I received a chain letter recently, entitled “What if things were changed around …“, analyzing the insidious and implicit ways racism has shaped the race between Obama and McCain. However, limiting the comparison between these two candidates represents a terribly small spectrum in political discourse. So below is the same comparison between Obama and Ralph Nader:
If Things Were Switched …
What if Obama hadn’t supported immunity for the Bush administration?
What if Nader’s top contributors had been Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Microsoft, JP Morgan, General Electric, and others?
What if Obama supported equal rights, instead of opposing gay marriage?
What if Nader proposed escalating U.S. war and occupation in Afghanistan?
What if Obama was demonized and criticized for demanding that the country could do better than George Bush and Al Gore?
What if Nader claimed to be a liberal while at the same time embracing the death penalty – even for those not guilty of murder?
What if Obama was a crusader against nuclear power and the corporate welfare nuclear energy industry?
What if Nader supported environmental degradation, such as the fallacious “Clean Coal” campaign?
What if Obama were white and had declared in a Black church, “Too many fathers also are missing… they have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men… You and I know how true this is in the African-American community.”
What if Nader had called for increasing George Bush’s federal faith-based funding, in violation of the separation of Church and State?
What if Obama wasn’t as eloquent, as good-looking, as athletic?
What if Nader had been allowed on the debate stage, alone – no wife, no children – a picture of professionalism and dedication to his life’s work that precluded having a family?
What if Obama had spent his life challenging, instead of joining, the political establishment in the U.S.?
What if Nader had used his office to support Joe Lieberman over anti-war Ned Lamont in 2006?
What if Obama was responsible for establishing standards for consumer protection, environmentalism, and civic life for the last 40+ years?
What if Nader’s political career was bolstered by folks like Tony Rezko and Richard Daley?
What if Obama had started the Citizen Advocacy Center, Citizens Utility Boards, Congress Accountability Project, Corporate Accountability Research Project, Disability Rights Center, Equal Justice Foundation, Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights, Center for Women’s Policy Studies, Clean Water Action Project, and many more?
What if Nader had broken a promise to reject private donors and campaign on public funding based on campaign finance reform?
What if Obama had taken on corporate interests in Washington, and acknowledged the “one-sided class war” in this country, instead of being funded by huge corporate powers?
You could easily add to this list. If this were a real democracy, do you really believe that the only two valid candidates would be members of the Democrat and Republican parties?
Racism is very real and degrades the fabric of our society. But if racism was the only barrier to democratic leadership, surely Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney would be a much preferable candidate for progressive voters. When our only real choice on election day is a candidate who embraces the escalation of foreign war and occupation, who has been bought and sold by corporations his entire career, who supports widespread use of the death penalty, who refuses to impeach or hold the Bush administration accountable; then maybe racism isn’t the biggest problem we face in this country today.
Columbia University – B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard Law School- Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
Princeton University – Magna Cum Laude in Public and International Affairs
Harvard Law School – Juris Doctor (J.D.)
University of Hartford - Professor of History and Government
American University Washington College of Law – Faculty Member
(Served in the U.S. Army)
Education isn’t everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world.
There has to be a reason that, in spite of the above, we are where we are today. Racism is one of the keys. Another is the fact that our politicians are bought and sold by corporate power, and money is everything. Our government is up for grabs by the best spokesman who can convince us they offer change while maintaining the status quo at the same time. Of course, there is a generous dosage of country-wide stupidity too.
Posted under Culture, Politics