Go for it, Ralph

It's not often that one gets to meet a national treasure. I had that opportunity recently at a private dinner in a hotel just outside of Dallas, Texas. First let me say, I think the world of President Bush, and I'm praying that he gets reelected. There are several other notables I admire in political, business, journalistic, and academic circles. But the person who has always stood out in my mind as the quintessential symbol of courage, integrity, and bulldog tenacity is the latest entry into the presidential sweepstakes, Ralph Nader.

As a result of some prior columns in which I described the ferocious abuse being leveled at Mr. Nader by the liberal establishment because he has the temerity to make another try for the White House, I was one of ten people invited to meet with him during his recent short stay in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. We met at the plush Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas, about 10 minutes from the big D.

Our small group was seated at a long table in the hotel's premiere restaurant, just digging into the assortment of appetizers, when Mr. Nader walked in with his entourage of 3 people. The tall, lanky, grim—faced man broke into a warm smile as he shook our hands and thanked us for being there. I'm not exactly a hero worshipper, and I've never asked for an autograph in my life.

I've always believed that people are just people. But I must admit to a genuine sense of euphoria at being so close to a true icon. Mr. Nader, without the benefit of public office, is responsible for many of the consumer protections and safety standards that all of us take for granted. When he took on the omnipotent auto industry in the sixties, they wrote him off as merely a nuisance who would never receive any serious attention from the public or the government. As he began to expose the dangerous engineering standards that cost thousands of lives each year, the auto moguls had him followed by private investigators, trying to find something to destroy him. During testimony in subsequent Congressional probes it was discovered that they hired women to seduce him, in order to discover, or fabricate dirt that would undermine him. All their efforts were futile.

When I think of consumer advocacy, I think of Ralph Nader. When I see safety features in cars, planes, and trains, I think of RN. When I read about corporations begrudgingly responding to the wishes of consumers, I know it's because of the dogged determination of pioneers like RN. In a country that truly cared about character and selfless devotion to the protection of the average family, there would be a statue of RN at a hallowed spot in the nation's capital, and his run for the Oval Office would be heralded as a breath of fresh air in the smoky world of national politics.

Instead, he endures the daily avalanche of brickbats more appropriate for a traitor than for a patriot. Why? Because he dares to expose the malevolent influence of corporate money in the decision—making process of the government. Because he has the audacity to suggest that two hundred million dollars in the campaign treasuries of each man running for Chief Executive is symbolic of the corruption that is threaded into the body politic.

Because of the above, he was kept out of the debates in 2000, and, as he related to me at dinner, he wasn't even allowed into the auditoriums where the debates were being held, even though he had tickets to the events. 'Bob, you have no idea what the government is capable of doing when they want to silence someone,' he said.

He should know —— he's got the scars to prove it. However, like some modern day Spartacus, railing at the injustice of the Roman Empire, he continues to struggle against the powers that be in quixotic battles, that slowly but inexorably get his message to the people. At the age of 70, this erudite, dignified man could embark on something less arduous than a campaign for President.

But the man who brought General Motors to task and alerted the country to the danger posed by nuclear power plants before it became common knowledge, is not one to cower when facing a tough assignment. I don't respect his verbal attacks on President Bush, especially during a war. However, his candidacy will probably help re—elect the President, and that's a good thing. One might say everything happens for a reason. Mr. Nader's accomplishments have already made him a living legend, so he has much to fall back on. As for me, I was humbled just to be in his presence. Go for it, Ralph. Your political philosophy notwithstanding, you've earned the right to run.      

Bob Weir is a columnist for The American Thinker. The author of 7 books, he is a retired NYPD sergeant, living in Flower Mound, Texas. BobWeir777@aol.com

It's not often that one gets to meet a national treasure. I had that opportunity recently at a private dinner in a hotel just outside of Dallas, Texas. First let me say, I think the world of President Bush, and I'm praying that he gets reelected. There are several other notables I admire in political, business, journalistic, and academic circles. But the person who has always stood out in my mind as the quintessential symbol of courage, integrity, and bulldog tenacity is the latest entry into the presidential sweepstakes, Ralph Nader.

As a result of some prior columns in which I described the ferocious abuse being leveled at Mr. Nader by the liberal establishment because he has the temerity to make another try for the White House, I was one of ten people invited to meet with him during his recent short stay in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. We met at the plush Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas, about 10 minutes from the big D.

Our small group was seated at a long table in the hotel's premiere restaurant, just digging into the assortment of appetizers, when Mr. Nader walked in with his entourage of 3 people. The tall, lanky, grim—faced man broke into a warm smile as he shook our hands and thanked us for being there. I'm not exactly a hero worshipper, and I've never asked for an autograph in my life.

I've always believed that people are just people. But I must admit to a genuine sense of euphoria at being so close to a true icon. Mr. Nader, without the benefit of public office, is responsible for many of the consumer protections and safety standards that all of us take for granted. When he took on the omnipotent auto industry in the sixties, they wrote him off as merely a nuisance who would never receive any serious attention from the public or the government. As he began to expose the dangerous engineering standards that cost thousands of lives each year, the auto moguls had him followed by private investigators, trying to find something to destroy him. During testimony in subsequent Congressional probes it was discovered that they hired women to seduce him, in order to discover, or fabricate dirt that would undermine him. All their efforts were futile.

When I think of consumer advocacy, I think of Ralph Nader. When I see safety features in cars, planes, and trains, I think of RN. When I read about corporations begrudgingly responding to the wishes of consumers, I know it's because of the dogged determination of pioneers like RN. In a country that truly cared about character and selfless devotion to the protection of the average family, there would be a statue of RN at a hallowed spot in the nation's capital, and his run for the Oval Office would be heralded as a breath of fresh air in the smoky world of national politics.

Instead, he endures the daily avalanche of brickbats more appropriate for a traitor than for a patriot. Why? Because he dares to expose the malevolent influence of corporate money in the decision—making process of the government. Because he has the audacity to suggest that two hundred million dollars in the campaign treasuries of each man running for Chief Executive is symbolic of the corruption that is threaded into the body politic.

Because of the above, he was kept out of the debates in 2000, and, as he related to me at dinner, he wasn't even allowed into the auditoriums where the debates were being held, even though he had tickets to the events. 'Bob, you have no idea what the government is capable of doing when they want to silence someone,' he said.

He should know —— he's got the scars to prove it. However, like some modern day Spartacus, railing at the injustice of the Roman Empire, he continues to struggle against the powers that be in quixotic battles, that slowly but inexorably get his message to the people. At the age of 70, this erudite, dignified man could embark on something less arduous than a campaign for President.

But the man who brought General Motors to task and alerted the country to the danger posed by nuclear power plants before it became common knowledge, is not one to cower when facing a tough assignment. I don't respect his verbal attacks on President Bush, especially during a war. However, his candidacy will probably help re—elect the President, and that's a good thing. One might say everything happens for a reason. Mr. Nader's accomplishments have already made him a living legend, so he has much to fall back on. As for me, I was humbled just to be in his presence. Go for it, Ralph. Your political philosophy notwithstanding, you've earned the right to run.      

Bob Weir is a columnist for The American Thinker. The author of 7 books, he is a retired NYPD sergeant, living in Flower Mound, Texas. BobWeir777@aol.com