And yet... right intentions and right speech, it seems, do not always go hand in hand with right action. I disagree profoundly with Nader's declaration of another quixotic run for the presidency. I am among those who (dis)credit him with Al Gore's loss to the current incumbent of the White House in the 2000 election. I believe we have Ralph Nader to thank, in part, for seven years (so far!) of the worst administration in the history of America. Siphoning off precious votes from a serious contender was, in my view, a frivolous and self-indulgent act, and one which produced disastrously different results from those he claimed to intend.
There is some small part of me that is still idealistic in the face of practical reality. One member of our meditation group yesterday was quietly insistent in his support for Nader. Realizing, of course, that this old crusader has not the remotest chance of being elected, this friend feels that the time for what he sees to be timid steps is past. We have reached such a critical state in the world, he believes, that only the most radical change can save us from irreversible disaster, and only Ralph Nader and the Green Party envision such change.
He may be right. I hope not, because America is very far, still, from embracing the need for such a change. I take the practical view, that we must do everything we can to assure the success of the electable candidate, and that to support the unelectable is to court the very opposite of the kind of change on which we certainly agree. I believe that Barack Obama embodies the greatest possibility for a radical change of course in America and the world, and that his emergence as a political leader is powerful testament to the growing awareness that we cannot persist in the old ways and expect, as a species, to survive our own voracious greed.
I believe, too, that those people I know who voted for Nader in 2000 are confident enough in the candidacy of Obama not to vote for him again in November. They came too soon to regret their vote, and have had ample time since then to observe its results. There is, this time, an option to cast a vote without sacrificing one's ideals. Ralph Nader, I predict, will attract even less support this time than last. But we can still ill-afford to lose even a single vote to him in November, and I'm hoping he will stick around only for long enough to make his point before urging his supporters to cast a more practical vote.
He did not, in any event, make a big splash in the news this morning. Nothing on the front pages. A column on page 15 of the New York Times and another on page 10 of the Los Angeles Times. And not a word, that I've heard, on television news...