Sunday, February 22, 2004

(politics) no longer mad at nader, continued

I have received some e-mail from friends expecting that I am going to be annoyed by the recent announcement that Ralph Nader will once again be mounting a Presidential campaign on behalf of George W. Bush. Readers may have forgotten my earlier pledge that I will henceforth confront my Nader issues with love. Granted, I have not been perfect in my efforts to live up to this pledge. However, I have confronted the most recent turn of developments with equanimity usually observed only in the highest echelon of lamas.

Among Nader's statements in announcing his candidacy, he said that those who were saying he should not run were making "a contemptuous statement against democracy, against freedom, against more voices and choices for the American people," and he also said that "it is an offense to deny the millions of people who might want to vote for our candidacy." The Old Me would have stomped around the RV in anger about the disingenuousness of this statement, and would have felt some need to expound at length the reasons why the statement is a manipulative distortion of various left ideals. Sure, the New Me may have typed three or four thousand words to this effect just now, but the New Me then lovingly hits the delete key rather than to post them. Hooray, New Me!

A sociologist of a different sort from your weblog author does display some bitterness and anger toward Nader in an article in Salon. While he (Todd Gitlin) makes all kinds of points The Old Me would applaud, the New Me appreciates his reasoning but still feels that I should send the Salon author an e-mail suggesting he should let go of the poison inside him like I have. Indeed, here goes:

I used to have the same kind of relentless and seething anger toward Nader for the 2000 election as you did. Through breathing exercises and grudge-reducing crystals, however, I have been gradually able to let this go. As a result, I would say that I now feel better--more free, more healthy, more connected with myself--than I ever could have imagined with a Republican in the White House. While I appreciate the eloquence with which you articulate your rage, I would urge you to work on your own Nader issues and to consider the possibility that some of the anger that you believe you feel toward Nader is really anger you feel toward, in Michael Jackson's words, the "Man in the Mirror."

Give Peace a Chance! Let Love In Your Heart!
Click and send. Granted, my half-sister Dahlia might be annoyed that I signed her name to the message instead of my own, but the New Me does not want to risk backsliding as the result of getting pulled into any colloquy regarding Nader.

The New Me sees no bile, however, in repeating a few sentences from Gitlin's essay regarding the argument that a national candidate can gain considerably by mobilizing turnout of new voters:
"if you take a hard look at the turnout argument, you see that the legions of nonvoters are the spectral cavalry of the marginals -- the phantasmagorical saviors waiting in the canyons. Nader invoked them in 2000. Howard Dean invoked them this year. They are an argument of last resort in political fantasies."

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