A One Party America

The announcement of Ralph Nader’s bid for the White House has come as a devastating shock to the Democratic National Committee. Nader claims he wants to give the American public a strong alternative to President George W. Bush, which he says, the Democratic candidates do not provide, adding, in this day and age, we need a third candidate. As a registered Independent, I often am viewed as one of the more conservative people on this campus. So, following the wave of students rushing to to see where they placed on the innovative four quadrant political spectrum, I was alarmed to find that I am apparently more liberal on both the economic and social fronts than every single Democratic, yes, Democratic, candidate for President, with the exception of the Rev. Al Sharpton. While I recognize that the Political Compass website may not be an accurate representation of the candidates’ views, the idea that likely Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator John Kerry is nearly as conservative as the President he longs to replace is a testament to the distortion of American politics in the last three decades. America has been in a conservative era. In the last 35 years, there have been only 12 years of Democratic presidencies, those of Presidents Carter and Clinton, the latter of whom was much more centrist than liberal. Thus, instead of championing liberal causes, Democrats have been forced to compromise the party’s original liberal ideology in order to make it to the White House. And, it is for that reason that Ralph Nader’s announced bid for the presidency is so vital: the Democrats are too conservative! Think about it. The Democratic National Committee will likely pick Kerry as the party’s candidate for Presidency in 2004. Kerry voted for the War in Iraq, supports the NAFTA trade agreement, and when asked if he would support an amendment to the Massachusetts State Constitution banning gay marriage Kerry stated that he’ll “have to see what language there is.” He is not a liberal; he is a Democrat. And in today’s political arena it would be erroneous to universally equate the two. Alas, society is what it is. And if that means all the parties are more conservative, so be it. But, shouldn’t we vote for the candidate whom we think would do the best job in office? Clearly, while Kerry may have a chance at beating Bush, he is not qualified to make important decisions for our country. He has never been good at making decisions. During his first term as Senator of Massachusetts, Kerry voted multiple times for bills that exempt terrorists from the Death Penalty. In a 1996 debate with then Governor of Massachusetts William Weld, Kerry said that “Anti-death penalty nations would refuse to extradite [terrorists] to the United States.” Since then, Kerry’s view has conveniently changed, when in December of 2002, Kerry stated that he is “for the death penalty for terrorists because terrorist have declared war on your country.” His ability to play both sides of an issue has been repeated many times. In the 1990s, Kerry rejected the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal bill that would have clarified the word “marriage” as only between a man and a woman, and chastised the writers of the bill for “gay bashing.” Yet, despite Kerry’s formerly strong stance against legislation like DOMA, he never supported gay marriage legislation in Massachusetts. When asked three weeks ago if he would support an amendment similar to DOMA at the state level in Massachusetts, he made it clear to Boston Globe reporters that he would not rule out the possibility of supporting an amendment that defines “marriage” as only between a man and a woman—the same amendment he once called “gay-bashing.” Kerry opposes the PATRIOT Act, and vows to remove John Ashcroft from Washington. But wait—last year Kerry was one of the Senators to vote the bill into law! Do you want such a shifty person running our country? If you ask me, when the proverbial “ish” hits the fan, I do not want someone with such back-and-forth political views to send our soldiers into action, veto a bill, or approve large expenditures of money. Just because Kerry is not Bush does not make him a good candidate. We need a President who is willing to speak for his own beliefs with conviction, not someone who is going to say different things to different audiences in order to get elected. As Kerry stated in The New York Times last Monday, he intends “to speak to all Americans.” So far, he has succeeded in one way or another covering every single base on most issues. It is ridiculous and irresponsible for the American people to vote for one candidate as the lesser of two evils. We must vote for that candidate who would make the best President. It is for that reason that Ralph Nader’s candidacy is so important. The Democrats and the Republicans are too similar. No, Nader will not win the Presidency, but his candidacy makes a great point about the similarity between the two major parties.