I took some time off from filling out forms to go check out the Don Quixote of American politics, Ralph Nader, at a Nader “rally” held here in Morgantown today. I have no intention of supporting him in the fall, but I had never seen him in person before and am naturally drawn to these sorts of things. At any rate, I left pretty unimpressed with the campaign, but Nader himself was worth the time.
There were approximately 200 people in the theatre, and they shook me down for a five dollar donation in order to enter to hear him, which I thought was rather amusing. Power to the people and all that. Overall, the crowd was young, and there were a bunch of Obama shirts and buttons, so it seems like I was not the only one in the crowd there just to check things out.
Before Nader spoke, he was in a press conference next door, so we had some younger fellow up on stage for about 20 minutes speaking, and it was just abysmal. I will not publish his name in order to protect the fool, but apparently he is an official with the campaign and the state coordinator. He was awful. He had no idea what separated Nader from Mckinney and Barr, he had no idea why Nader was not running on the Green ticket, and everything was a conspiracy by the Democrats.
Fortunately, that came to an end, and Nader came out. He was not as dynamic a speaker as I thought he would be, but he made some fair points about the difficulties third party candidates have in getting ballot access. Additionally, he talked at length about how it makes no sense for him to be excluded from the debates, and I tend to agree. Why not have Barr, McKinney, and Nader at at least one debate with McCain and Obama? The system is rigged against muted groups.
The most surprising thing about the whole rally was how much overt hostility there is directed at the Democrats. The folks, including Nader, seem to just agree without any debate that the Bush/Cheney administration and the Republicans are completely criminal and corrupt, but what really got them riled up was the damned Democrats, who really are what is keeping the Nader wing of the spectrum down. I found that odd.
Worth the time, though, and there was the strong odor of patchouli amongst the crowd.