I want to break from my usual mode of posting on Cost of Freedom and Mike's tour (which, if you've missed his updates, can be found to your right in the archive -- worth checking out! stay safe in Oregon, MP!), to post about something more personal.
Ralph Nader. And why I still love him.
From an interview in this week's Newsweek:
Howard Fineman: You've done more than one life's worth of work. Why go do this at this point?I don't need to go into the politics, or the issues, or the 2000 election, or all the boring stuff we make a pretense of caring about, even though we ignore those Common Dreams or Save Darfur alerts that clutter our inboxes.
Ralph Nader: Well, you're asking a personal question. So I will give you an unusual personal answer. I have a very deep well of empathy, and I take my motivation from what I see around the country. And I'll give it to you just briefly, statistically: 47 million people who make less than $10.50 an hour—six and a half, seven, eight dollars an hour before deductions; 45 million people without health care, 18,000 of whom die every year, according to the National Academy of Sciences, because they can't afford health care; 13 million children who go to bed hungry every night; 45 million people in dire poverty; 58,000 people who die from workplace-connected diseases and trauma every year, according to [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration]; 65,000 people who can't breathe, and die because of air pollution. I mean, do I have to go on? I mean, just what more evidence is needed that each and every one of us who has an ability to improve his or her country has got to do what they have to do within the confines of the Constitution and rule of law and freedom of speech?
This is the reality: we're in this because we know (we know) this is wrong.
We don't have to justify it -- it just is. If you are a human being, and you live on planet earth, you know that it is wrong that people live in crushing poverty; that children go to bed hungry at night; that mothers have to lose their children because of corporate greed.
Ralph Nader knows it, I know it, you know, we all know it. As Nader says, if you have the ability to change these statistics, how can you not do everything in your power to do so?
This is what it means to pay the cost of freedom.