My Turn: Better to rally supporters than insult them

Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2000

Thankfully, Mark Farmer's letter is not indicative of the intellect of the entire Green Party. I too am worried about the environment and what the future now holds with Bush in office. Unfortunately, I also voted for Nader. (Knowing full well my Gore vote would be of no consequence in Alaska, I did my best to help Nader reach his 5 percent support for political diversity and all.)

You state in your letter that Nader is much closer to the "true Democratic platform" than Gore. You also state that because of this Gore "deserved" second place. I only have one question for you: Where did Nader place?

In conjunction with that question, I also ask who will now support your "truly democratic" ideas? Who will now fight for the environment?

You say that Gore should have tried to "bring liberals such as yourself into the fight." That was Gore's mistake. He assumed that most liberals were intelligent enough to recognize that Nader didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning the election and that therefore, if the Democratic liberals wanted to have representation in government, they would vote for Gore. That is the downfall of all really intelligent leaders - they assume too much. They assume that voters are either educated with regards to the political situation, or that they are at least concerned.

But articles such as yours illuminate the truth of the matter. Nader followers such as yourself do not care about the environment. They do not care about the future. They do not care about what we leave for future generations. All they care about is saying, "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him," and spewing such wonderful sentences as "the bastardized corporate-centrist-moderate platform espoused by current status quo advocates who call themselves liberal only when it suits them." Quite an extraordinary example of the art of verbosity.

I am sorry, Mr. Farmer, but your better-than-thou attitude is exactly what cost Gore the election. You are a representative of the group that blocked the "slam dunk." Trying to claim some moral higher ground does not justify your line of thinking. Politics are outside the moral realm (try and find a single squeaky clean candidate). In the real world, you need to vote for the person who has the power to effect the changes most in keeping with your own beliefs. Nader never had any hope of wielding that power. He knew he could not win. The nation knew he could not win. And yet many people like you (in states where their vote would have made a difference) decided against helping the democratic movement in this country. Instead, they decided they would throw away their vote on a losing candidate in exchange for their own little soapbox from which to spout such diatribe as you posted in this newspaper.

I cannot truly hold you at fault. Your vote didn't mean diddly. Neither did mine. I am guilty of the same vote cast as you. I will not, however, stand by and let you point your hypocritical finger at those who are truly trying to protect the environment. As environmental activists, we should be trying to rally our supporters rather than insulting them.

Patrick McGonegal is a technical consultant who lives in Juneau. He may be reached at patrick@

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