For the good of the country, don’t vote for Nader this year – you can try again in 2008

So Ralph Nader has decided to throw his tattered, broken hat into the ring once again, giving the American people yet another “choice” and “voice.” He employs the rhetoric he is best known for – that of the corporately corrupt Washington and the kind of idealism that young voters eat up like so many gel tabs in the lot before a Phish show – which is all well and fine.

But not this year.

Geez, Ralph, not this year.

Nader brushes off claims that he helped give the Bush administration the presidency in 2000, saying most of his votes came from Republicans and Independents, and that if he had not run, his voters probably would have just stayed home. Maybe, Ralph, but not this year. We’re at a very decisive political crossroad in our great country’s history, and while George W. Bush might claim it’s a choice between being taxed and not being taxed, decisive leadership and an uncertain future – it really comes down to two choices: sanity or madness.

We’ve dealt with the madness for three long years now. We’ve suffered through the ridiculous tax cuts for the wealthy (can you believe the president is still acting like they are for and help everyone in the country? The sad part is people are actually buying it) and the unfounded wars (but we’re better off in hindsight, right? A really nice rootin’ tootin’ foreign policy for all you future presidents: Shoot first, ask questions later, then blame the CIA while hundreds more people die, and act like you want to know the truth as much as everyone else, even though you’re the president).

We’ve suffered through the constant reminders that everything is in the name of Sept. 11, 2001 (a horrible tragedy, the worst we’ve suffered, but every time the administration mentions it for political sway, they desecrate the memory of those we’ve lost a little more – by now their memory is as torn and threadbare as the flag the president wraps himself in) and the corporate scandal (the Bush administration is investigating its buddies for the same shady dealings that made their president rich? Seems fair).

We’ve suffered through the blatant discrimination of any and all minorities (let’s protect the sanctity of marriage by excluding people – sounds good) and the hypocrisy of the cutbacks in countless domestic programs (not the least of which are the environment and education – probably the worst of which, veterans’ benefits). Clearly, we need to unite behind a candidate who can actually win.

The Nader camp will claim that it’s just a choice between the lesser of two evils. They’ll claim there is no real choice in the corrupt two-party system. As far as the lesser of two evils, let’s think about it in these completely arbitrary terms: you can have Satan himself as your leader, or the Saudi royal family (Note: This is not to compare the president or the Democratic nominee to either of these obviously evil forces; it is simply a basis for comparison). Who do you choose?

You go with the Saudis. They might be horrible dictators, on par with any of the worst on the planet, but at least they aren’t Satan. Hell, I bet Satan wouldn’t have been afforded the luxury of having his entire portion of the Sept. 11, 2001, report being blacked out with a black marker, and you know why? The Saudi royal family is not as evil as Satan; if he were involved, his name would have been included. And his family is not close to the Bush family. They were close to the Nixons.

So that was for Nader, just a little note from yours truly, and those of you out there thinking about voting for him, it’s also for you. But here’s a more direct address.

Listen, I know Nader sounds cool, and it’s super hip to say you voted “Green” last election (like pot dude, green like pot). I know his ideals are really interesting, profound, sensible, kind and just. I know he’s a consumer advocate and a great speaker and a better guy. But it’s just not going to happen. It can’t happen. Not this year.

It’s sad, and it’s terrible but that’s just how it is; at least this year that’s how it is. That is how it has to be. We just need a break from the extreme Christian right that currently occupies the White House. You can help us get him out and when Nader turns 74, you can try again. This is not a condemnation of your beliefs (hell, they’re mine, too); it is an honest plea of complacence, just this once, for the good of our country.

Neil Munshi is a guest columnist. Send comments to [email protected]