Today, I will become a Road Tripper for Ralph. I will be put up in a hotel and paid per signature that I get on petitions to get Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in Illinois.
As the week came to an end, I thought greatly about what I was choosing to do. Describing it to my parents was very awkward because it sounded so different. And that’s why I like it.
My mother said to me, “How are they getting all this money to pay you?” The answer is that the Nader/Gonzalez candidacy has a lot of support. Nader/Gonzalez supporters are not a fringe group of people. Many in America have looked at McCain and Obama and decided neither is good enough for the next four years especially after Bush.
Nader/Gonzalez’s campaign is also a political civil rights battle to end ballot access obstructionism, to open the debates, and to end corporate personhood in America.
Working to end control, the campaign only accepts donations from its most loyal supporters and definitely not from lobbyists or corporations.
The campaign also plans protest rallies for supporters to attend. One was held in front of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration taken over by automobile companies. Another will be held to protest Big Oil on Tuesday, May 20th.
Still, my mother said, “I wish it just was somebody else other than Nader. He runs in every election.”
To which I responded, “He only runs because the two parties don’t take up important issues.”
She asked me, “What are those?”
This election those issues are: adopt single payer national health insurance, cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget, say “no to nuclear power and support solar energy first, aggressively crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare, open up the presidential debates, adopt a carbon pollution tax, reverse U.S. policy in Middle East, impeach Bush/Cheney, repeal Taft-Hartley anti-union law, adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax, put an end to ballot access obstructionism, and work to end corporate personhood.
If only Obama or McCain had the political fortitude or civic integrity to take those issues up, Nader would not be “filling his ego” or whatever else his detractors say to demonize his run.
Besides having a high regard for Ralph Nader and all that he has done for Americans, I also want to participate in helping the campaign because I think Nader could be a threat to Obama’s win. A threat would mean Obama would have to shift to win Nader supporters over by taking up some of Nader’s issues.
After this quick conversation, I spent the rest of the car ride home to unpack my stuff from college, pack my suitcase, and head back to Illinois to work for the Nader campaign thinking.
For the first time, I seriously did not want to do what most college students do. I did not want to go work for some store, restaurant, or entertainment corporation in America. I did not want to go work for the movie theatre even if it meant free movie tickets all summer.
I wanted to do something that I could use to inspire me to take the next giant leap in advancing my career whether it be through writing a book, writing a screenplay, putting together a documentary film project, or simply networking with new people who will open new doors for me.
I thought about working for the campaign and how I will be going to the Media Reform Conference in Minneapolis, MN, how I also might be helping with a documentary that takes a look at the Green Party and maybe going to Berkeley to do some activism work, and how later in August, I might leave from there on a bus to go to the Democratic National Convention and participate in protests in Denver.