Thursday, October 6, 2011

An UnReasonable Man - Ralph Nader

I was watching a documentary just now called "An Unreasonable Man", about Ralph Nader.

The title comes from the George Bernard Shaw quote, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

This is a very Western way to think. It is a harsh path to choose, but it does get things done. I have been against this philosophy all my life. It is a way of being where you fight nature, you change the world because you are Human. It is a force of nature in itself and I have always believed that we should try to work with nature, which is a very Asian way of thinking, far more than a Western, or European way of thinking.

Still, with that being said, when you are working within a broken paradigm, sometimes the only way to fight it, to fix it, is to use that form of thought. One could alter Shaw's quote to fit what I am saying, in that Siddhartha, later known as "The Buddha", was more an uncommon than unreasonable man. In slower, more local times, this was workable. But sometimes, you need to simply stand fast and be that immovable object against which the unstoppable force will have to become stoppable up against.

Absolutes tend to be just that, but only in one's mind and only if you allow it to be.

As Shaw said, "the reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one adapts the world to himself", but the extraordinary man I would content, adapts himself to the world, thereby within the process, adapting the world to himself, using an Aikido form of momentum that has nature working with your desires as you work with what is already working just fine on its own.

This is a way of Being that Western culture uses to beat and beat down until what was natural appears ridiculous, dysfunctional, unreliable and just something to be scoffed at. Corporations are in a way, a natural outcome of Western attitudes. We see it in Western economics, medicine, psychology.

Like Gandhi, in a kind of East meets West way of doing things, Ralph Nader has stood his ground. Peacefully he has tried to work within the system legally until it was itself ridiculous. So he sought change through the Green Party in 1992. Then as an Independent in 2000 and 2004. He has been beaten down in the media until people now think he is foolish, or useless, or worse, against the good of society. But he knows all the good he has done, as still so do many of us.

Mr. Nader said something that I found interesting (aside from his history and many other things he said). He said that he was a twenty year veteran (this was many years ago), of the theory that you choose the lesser evil between the two parties (Democrat and Republican). And when you do that, after a while you have brought both parties down to a lesser level.
Hey I don't know but I had to use this image....
I always assumed you had to play along in that way too. Either vote for one or the other party, or you were just throwing away your vote. And maybe that is true in the end. I heard people say that Ralph Nader has ruined our country by running for President in 1992; he has stolen votes from the Democrats in 2000, allowing the Republicans (Bush) to win and begin a spiral downward we are still dealing with even though now Bush is enjoying his ranch in Texas thinking he's the bomb. Yeah, he's the bomb all right.

That may even be true, to a degree. But, don't we have to do something other than keep voting for the same damn fools, in the only two limited, damaged, broken parties that we have been. We keep supporting the same broken, corporate leaders. The Tea Party had an idea, but noooo not so much functional. This country is not very tolerant of a third party. But this is just more entrenched mentality, more corporate thinking, which this country sadly has been running on for a long time (since the 50s but started in the 30s).

We thought that was a good idea, why not, corporations make money, that is what they are designed for, why not run our country that way. Because corporations have thoughts like let's cut expenditures by firing thousands of employees.

I watched "An Unreasonable Man" about Nader's life. Very interesting. I really think he's gotten a bad rap.

The contention that he "ruined the chance for Gore" in the 2000 election  that even Michael Moore supported (then in the next election, turned on Nader), are ridiculous, although Gore's failure has screwed up this country, that is what the election process is about, allowing people to run, that is. There was hope in 1992 with the Green Party but big media, newspapers, magazines, etc., were as scared of him as are those on top in Government, and more so, in corporations.

Phil Donahue was also in the documentary. I only mention him because I've always had a lot of respect for him and at one time, was addicted to his show. It was the only sanity on TV, especially at the hour he was on, for many years. I tend to trust his opinion on things and I think he was one of the more rational ones as it related to Ralph Nader. He didn't think Nader was crazy, or misdirected. Misunderstood, maybe.

GM Corporation especially, for it was they who set the spies on him. But he fought back, in public, until GM apologized, and paid money to his organizations. What in the world would have made a huge company like GM act in such a way, unless they were terrified of him, and for good reason?

I understand that concept that functionally speaking he may have skewed the election. But that is like the school yard bully picking on you, so hey, it's safest to just let him and not provoke him. Screw that. Punch him in the face, show the other kids that you (and by association, they) can fight back. What if he's backed by the teachers? Then you have to show them too that you can fight back, and if you are not in a school full of cowards and pitiful individuals, if they fight back too, if it is all aired in public, eventually, something will get done, things will change. Will it be painful? Yes. Will it seem impossible? Yes. Will it look like you are the one causing all the problems? Oh, yes. But shouldn't someone do something, doesn't sacrifice have to be done, to evoke change, or simply exist beneath the power of the bully and those who back him?

Let's face it, the American two party system is broken, the government, is broken, the corporate paradigm of running the world, is broken. Of course Nader looks like a mad man in that environment. I agree that if everyone, everyday, saw his name on all the things that are safer in life now because of him, he would be held up as a Great American and not a thorn in the side of Democracy, a position I blame big business for, and their corporate, and government officers for: seat belts in cars, food label, air passenger's rights, labels on cigarettes, and on, and on, and on.... if he got a label on everything he and his organizations were responsible for in bettering our lives, we would be seeing his name many, many times, every single day of our lives. Because of him hundreds of thousands of people are still alive, and many much, much more.

I always thought this was nonsense, conspiracy theories, until I started to look at the facts, history, what is undisputed and it's all there. We are so entrenched in this form of government, so colored by big business, that we can't even see it. It's much like a group of people stuck in a closed room with foul odors wafting through the room consistently until finally, no on can smell that disgusting, crippling smell. All the while that that own the room and the cause of the odors sit idly by enjoying all the money they are making from the people's discomfort and illnesses.

Nader's War By "Lethal Autonomy" As the Drone Flies, on video game warfare, is yet another concern that needs to be dealt with, rethought and now that it is in common use, redefined and reformatted. Something we tend not to ever do as it costs money, although it is necessary and morally correct. Once you take your own people out of the loop of being in imminent danger, you make killing a game more than otherwise. We need to tread very carefully along this ground.

We are on a path to nowhere and we need to pull our heads out of the hole, notice the other ostrich's with their heads in their holes next to us. Ralph may have done some things that irritated the system, but change requires that, doesn't it? It's no fun indeed, but it needs to be done and someone's got to do it.

Someone, We actually, need to be the ones to look around and say,

"Hey! Something's wrong, it's got to change. What is it? How should it change? We need to figure that out. And, let's do something about it. Now."

1 comment:

  1. Great post here! I recently saw this documentary and have new respect for Nader. Before seeing it I didn't know much about him so I was neutral.