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October 29, 2001

Halloween brings visit from Nader

By Eric Rangus


Ralph Nader, Green Party candidate for president in 1996 and 2000, and longtime public-safety activist will speak and answer questions at Glenn Auditorium, Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 8 p.m. The title of the event is “The Ethics of Public Participation.”

Admission is free and open to the public. With a knowing nod to the evening’s cultural significance, costumes are encouraged but not required.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Ethics, the College Council, the Student Program-ming Committee and the political science department.

“This appearance will be different from his recent events because it’s not a Green Party rally,” said Chance Hunter, communications coordinator for the Center for Ethics. “There are also a lot of staunch Democrats on campus who think Nader needs to answer for his ‘crimes.’

“I think the crowd will be very—” Hunter paused, searching for the right word. “Spirited,” he said finally, referencing the audience’s attitude rather than its appearance.

Earlier that afternoon, Nader will lead a workshop on nonprofit work and public service for interested faculty and students. The workshop’s 50 available slots filled quickly.

Last spring, the Center for Ethics was looking for a high-profile speaker to add to its fall schedule. Hunter said the idea to ask Nader to appear came from Melissa Snarr, director of Ethics and Servant Leadership.

“Nader has a long history of public service and in working with nonprofits, so we felt it he would make an ideal speaker,” Hunter said.

While Nader has never lost his vision of consumer advocacy, in recent years he has turned to politics. A longtime Democrat, Nader ran for president on the Green Party ticket (as he had in 1996 at a much lower profile) and the support he siphoned from Democratic candidate Al Gore arguably cost the then-vice president the election. It’s not a view Nader shares.

“Only Al Gore could defeat Al Gore,” Nader said last November, while the final tally in Florida was still up in the air.

Since the infamous 2000 election, Nader has not slowed down. He remains the Green Party most vocal member and he recently began an initiative he is calling “Democracy Rising.” The organization aims to revitalize civic life in America by encouraging 1 million people to commit at least 100 hours and $100 to a progressive cause over the next year. He also is promoting a new book, Crashing the Party: How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President.

In August, Nader drew 7,500 people to a Democracy Rising rally in Portland, Ore. On Oct. 11, about 2,500 people paid $10–15 to attend Nader’s “People Have the Power” rally in San Francisco.

Never one to back down from a controversial stance, he criticized President George W. Bush’s conduct of the war in Afghanistan.

“The mindless bombing of Afghanistan’s infrastructure will not end well for Afghanistan and, I fear, it will not end well for us,” he said. Nader also urged those in the audience not to blindly follow its government’s policies and continue to thinking for themselves.

“Thought police in Washington dismiss all critical analysis as justifying the terrorist attack,” Nader said. “Never allow Washington to tell you to shut up, get in line and waive the flag. We are not going to bomb our way to a solution to this problem.”

While Democracy Rising will almost certainly make up a portion of Nader’s discussion, his Emory appearance is not a rally for it. Nader’s political past and present, though should be at the forefront. The title of the event, “The Ethics of Public Partici-pation,” is meant to hint at the 2000 election, Hunter said.


Back to Emory Report October 29, 2001