or one of principle. It will not be wasted if you want cleaner air and water, more corporate accountability, better educational opportunities, and a safer world and country. In an election expected to be extremely close, such a vote has real utility and could help elect a president whose policies demonstrably stand in opposition to those prospects.

That's what a vote for Nader could do, and it's time for all people of principle to face that reality.

Jay Sheffield


True Conservatives?

To the Editor:

Where have so many of our conservatives gone? The neocon agenda for making the Islamic world safe for democracy signals a radical departure by the Bush administration from the sturdy realism and wise restraint that have always informed a truly conservative posture in foreign affairs. Time will trace out the fateful consequences of our ill-advised venture in Iraq.

What happened to the hallowed dogma of fiscal discipline? Instead of getting government off our backs, there are now bigger budgets than ever. Mushrooming deficits undermine the economic basis of our security and mortgage the future of our children. The tax-cutting mantra of "leaving money in the pockets of the people" only serves to put massive debts in the pockets of our offspring.

The most profound belief of a true conservative is the concept of our nation as an ongoing compact of the dead, the living, and the yet-to-be born, not a grab-bag of goodies.

And what about "conservative" claims to be the party of morality? Bill Bennett wrote a book on "virtue" while indulging in massive gambling. Strom Thurmond, the apostle of divinely sanctioned segregation, had sex with an underage black maid and sired a daughter. While invoking the wrath of the judiciary on addicts and pushers, Rush Limbaugh popped pills, laundered money, and trafficked in drugs.

Now, Dick Cheney warns voters that the election of John Kerry would invite a new terrorist attack on our country. Questions about Cheney's patriotic credentials might arise when one reflects on his five deferments and a baby after nine months of marriage enabled him to pursue "other priorities" during Vietnam.

In all fairness, it must be noted that Cheney recently identified with one branch of the service: He cursed like a sailor on the Senate floor.

M.L. Wilson



To the Editor:

Thank you for "Fighter for the People" (Editorial, September 30th issue), in which you wrote: "In pressing for her issues, [Pam] Gaia was prepared to stand alone, if need be ... ."

The words from Ibsen's An Enemy of the People come to mind: "The strongest man on earth is he who stands alone." The same may be said of a woman. Pam Gaia was proof of that.

Arthur Prince


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