Opinion: Equal of two evils

Tim Eggerding

Tim Eggerding

By Steve Kline

Look, I’m a huge fan of idealism. Whenever a hippie kid tries to correlate world peace with how many people attend a concert, I pinch his cheeks. As a teen, I’d often wear a pin that read, “F*** racism.” Hell yeah. Take that, racism.

In fact, I’d say I’m a cynical idealist. Cynical idealists think they’re going to change the world through dry, smarmy comments. But as for Ralph Nader, he’s showing the world the dangers of anything but cynicism.

Before we begin, I’ll let you know this column was spawned from a conversation with some Nader supporters. They were concise, educated on the issues and non-confrontational. Besides having respectful debate skills, they also were extremely tall – strategically tall, even. These are good people; I just disagree with their beliefs. A wonderful thing about being a columnist is that you can tear down others’ belief systems without sharing any space for retaliation.

In the 2000 elections, I voted for Nader. Before you start heaving rocks, Dems, remember: Al Gore won Illinois. I was a single-issue voter and voted based on a firm conviction that I should in no way exit a vehicle through the windshield at 40 mph. I still hold this position. A Naderific airbag prevented a victory for the Steve-Should-Go-Through-Windshields lobby.

Back then, we were fighting for a 5 percent vote for Nader so his third party could receive equal funding in the next presidential election. What would this have done? Our country is so polarized now that a prominent, leftist third party would split the Democrats and ensure a Republican victory for a long time. In many smaller races this year, the Republican Party offered to fund the Green Party. This should set off warning bells.

The two party system sucks, I know. Having to choose which candidate is easier to stomach rather than from a range of people is no fun. We should fight to get more options, but we shouldn’t fight this particular battle now. In four years, I’d rather pick from two mediocre candidates than have the worst president in our history stick around. More than 1,000 dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq cancels out any incident that might happen with an airbag.

Plus, Nader fans, are you sure he’s the saint he portrays himself to be? Old Twitchy tries to project the image of the only man in Washington untouched by corporate hands. He’s an everyman “for the people” – selflessly saving them from faceless corporations. He loves the people, reads People, is sorry that his demeanor scares the peoples’ children. Nader, people – people, Nader, “Oh hi, people, I’m your biggest fan.”

One of the ways Nader fights for the common man is to fight for the right to unionize. He extends that right to all countries and workplaces unless he owns said workplace. According to a Washington Post article from June 28, 1984, employees for his magazine, The Multinational Monitor, were sick of cruel working conditions. After an editor filed union papers, Nader fired him. Union-busting is a trend in Nader’s organizations.

Nader’s biggest asset is the claim that he is the only candidate not beholden to large corporations. According to an October 28, 2000, issue of Salon, he was a stockholder for the very corporations he sulked about. He owned $100,000 to $250,000 of stock in the Fidelity Magellan Fund. Among the stocks owned by this fund are Occidental Oil, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, General Dynamics (GD makes things that blow lots of people up in a single swoop), major pharmaceutical company Bristol-Meyers, Boeing, Exxon, Texaco, Chevron and … get this … Halliburton. Ralph Nader earns money when Halliburton earns money. Spoooooookkkkkkkyyyyyy.

This year, he refuses to release his financial records because they are “personal.”

When I was an idealistic 19 year old, I thought of Nader as the lesser of two evils. Well, knowing full well that you’re hurting the chances to unseat the most sinister president of all makes you worse than two evils. It makes you another damned politician.

Steve Kline is a senior in LAS. His column runs Mondays. He can be reached at [email protected]