From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jul 20 06:56:30 2000
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 22:44:58 -0400
From: Jonah Nadir Omowale <email@example.com>
Subject: [BRC-NEWS] Taking A Long Hard Look At Ralph Nader
Taking A Long Hard Look At Ralph Nader
By Cedric Muhammad <firstname.lastname@example.org>
17 July 2000
Those Blacks who have bought into the line that a vote for
Ralph Nader is a vote for George W. Bush better think again.
The logic, according to Democrats and Gore supporters is
that by voting for Ralph Nader, people are only taking
votes away from Al Gore and helping Gov. Bush walk into
the White House - directly benefiting from Gore's loss
of the traditional Democratic votes that Nader represents.
But can any self-respecting Black honestly say that Blacks
have benefited under Clinton-Gore - enough to automatically
extend their reign for another 4 years - with no questions
asked? Clinton-Gore have done in eight years what Reagan
and Bush could have only dreamed of (according to the common
view that Blacks have of conservatives): they ended welfare
as we know it, locked up droves of Black Men, ordered stiffer
sentencing for lighter crimes and subtly moved the public
discourse away from its previous attention to racial
discrimination in favor of a more palatable class-
based approach to the country's racial problems.
If Ronald Reagan had done these things, Blacks would have
been in an uproar. But because a Democratic administration
did them, Blacks could only manage a whimper and before too
long - forgiveness. Many Blacks honestly believe that Bill
Clinton is the closest thing we have ever had to a Black
President. As long as a white man has a "D" after his name
instead of an "R" many Blacks can see no evil. Because Bill
Clinton and Al Gore have that magical letter after their
names, many Blacks, like parrots, repeat the "prosperity"
song ad nauseum - that somehow Blacks are better off
economically than they ever have been. The height of this
insult occurs when Al Gore and Bill Clinton claim that the
Black unemployment rate is at its lowest level in history
- somewhere around 7.9%. What they neglect to tell their
cheering Black audiences is that if the increased Black
incarcerations (during their administration) were taken
into account they would see the Black unemployment rate
back up to near 10%.
Instead of clapping so loudly, Blacks should ask what good
are a few more jobs paying $8-$10 an hour if more and more
Blacks - men and increasingly women - are filling jail
cells and making the unemployment numbers look better?
And furthermore how much longer can blacks allow Democrats
to earn their vote just because they successfully point
out that the Republican party doesn't care about the Black
Electorate? Sure the charge is true but it certainly isn't a
pro-Black agenda. Dissing the Republican Party and Congress
may produce great applause but isn't doing anything to solve
Black poverty and a failing criminal justice system.
Enter Ralph Nader. Nader, in many respects, represents the
conscience of the Democratic Party that Clinton and Gore
have successfully run from for 8 years. His campaign raises
many of the issues that Blacks expected Clinton-Gore to
raise 8 years ago. His candidacy addresses the rightward
drift of the Democratic Party designed by the Democratic
Leadership Council (DLC), a group of Democrats, started
with Al Gore's help 15 years ago, that turned the Democratic
Party in the direction of corporate interests and moderate
Democrats and away from the civil-rights movement and
Gore proudly proclaims that he helped write the DLC's first
press release. How many Blacks are even aware of the DLC and
the hindrance that they have been to the causes championed
by Black leaders inside of the Democratic Party? Not many.
And that is why Gore can get away with parading his
affiliation with them so boldly - as he recently
did this past Saturday.
Ralph Nader has a stinging critique of the DLC that every
Black should listen to before they give Gore a free pass
simply because he wears a "D". Instead of looking at
American politics in terms of a narrow-minded Democrat-Republican
dichotomy, Blacks should increasingly look at
politics in terms of their own best interests. Sure, such
a strategy will find plenty in the Democratic Party worthy
of support but it also will reveal plenty to be disgusted
So, I think that Ralph Nader deserves a long, hard look from
Black America. Hopefully Blacks will not fall victim to the
weak scare-tactic that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.
While few Blacks may realize it today, a vote for Clinton-
Gore in '92 and '96 may have been a vote for Bush, or at
least some of the worst policies championed by Reagan-Bush.
And if that wasn't the intention of Clinton-Gore, in many
respects, the effect on Black America has been the same, as
if they (Clinton-Gore) were Republicans themselves. This is
very clear on matters of criminal justice issues. A look at
some of what Ralph Nader is saying makes this abundantly clear.
A good starting point to get familiar with some of Nader's
thinking is his recent address to the NAACP convention:
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