Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph - A
Letter To The Non-Voters of America
by Michael Moore
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 sent.
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
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 war).
if Al Gore is your man, go for it. In fact, I insist on it, even
if you are just throwing your vote away.
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.
Whom It May Concern:
I address this letter to the largest political party in the United
States-the 55% 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.
know who you are.
YOU ARE THE MAJORITY!
rule. You are the Non-Voters, all 100 million of you!
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!).
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 presidential election.
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% of the issues. They take 90%
of their money from people who make over a hundred-grand a year,
and then enact over 90% of the laws those contributors want passed.
the ballot this November, you already know there is no contest.
The independent Cook Political Report in D.C. recently 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!
to ninety-nine percent of incumbents running for re-election will
be returned to Congress in November," according to the Cook
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.
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%
of those of us of voting age-over 160 million Americans-staged
a sit-in on our living room couches during this years 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?"
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.
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 jokesomebody'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
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.
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 well 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.
frightening (and great) is it that the last place we can freely
try to inform and communicate with each other is on the 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?
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.
must not let this happen, no matter how cynical and disgusted
we've become at the whole electoral process.
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.
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 bastards.
Ralph win? Well, stranger things have happened in the past decade.
Cmon, 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% in the polls and won. Ross Perot in '92 started
with 6% and, after proving to everyone that he was certifiably
insane, still got nearly 20% of the vote.
already has between 7% and 10% in the polls-before he's done any
serious campaigning. Hes gone from 3% to 8% 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 Ralph.
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 a
future letter 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.
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?"
list goes 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 you are.
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 each hope to win
by getting only 40 million votes.
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 wont
be held responsible for Bush winning the White House.
fact, you won't be held responsible for putting Gore in the White
you will have made history by putting a true American hero at
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
you will have given every company, every boss who's done ya wrong,
the worst nightmare of their lives.
7. Payback Time.
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.
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.
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 Newts Contract on America
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
Congressa dozen or soand they'll hold the deciding
votes because neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will have
the majority. It'll be a friggin' Knesset!)
If you're still worried this letter might convince a weak-kneed
Gore voter to flip over to Nader-and thus lead to President George
W. stacking the Supreme Court to make abortion illegal, well,
it's all a bunch of hooey. Please read my grassroots.com column
entitled, "I Ain't Fallin for That One Again" at: www.michaelmoore.com/aint.html
Moore is a writer, film director, and political commentator. His
movie credits include Roger & Me, the largest grossing documentary
of all time. He was also creator of TV Nation, which won an Emmy
Award in 1995. Books include Downsize This. Currently Michael
is the host for "The Awful Truth," a television show.
article was sent to Alternatives (and to probably every progressive
media outlet in America) with permission to publish. We know it
has been printed this fall by several small press papers around
the state, and we're doing our bit as well. Enjoy the election
and its wake.
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