A Vote for Gore is a Vote for Nader
I am writing this opinion statement simply to make some suggestions on the upcoming presidential election. I am not trying to force anyone to think the way I do or to vote the way I do. I am simply trying to share some personal insight on the choice being made this Tuesday. To be up front and frank with you, this column is not meant for anyone intending to vote for George W. Bush. Instead, this is an opinion statement aimed at all Gore and Nader supporters.
Having officially worked on both the Gore campaign and the Nader campaign, I have had the opportunity and experience to fight for the liberal values I feel strongest about: protection of the environment, human and civil rights and social programs.
I believe the choice on Tuesday is very clear for any liberal-minded student voting in a contentious state: Gore needs to be your vote. To be perfectly honest, I don't like Al Gore. I don't particularly like his broken promises on some environmental issues (although he has kept most of them), and I'm not a big fan of his character and personality. On the other hand, I absolutely love Ralph Nader. I love the issues and principles he stands for (for example, he is the only candidate who is against the death penalty, who actually follows what he says about campaign finance reform and who believes in immediate universal health care and a living wage). He is a man of character whose vision of this country's future most resembles my own.
But there is a real threat this Tuesday. Someone as ignorant and conservative as George W. Bush might become our next President for the next four years. This, in my opinion, would be an enormous mistake for our nation. Gore is no saint, but it is a dangerous mistake to compare him to Bush. There are very clear differences between the two candidates on almost all the issues -- taxation, social security, the environment, the missile defense system, foreign policy, etc.
Voting for Al Gore is not so much about strategy and about voting against your conscience: it is about preserving liberal values. The greatest power the next president will have has little to do with his executive office. Instead, his power and his legacy (for at least 30 years after his term in office) will rest on Supreme Court appointments. Many underestimate or question the power the Supreme Court has, but one only needs to look at the impact of Roe v. Wade to know that this is a severe misjudgment.
Many analysts believe that the next president will have the opportunity to select two to five new justices to the Supreme Court. I cannot stress enough the impact that this will inevitably have on our nation. If we have a liberal president and a liberal Supreme Court, we will have a basis to make the changes that Ralph Nader proposes and which I strongly believe in (the abolition of the death penalty, etc.) On the other hand, if George W. Bush is elected, the liberal progressive movement that Ralph Nader is fighting for will be all but dead.
A vote for Nader (in a contentious state) IS a vote for Bush -- plain and simple. A Bush presidency will not give rise to a progressive movement. It will trample it. The question liberals must ask themselves is: Can you imagine Bush as president, a Republican controlled Congress AND a conservative Supreme Court? That's just about the closest vision of hell that I could possibly imagine. If this were to happen, you can say goodbye to all the good that has come out of liberal thinking in this country. The environment will be devastated, women will lose their right to choose and the rich will continue getting richer while the poor become poorer. Sorry for the oversimplification, but it's true.
The environment, in my opinion, is the most important issue, period. If you truly care about the environment, you will vote for Gore. Any environmentalist will recognize the fact that we cannot possibly afford four years of George W. Bush when it comes to issues such as the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems or when it comes to the United States' participation in international environmental regimes aimed at protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development. I agree wholeheartedly that Gore is no Nader when it comes to environmental issues (although Gore has done more than any other elected official in the White House). But Nader will not be able to save the environment with George W. Bush as President.
You do not need to disregard your values and principles in this election. It is exactly for those reasons that you should vote for Gore. Our country is obviously not ready for the ideals of Ralph Nader. I truly wish it were. Knowing that, we have an obligation and a duty to elect Gore as president in order to preserve liberal values and to not throw away eight years of progress on environmental, social and economic issues.
The next president of the United States of America is going to be Al Gore or George W. Bush. Period. It is time to vote for which values we want ruling our nation -- liberal or conservative. If you are liberal, if you believe in the values and principles of Ralph Nader, and if you are voting in a contentious state, you have an obligation to vote for Gore. The Green Party and Nader can work with the Democratic Party throughout the next four years to move it back towards its progressive liberal base and away from its contemporary moderate stance. I plan to do just that starting Nov. 8.
In short, I am voting for Gore, because I believe in Ralph Nader. This may sound paradoxical, but considering the circumstances, it makes a lot of sense. I urge all my fellow liberal students, professors and thinkers voting in contentious states (such as New Hampshire) to do the same.