Nader: A great man with a great cause.

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Below is an excerpt of an open letter written by Ralph Nader. No he is not dead or faded away. He has been immensely busy touring the country to raise money to pay off his campaign debts. It is truly a shame that American political offices can no longer be attained by regular working men and women. One must be a millionaire or have access to that kind of loose cash lying around, to even contemplate a run for federal office. But let's listen to Ralph in his own words...

Notes From My Manual Typewriter

Dear Friend,

Let us all - active citizens - take a moment

and

hang our heads in shame.

I’m not talking about the Democrats and Republicans.

Or Bush and Cheney.

Or Kerry and Edwards.

Or even about Hillary and Newt.

I’m talking about you and me.

You.

And.

Me.

One hundred and twenty years ago, citizens of the United States didn’t have cars, phones, or even e-mail or faxes.

Blackberries grew wild on bushes.

And yet, a group of living, breathing human beings – starting with poor farmers in west Texas in the late 1880s – banded together to challenge the forces of darkness – the giant banks and railroad companies.

It was what historian Lawrence Goodwyn called "The Populist Moment".

Thousands of farmers’ alliances built into a nationwide movement of more than 2 million people that shook the political and economic system to its core.

Instead of the Internet, the word was spread through a series of lecturers – people speaking directly with people.

And according to Professor Goodwyn, it was the last time we’ve seen such a grassroots challenge to the economic and political system in the United States.

Despite all of our lovely web sites, and hand-held devices, and ringtones on our cellphones, and 400 channels on our DirecTV, and instant access messages, and . . .

Despite all of this, where are we?

Exactly.

Ah, Mr. Nader, but here you are communicating with me via the dreaded Internet.

To which I respond – but where has it gotten us?

Do you see thousands of alliances building into a mass movement of two million people?

I don’t.

Forty years ago, I used a manual Underwood typewriter to write "Unsafe at Any Speed" – my book length critique of the automobile industry that led to the auto safety laws.

And I still use my manual Underwood.

I don’t write on a computer.

Never have.

It’s my little reminder of the false promise of modern technology.

As long as the ribbons hold out, I’ll continue to write my books and letters and ideas on my Underwood.

I’m not oblivious to the wonders of this new era.

We’re no longer dependent on mainstream media for our news and analysis.

I can order any of the hundreds of documentaries I’ve been wanting to see and instantly watch them on a DVD player.

But just take a moment and ask yourself – if our message is so compelling, and at the push of a button, we can deliver it to millions of citizens – then why hasn’t it helped us to galvanize Populist Moment II?

Where are the thousands of alliances and two million people to shake the irrevocably corrupt Democratic and Republican parties?

Where is the mass movement to extricate us from the quicksand's of Iraq?

Could it be that the technology itself has undermined our ability to organize?

That we have become slaves to our machines?

These are not new questions.

In fact, many of these questions were raised in a wonderful book published a few years ago – "Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club".

In it, you will find inspirational essays by Wendell Berry (Why I’m Not Going to Buy a Computer), Russell Baker (A Little Cyber Grouch), Mary Clagett Smith (Abolishment of Childhood), Amy Wu (Young Cyber Addicts), David Gelertner (The Myth of Computers in the Classroom), Stephen Manes (User-Friendliness: Book vs. Disk) and many, many more.

Perhaps a close reading of Professor Lawrence Goodwyn’s "The Populist Moment" followed by the "Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club" will trigger some thoughts on how we can jump-start a new populist moment that will free us from the corporate supremacists.

As you are well aware, we have been barnstorming the country, speaking against the war in Iraq and for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

We’ve been tearing aside the corporate curtain to expose the Democrats and Republicans in their corrupt little dance.

To all of you who’ve left behind your computers and DVDs and satellite dishes and televisions to join us on the road for one-on-one conversations – it has been a pleasure.

To those of you who have so generously helped us whittle away at our 2004 civil liberties debt – incurred fighting off the corporate Democrats who drove to push us off the ballot in many states – we say, thank you.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on June 17, 2005 6:47 PM.

Perspective Vindicated was the previous entry in this blog.

Borrowing from Fascists and Dictators is the next entry in this blog.

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