[Hpn] Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph
Coalition on Homelessness, SF
Fri, 28 Jul 2000 19:34:19 -0700
Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph: A Letter from Michael Moore to the
Non-Voters of America
Michael Moore, AlterNet
July 25, 2000
Viewed on July 28, 2000
DISCLAIMER: If you are planning to vote for Al Gore in November, good
for you. Don't let what I'm about to say change your mind because I've
been told by all the experts that if you do change your mind based on
what I'm about to say, George W. Bush might win the election and I
certainly couldn't live with myself if that connoisseur of
pharmaceuticals (the kind you snort up your nose or the kind you inject
on death row) won, in part, because of a letter I spit out over the
So let's review -- you like Gore, you vote for Gore. He's a decent guy.
I met him last year at some benefit, he came up to me, big hug -- whoa,
this veep is no stiff, I thought -- and thanked me for this and that. He
even quoted lines from "The Awful Truth" -- whoa, scary, I thought,
what's he doing watching cable channels above 40 on the box ... not much
to do on this veep gig, eh?
I told him I admired what he did when he came home to America as a
Vietnam Vet and spoke out against the war. That took a lot of courage, I
said (his dad lost his Senate seat for being an early opponent of the
So, if Al Gore is your man, go for it. In fact, I insist on it, even if
you are just throwing your vote away.
What I am about to say, though, is not intended for any Al Gore (or
George W.) voters. If you are one, please stop reading now.
To Whom It May Concern:
I address this letter to the largest political party in the United
States -- the 55 percent of you in the voting public who are so
disillusioned with politics and politicians, so sick and tired of all
the broken promises, so disgusted with all the b.s. that you have
absolutely no intention of voting in November.
You know who you are.
AND YOU ARE THE MAJORITY!
You rule. You are the Non-Voters, all 100 million of you!
Until now, you have been the subject of scorn and ridicule. You've been
called apathetic, lazy, ignorant. Your actions have been viewed as
unAmerican (I mean, what kind of citizen in the World's Greatest
Democracy would not exercise his or her most important and cherished
right -- the right to freely choose your leader!).
Well, may I be the first to tell you that, not only are you NOT stupid
and apathetic, I believe you are smarter than all the rest of us
combined. YOU figured it out. YOU uncovered the scam. And YOU had the
guts to no longer participate in a lie. Way to go! In 1996, you helped
set the all-time American record for lowest turnout ever at a
The reason you, the majority, no longer vote in America is because you,
the majority, realize there is no real choice on the ballot. The "two"
parties both do the bidding of the wealthy and agree with each other on
90 percent of the issues. They take 90 percent of their money from
people who make over a hundred-grand a year, and then enact over 90
percent of the laws those contributors want passed.
On the ballot this November, you already know there is no contest. The
independent Cook Political Report in D.C. last week announced that, out
of 435 House seats up for election in November, there are only 47 seats
where there is a "true race" between opponents -- and, of those, only 14
seats have a race that is even "close" between the two candidates. 14
out of 435!
"Ninety-seven to ninety-nine percent of incumbents running for
re-election will be returned to Congress in November," according to the
The Non-Voters already understand this. And they are not going to waste
one iota of their day on November 7 driving to some smelly elementary
school gymnasium to participate in a Soviet-style election with no
friggin' choice on the ballot.
So, to you brave voter-resisters, I say congratulations on your act of
civic disobedience! I joined you this primary season and refused to go
along with this charade of "choice." Nearly 80 percent of those of us of
voting age -- over 160 million Americans -- staged a sit-in on our
living room couches during this year's primaries. THAT is the great
untold story of this election year. How much longer will the
punditocracy be able to get away with dismissing this massive no-show as
"a sign Americans are content with the booming economy?"
Now that we have made our presence known (you all don't mind me speaking
for us, do you? Good. In fact, I'll just assume the currently-vacant
mantle of this majority party and serve as your leader until you say
otherwise), it is time to find a way that says, loudly and clearly, just
how mad as hell we are and how we are not going to take it anymore. We
need to find a way where our vote screams "None of the Above!" A chance
to act, like that Chinese guy in Tieneman Square, standing in front of a
moving tank and stopping it in its path.
In November, we should find a way to follow in the footsteps of those
intelligent Minnesotans who, even though they could care less about
professional wrestling (and even less, I'm sure, for Jesse "The Body"),
proved to the world that they not only have a sense of humor, but they
know how to stick it to the whole bloody system. Think of just how high
their level of anger must have been against the One-Party-With-Two-Heads
monopoly! I mean, state government is no joke -- somebody's gotta build
the roads, run the schools, catch the criminals. You don't want to turn
the asylum over to the chief lunatic but, damn it, that's what the
people of Minnesota did -- just to send a message! Wow. That took some
So, for those of you who weren't going to vote anyway, well ... what if
you actually did? What if you drove down to that stinky gym where the
little shell game behind the pretend curtains is taking place ("Pay no
attention to the voters behind the curtains!"), walk in, sign in, take
the ballot they hand you, and toss yourselves inside the booth like a
political molotov cocktail.
"You wanna tell me there's a choice here between two guys who both
support NAFTA, WTO, the death penalty, the Cuban embargo, increased
Pentagon spending, sleazy HMOs, greedy hospital chains, 250 million guns
in our homes, more bombing of Iraq, the rich getting richer and the rest
of us declaring bankruptcy?"
I'm voting for Ralph Nader.
Friends, we are losing our democratic control over our country. We may
have already lost it. I hope not. But in the last 20 years of the Reagan
administration, Corporate America has merged and morphed itself to such
an extent that just a handful of companies now call all the shots. They
own Congress. They own us. In order to work for them, we have to take
urine tests and lie detectors and wear bar codes on chains around our
necks. In order to keep our jobs we have had to give up decent health
care, the 8-hour day (and time with our kids), the security that we'll
even have a job next year, and any unwillingness we may have to compete
with a 14-year old Indonesian girl who gets a dollar a day.
And how frightening (and great) is it that the last place we can freely
try to inform and communicate with each other is on this very Web? Six
companies run by six men control the majority of the news we now get
from newspapers, television, radio and the Internet. One out of every
two books is bought at a bookstore owned by one of only two companies.
Is it safe in a "free society" to have the sources of our information
and mass communication in the hands of just a few wealthy men who have a
VESTED interest in keeping us as stupid as possible -- or at least in
keeping us thinking like them so that we vote for THEIR candidates?
I fear the cement on this new oligarchy of power is quickly drying, and
when it is finished hardening, we are finished. The democracy, the one
that's supposed to be of, by, and for the people, will cease to exist.
We must not let this happen, no matter how cynical and disgusted we've
become at the whole electoral process.
Ralph Nader, to me, represents a chance for us to at least temporarily
stop the cement from drying. We need him in there kicking things up,
stirring the pot and forcing a real debate about the issues. Whether
it's Ralph as Candidate or Ralph as President, he may represent our last
hope to get our country back from the clutches of the powerful few.
I am not writing these words lightly. I am hoping to sound a siren and
rally the majority who, for good reason, have given up -- but might just
have it in them to find the will for one last fight against the
Can Ralph win? Well, stranger things have happened in the past decade.
C'mon, think about it, not a single one of us ever thought we'd see the
Berlin Wall come down or Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa.
After those two things happened, I joined a new school of thought that
said ANYTHING was possible. Jesse Ventura started with 3 percent in the
polls and won. Ross Perot in '92 started with 6 percent and, after
proving to everyone that he was certifiably insane, still got nearly 20
percent of the vote.
Ralph already has between 7 percent and 10 percent in the polls --
before he's done any serious campaigning. He's gone from 3 percent to 8
percent in my home state of Michigan. These are amazing numbers and the
pundits and lobbyists and Republicrats are running scared. Hey, you like
to watch scared Republicrats running? Tell a pollster you're voting for
Now, look, before you all send me a lot of mail about how weird Ralph is
'cause he doesn't own a car or is a "sell-out" 'cause he's got a few
million dollars, let me say this: I used to work out of his office, and
Ralph is definitely one of a kind. In the future I will write of those
experiences but, for now, let's just agree that Ralph is at least half
as crazy as Jesse Ventura -- and about a hundred times as smart. I'd say
he's also saved about a million or so lives, thanks to the consumer and
environmental legislation he has devoted his life to.
And between Gore, Bush, and himself, he's the only person running who
would guarantee universal health care for all, the only candidate who
would raise the minimum wage to a decent level, the only one who would
get up each morning asking himself the question, "What can I do today to
serve all the people of this country?"
The list goes on and on. You can read more about what Ralph stands for
by going to his website (www.votenader.org). You'll agree, I'm sure,
there's lots of common sense there, regardless of what political stripe
But remember. If you are even THINKING of voting for Al Gore, vote for
Al Gore. Ralph Nader does not need a single Gore vote. There are a
hundred million of us out there who are uncommitted and currently not
voting. Right now, Gore and Bush are each hoping to win by getting only
40 million votes.
If you are in the Non-Voting majority and want to let 'em all have it,
if you want to get our country back in our hands ... well, if even half
of you show up and vote November 7 then you won't be held responsible
for Bush winning the White House.
In fact, you won't be held responsible for putting Gore in the White
Rather, you will have made history by putting a true American hero at
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And you will have given every company, every boss who's done ya wrong,
the worst nightmare of their lives.
November 7. Payback Time.
The revenge of the Non-Voters!
So sayeth their unappointed leader,
PS. Come to think of it, Democrats should be on their knees thanking
Ralph for running. Rather than taking votes from Gore, Ralph's going to
be the one responsible for turning the House back over to the Democrats.
When millions of these Non-Voters enter that booth to vote for Ralph,
and they come across their local race for Congress, they will find no
Green Party candidate in most of the 435 Congressional districts. So who
do you think Ralph's army of Non-Voters will plunk down for Congress?
The Republican? I don't think so.
The Democrats are only six seats short of regaining control of the
House. Ralph Nader will be the reason the Democrats get the House back
for the first time since Newt's Contract on America in 1994.
Democrats should send their checks to
Nader 2000, P.O. Box 18002, Washington, DC 20035.
(Or, better yet, let's try to elect enough Greens to Congress -- a dozen
or so -- and they'll hold the deciding votes because neither the
Democrats nor the Republicans will have the majority. It'll be a
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