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The Truth About Ralph Nader and "Uncle Tom"

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Seems there's been some heated discussion about Ralph Nader's recent comments during his election night interview with Fox News. No doubt there are plenty of perspectives yet to be considered. But in my view, one of Ralph Nader's greatest talents is in forcing people to think. Rather than distracting attention away from core issues, it seems Ralph Nader effectively draws our attention directly to them.

According to Wikipedia, the term "Uncle Tom" is "commonly used to describe black people whose political views or allegiances are considered by their critics as detrimental to blacks as a group". [1] This is precisely what Ralph Nader said recently regarding Barack Obama, and this is exactly what he meant -- hitting the nail squarely on the head -- nothing more nothing less.

In his last book, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community", Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. provides some additional insight:

"By 1967 the resounding shout of the Negro's protest had shattered the myth of his contentment. The courage with which he confronted enraged mobs dissolved the stereotype of the grinning, submissive Uncle Tom." [2]

So rather than committing any sort of racial slur, Ralph Nader recently issued a direct challenge for Barack Obama to represent the common interests of real people who voted him into office rather than submitting to the exclusive interests of multi-national corporations.

For those who enjoy slanting a story to their own liking when reporting it to friends and family, here is a transcript of the recent Fox News interview with Ralph Nader. From a more informed perspective, every American should take careful note of Nader's overall intent, rather than focusing on racial undertones deliberately emphasized by Fox.

Fox News: "Guess who's here? The Independent party candidate, Ralph Nader. This is his second run for the Presidency since he played spoiler in the close 2000 contest. This year he was on the ballot in 45 states plus D.C. This year he was polling about 1-percent. Ralph, you spoke to Fox News Radio's Houston affiliate today, and said this:"

"To put it very simply, he is our first African American president; or he will be. And we wish him well. But his choice, basically, is whether he's going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations".

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"Really -- Ralph Nader -- What was that?"

Nader: "It's very simple. He has gone along with corporate power from the moment he entered politics in the State Senate -- Voted for the Wall Street Bailout -- Supports expanding military budget that is desired by the military industrial complex, and doesn't really have a tax reform thing for the ordinary fellow in this country -- Opposes single-payer full Medicare for all, because the giant HMOs AETNA and SIGNA do -- Doesn't have a living wage -- He's supposed to be respectful of the poor -- hardly mentions them in his speech -- It's all the middle class -- He doesn't have a comprehensive program..."

(Interrupted by Fox)
Fox News: "... and you utter the words 'Uncle Tom'? Are you kidding me?"

Nader: "Yeah... that's the question he's gotta face."

(Interrupted by Fox)
Fox News: "He didn't have to face it until it came out of your mouth! I mean, I just wonder if you don't realize that you had a number of supporters out there. You were running a percentage this year, you were reduced to irrelevant, and I just wonder now if that's what you want your legacy to be -- the man who, on the night that the first African American President in the history of this nation was elected, you ask if he's going to be Uncle Sam or Uncle Tom."

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Nader: "Yeah, of course. He's turned his back on a hundred-million poor people in this country -- African Americans and Latinos and poor whites, and we're gonna hold them to a higher standard. It's just not an unprecedented career move, ya know, in the White House. We expect more of Barack Obama..."

(Interrupted by Fox)
Fox News: "You were reduced to complete irrelevance here. You weren't able to play spoiler. Will you run again?"

Nader: "Look, I don't like bullies like you. I can't see you. You can pull the plug on me. I'm lookin' at a dark camera..."

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David Kendall lives in WA and is concerned about the future of our world.

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