Ralph Nader Said that Progressives Do Not Know How to Communicate

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Nader wrote a letter to President Obama, urging him to hold a meeting with non-profit "civic groups." He never received a reply, and so he wrote a letter to First Lady Michelle Obama. Her assistant wrote back, saying that the president is too busy to have such a meeting. Nader wrote to Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and to several other progressive senators. He said that he never received a response from any of them. He went onto say that that compared to Republicans, progressives do not communicate amongst themselves. Imagine what might be possible if these progressive senators all wrote to one another and stayed in contact. They could come up with different ideas for campaigns, legislation, and so forth. If they didn't answer Ralph Nader, it can be assumed that they don't communicate much with each other, and progressives don't have the kind of network-building that has gone on among many conservative groups.

There seem to be progressives who will argue with people they disagree with, but who won't go into nursing home and volunteer some some with seniors, or act as mentors at a Boys Club or similar youth organization, or provide some assistance of some kind to a homeless shelter, or volunteer at a community mental health center, or help out at a local school. I am sure that there are progressives who volunteer their time, realizing that some people have to work two jobs or have to work overtime, and simply don't have extra time to spare. But if people do volunteer their time, or if they write a letter to the editor of a magazine or newspaper, or if they call up the office of their member or members of Congress and express opinions, or disagree with positions taken by politicians, then it would be interesting, for a change, to read about some of these activities on a site such as this. Perhaps these examples would inspire others or would provide some insights.

We have a situation where a disctinction is not made all that often between helping people maintain their situation in life, helping them with basic needs, versus addressing upward mobility through education or job placement programs.

I have found that in my state, there are some right-wing individuals who believe that they are the only human beings on earth, that no one else exists. People drive recklessly, ignoring that they do not have the legal right-of-way, almost causing an accident unless someone else stops when that driver has the right to proceed, and the other driver was supposed to stop. Who cares about rules involving safety? There is much that I have observed in everyday life that shows social deterioration corresponding with financial meltdowns in both the private sector and in government, and in moral deterioration in the combined empahsis on hate and greed on the part of lower middle-class people, let alone billionaires that Bernie Sanders talks about. If the government is not as it should be, that would reflect problems with We the People, wouldn't it?

Nader was talking about progressives communicating with other progressives. Sometimes, I notice that people posting comments on this site mainly argue with someone they disagree with. It is interesting contemplate how the entire organization of our society in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, and above all else, income, affects political persuation and socialization (yes, political scientists do sometimes talk about political socialization). The issues are all interconnected economically, politically, socially, and even environmentally. Some of these connections seem obvious, whereas others are subtle and complex.

The PBS Newshour did a report the other evening on how artificial intelligence may eventually eliminate the jobs of some highly educated professionals who sit in front of a computer screen all day. Computers may be able to do things faster and more accurately than can humans. They also make mistakes, as do people. Some experts they had on were from the computer science/artificial intelligence departments of universities. These AI people claim that their work will make life better for people, as their jobs will become more cognitively interesting, as the computers are left to the less intricate decision-making. I don't buy this argument. It seems to me that those who want to put others out-of-work are on the side of corporate management and are elitist. One author has already complained about the elite nature of Silicon Valley software engineers and executives. People go to college these days, given its high cost, mainly to improve their chances of employment and to boast their incomes with white-collar level employment. Yet, to an increasing extent, it sometimes seems as if the goal of people in higher education is to create equipment and software that will put people out-of-work. Anti-government assistance rhetoric has risen with the move to the right of the Republicans. No public services, and no jobs; that seems to be the possible future for many. Technology has a way of changing the "playing field" and altering what issues are in the forefront of people's minds.

Robindell's picture
Robindell
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

Like Thom says, under those circumstances, a guaranteed minimum income for all American citizens is in order. Then the survival and wellbeing of the unprivileged class is not forever dependent on their usefulness to the business class. What these so-called "trade" deals have made crystal clear is that the business class is not to be trusted.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland
Joined:
Mar. 10, 2011 10:42 am

Obama is one of the last people to trust on messaging. I recently sent this to the DNC whose messaging in election years is simply pathetic.

http://www.vcreporter.com/cms/story/detail/why_do_poor_people_vote_republican/10447/

Scare tactics work. Most people are simple and don't understand concepts nor are they willing to question what they've been taught/propagandized to believe. Messaging has to be simple, scary and negative. That's what resonates among most people who don't have the time or inclination to find out simple truths. Messaging must fit on a bumper sticker.

Combad57's picture
Combad57
Joined:
May. 29, 2012 12:50 pm
Quote Aliceinwonderland:

Like Thom says, under those circumstances, a guaranteed minimum income for all American citizens is in order. Then the survival and wellbeing of the unprivileged class is not forever dependent on their usefulness to the business class. What these so-called "trade" deals have made crystal clear is that the business class is not to be trusted.

Where does this money come from? It also sounds basically like Milton Friedman's negative income tax.

I'm for free trade and against these "trade deals" 100%

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LysanderSpooner
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote LysanderSpooner:

[quote=Aliceinwonderland]Like Thom says, under those circumstances, a guaranteed minimum income for all American citizens is in order. Then the survival and wellbeing of the unprivileged class is not forever dependent on their usefulness to the business class. What these so-called "trade" deals have made crystal clear is that the business class is not to be trusted.

What America needs is FAIR TRADE not "free" trade. When the manufacturing sector was still strong in this country and before 60,000+ factories were outsourced, the tariff stystem still existed . We need to get back to both....

Executive
Joined:
Apr. 24, 2015 5:12 am

It does not make complete sense to me that progressives dwell so greatly, and perhaps in some cases so exclusively, on trade deals. This topic pertains to corporations. I thought corporations and materialism were inherently excessive, that people should be able to pursue interests and careers other than being a financier, accountant, manager, or sales representative. That the buying and selling of goods is not the end-all an be-all of life. Politically speaking, it is questionable if, given globalization, what Thom and others advocate for will come about, or if the TPP can be stopped. Multinational corporations, like it or not, have a lot of influence over our elected officials. Ever heard of a Supreme Court case called "Citizens' United?" Exporting is part of the situation. American workers are said to be among the most productive in the world, and not everything that is produced here can be sold here. We have a system that maximizes profit. That is seen as a matter of efficiency of the distribution of resources. If a company is not fully successful, that is seen as being wasteful, inefficient. Of course, how the profits are distributed and used is a whole other matter. Americans don't insist upon and largely oppose regulating, or some would say micromanaging, how businesses operate, from how much dividends they should pay to what percentage of their net profits they should use to invest in expansion and job-creation or to give pay raises to workers.

Ralph Nader was talking about communication among progressives, and I have seen that it does really take place with that much depth or frequency, except for people to argue amongst themselves. Wanting policies in any area of government involves advocacy and political pressure. Nader is one of the biggest critics of corporate influence and power, but he was suggesting I think that politicians on this side of the aisle don't spend that much time discussing ideas and strategizing. It is a matter in part of putting the cart before the horse. Obama indeed has been criticized even by journalistic talking heads that he has not spent time building relationships with members of Congress (in both parties) in an attempt to get more legislation that he wants to be passed. He did make phone calls apparently to senators before they passed the fast-track trade bill.

Robindell's picture
Robindell
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Robindell: Imagine what might be possible if these progressive senators all wrote to one another and stayed in contact. They could come up with different ideas for campaigns, legislation, and so forth. If they didn't answer Ralph Nader, it can be assumed that they don't communicate much with each other, and progressives don't have the kind of network-building that has gone on among many conservative groups.
I don't know what happened. But I have to comment on the lack of a coherent ideological framework which so called US progressives work in.

I don't know about Nader, but I've never seen ANY evidence that Warren or Sanders have any understanding of how antidemocratic and virtually reformproof our federal government is, or how our dysfunctional electoral system narrows the political spectrum and punishes all too many citizens for voting their conscience.

ulTRAX's picture
ulTRAX
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I agree with you, UlTrax. It is time to install "proportional representation," I think that is what you call it. It may take a constitutional amendment in order to do it, however!

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 4:57 pm

People complain about falling behind. There should be more criticism of all levels of education coming from the public, to stop unqualified people from making decisions. Middle class people have the ability to learn new things, but instead, a lot of them seem so ghetto and downward rather than upward-directed.

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Robindell
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Why Do The Wealthy Want to Throw Children Off Food Stamps & Medicaid?

Thom plus logo The Global Wealth Report tells us that the worlds millionaires, composing less than 1% of the worlds population, own more than half the worlds wealth.
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