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RANT FROM APRIL 2000
"Who to Vote for"
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     We had a professor of church history back in the late Middle 
Ages who paraphrased a familiar verse, as follows:  "If I speak 
with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not CLARITY, it 
profiteth me nothing."  I will strive for clarity in this piece.
     In 1994 I found it impossible to vote for either major party
candidate for governor of New Mexico, so I voted for the person I
really thought should be governor, Roberto Mondragon, who was the
Green Party nominee.  He would have been a very fine governor,
one we could have been proud of.  He received more than 10% of
the vote, making the New Mexico Green Party the most impressive
branch of the Greens, in the whole country.
     But, it was pointed out, if those 10% of the vote had gone 
to the old war horse Democrat nominee, then the dim-witted 
Libertarian posing as a Republican, whom we have been ashamed of 
and embarrassed about countless times since, would not have been
elected.  I have been in discussions where I'm supposed to feel
guilty for voting for the one who really should be governor.
     Well, here we go again, this time at the national level. 
The primaries are "over," the media tell us.  New Mexico's
primary election will take place in June, three months from now,
but if it's "over," one could ask, "Why bother?"  The major 
parties have left us without a candidate.  
     G. W. Bush -- I follow Ronald Reagan's pronunciation, making
it rhyme with "slush" and "flush," but I lose people when I do 
that, and I can't do it in print anyway, so I'd better follow Molly 
Ivins' lead and call him "Dubya" -- Dubya is a dim bulb if ever
there was one, and totally purchased by the corporations who are
stealing the whole country.  He didn't "raise" 70 million dollars; 
they selected him, believing he would do what they say.
     Vice-President Gore is also entirely in the pockets of the
corporate raiders -- more so, because he's in power and Dubya
isn't.  Gore has had eight years to practice following the bidding 
of his owners.  His most despicable act of subservience to corporate 
power is his assistance to the pharmaceutical companies in trying 
to force African nations to pay the exorbitant royalty/profits they 
demand for drugs to combat AIDS.  There are 300,000 dead people on 
his conscience in South Africa alone.
     Jim Hightower's book highlights the dilemma we are in: IF THE 
GODS HAD INTENDED US TO VOTE, THEY WOULD HAVE GIVEN US CANDIDATES.
For a while there I figured this would be the year when I would 
opt out altogether and not vote at all.  But just before total 
disgust turned to absolute despair, Ralph Nader came to town.
     Now I've been aware of Ralph Nader for more than thirty
years, and an admirer of him and his work, but I wasn't excited
about his previous record as a presidential candidate.  We went 
anyway to hear him speak at the UNM Law School, and he provided 
a great deal of clarity, at least for me.  Excerpts:
     "Something is wrong, when the richest 1% own as much as the
poorest 90%. ...when Bill Gates, the richest single one, owns as
much as the poorest 120,000,000 [one hundred twenty MILLION].
....when the average CEO takes home 415 times as much as the
average entry level worker -- in 1940 it was twelve times as
much. ...Cicero defined Freedom:  participation in power.  
...The people have been shut out of participation in corporate
decisions, in media selection of stories, in advertising. 
....There are 22,000 lobbyists in Washington, dedicated to
influencing 535 members of Congress -- that's more than 40
apiece!  ...One million people, who dedicate 100 hours and $100 
each, will make a major party."
     So, my mind's made up.  I'll do it again -- vote for the one
who really should be President, simply because the thing won't
change until we all do exactly that.  
     I've been reading CORRUPTION AND THE DECLINE OF ROME, by
Ramsey MacMullen [Yale U. Press].  It's slow slogging, especially
at first, because the writing itself is as opaque as Wittgenstein
and Heidegger.  But finally the parallels between what is
happening here and what already happened in the last centuries of
the Roman Empire become clear.  The purchase of governmental
power, then and now, is the heart of the matter.  Not many will
plow through MacMullen's poorly written book.  Take the short cut
and read Jim Hightower and Ralph Nader.  Check Nader's website at
www.votenader.com -- and join me and let's make it a million
people.  Here are a couple of my hundred hours -- you figure out
yours.
     Otherwise the spiral downward will accelerate:  Star Wars
so-called, the last redwood and the last sequoia, public health
epidemics for lack of simple care for the masses, collapsing
transportation systems, poisoned food supply -- and on down and
on down.  Even if voting for Nader causes Dubya to be elected, it
still needs to be done, before the end comes.  If Dubya appoints
five Nazis to the Supreme Court, will that perhaps arouse the
American people, that vast left-out majority?  Will that turn
enough stomachs to bring about change?  
     How will Gore be better, except to prolong the long slow
agony?  With him the total domination of health care by
pharmaceutical companies will be in place.  The doom of the
American worker, skilled and unskilled, will be assured.  Nader
is the only hope the common citizen and worker has.  Let's rouse
ourselves and rouse them, while we still can.

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Copyright © 2000 Harry Willson

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