Ralph Nader Speaks at 2640 Space in Charles Village — Eric Imhof, October 9th, 2008, Audio Tech, Erich Steiger

Ralph Nader Speaks at 2640 Space in Charles Village — Eric Imhof, October 9th, 2008, Audio Tech, Erich Steiger

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Ralph Nader speaks to a crowd of supporters in Baltimore

Ralph Nader, long-time consumer advocate, community organizer, and major figure among independents and supporters of third parties, addressed a devout crowd of over 200 people (estimated) at the 2640 Space in Charles Village on Wednesday, October 1st, 2008. With the vote for the “bailout” bill still pending, Nader urged those in attendance to call up their elected officials and demand that they follow the will of the people and vote “No” on what he deemed to be “socialism for Wall Street.” He also spoke about the pettiness of the first debate between Obama and McCain, pointing out that:

“The question is not who won or lost, but what won and what lost. Big business won, bailout of Wall Street won NATO won, a military approach to the Palestinians won, the boondoggle $10 billion missile defense program won, nuclear power won, state terrorism won…to hear those two men talk, we can go anywhere in the world with any soldiers, any special forces, any invasion, regardless of international law So who lost? Well, the taxpayers lost, consumers lost, workers lost, the Israeli-Palestinian peace movement lost; maybe you can summarize it by saying: ‘we the people lost.’ ”

Referring to the election cycle in general, Nader rhetorically asked: “how do you satire a satire?” in order to point out the unnecessary and distracting theatrics of both major party campaigns. He went on to briefly cover most of his usual talking points, including the lack of civic skills taught in schools, personal freedom vs. political freedom, the exploitation of public property, and the power of major corporations in controlling the media and its role in election cycles (oh and by the way, he’s running for President, apparently). “The corporations are our government,” was his ultimate conclusion. By using a string of examples and quotations, including some from notable political figures Eugene V. Debs and Cicero, Nader seemed to overwhelmingly please the already-supportive and welcoming audience (he entered the room to a warm, reverent standing ovation).

However, perhaps the most notable aspect of the event was the lack of press it received. Not only was there seemingly little effort to distribute fliers or send out emails on a local level, but Nader’s own website listed the event as occurring at Red Emma’s Café in Mt. Vernon (I wasn’t the only person who went to the wrong place; it was only after going to Emma’s and realizing it was at 2640 did I catch a ride with yet another confused visitor back up to Charles Village, where I had originally caught the shuttle).

Kevin Zeese, Nader’s Press Secretary for his 2004 campaign, devoted Green Party activist in Maryland, and current president of the Common Sense Drug Policy, opened for and introduced Nader. He briefly spoke about his recent efforts working to get the state to return to paper ballots by 2010, urging those in attendance to visit truevotemd.org in order to learn more about the subject.

Eric Imhof is a member of the Indypendent Reader Editorial Group