Calendar Letters One Way to Look at it Remeber This Heard This Media Glance Said It Home Page Said It Forum Activist Alert Subscribe to Said It Back Issues Contact Us Links Inside Info

WHAT WE SAID
Words That Got Through In The Media

By Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke


Ralph Nader

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

I don't think government should force a woman to either have a child or not have a child.

We should try to have policies that reduce the need for abortion, but that decision's got to be made by the woman, the family, the clergy, the doctor.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

I just don't believe government should tell a woman that she either has to have a child or doesn't have to have a child. We've seen both in the world.

Meet the Press, August 6

I don't think the Republican Party wants to destroy itself by reversing Roe vs. Wade. They have a sense of (political) survival, and they are not going to do it.

The Oregonian, August 26


ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND PRESIDENTIAL STANDARDS

Tim Russert: You were one of the few liberals to say that you would have voted to impeach and convict Bill Clinton. Why?

Nader: Well, first, he disgraced the office, dragged the country through it for a year. He could have owned up to it. He stole a year of journalism from the American people. Think of all the stories about things going on in this country that never made it on the news. And then he lied about it! I mean, what's the standard?

Meet the Press, August 6


CHILDREN AND EDUCATION

From the age of 9 months to 19 years, precise corporate selling is beamed directly to children separating them from their parents, an unheard of practice formerly, and teaching them how to nag their beleaguered parents as unpaid salesman for companies.

MSNBC, August 26

…you see how our children are not learning enough history, they're not learning how to write. Their attention span is being shrunken by all this entertainment on TV and videos that are beamed to them. Obviously, we have to repair our schools and bring the material infrastructure up. Obviously, we have to try to get better teachers and make sure they're paid adequately. And obviously, we have to make the schools safe.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

The corporations are planning our futures … They are making sure [our children] grow up corporate. The kids are over-medicated, militarized, cosmetized, corporatized. They are raised by Kindercare, fed by McDonald's, educated by Channel One. They are given hand-held entertainment units like Gameboys, seduced by Disney movies and toys, and their coaches and teachers all operate against a backdrop of corporate logos and sponsorship.

The Washington Post, June 17


CIVIL RIGHTS AND TREATY RIGHTS

[The Makah's right to whale is] part of the treaty rights, it's part of the whaling commission rules … and it's part of their traditional subsistence practices. I think I'm going to try to persuade the environmentalists to go after the big whale hunters who are using it for commercial purposes.

Seattle Times, August 25

The point is that we have to have a basic policy in this country of equal rights, equal responsibilities regardless of race, gender, sexual preference.

Meet the Press, August 6

[The Vermont Supreme Court Decision allowing same-sex civil union] was a right, a humane and touching decision with a very searching rationale—it is not only a matter of affinity, but of economics on health care and other issues, which makes it all the more needed.

POZ, May 10

[The death penalty] is severely discriminatory against minorities, especially since they're given no competent legal counsel defense in many cases. It's a system that has to be perfect. You cannot execute one innocent person.

Meet the Press, June 25


ECONOMIC JUSTICE

The need for more than one job to pay one's bills, the fear and reality of medical expenses for the uninsured, the growing distance between home and job… the lack of affordable day care all combine to form a daily, exhausting frenzy with less time for children and community. Who designed this economy, anyway?

MSNBC, August 26

These top CEOs are making 415 times the entry wage in their own company. You know what it was in 1940? 12. 1980? 40. Now, 415.

Los Angeles Times, March 23

The other day I met a 45-year-old mother of one, and she told me she's working at Wal-Mart and had to get a used car to drive to Wal-Mart eight miles away. You see, that eats into the $6.60 an hour that she was earning, because you have to pay for the car and the insurance and the repair.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

We've had 10 years of economic growth, but the majority of the workers are making less today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than they made in 1973 or '79, which is a remarkable departure from our history. When the economy grows, usually most people are better off. And 47 million workers—that's over a third of the work force—are making less than $10 an hour; many of them five and half, six, seven dollars an hour in Wal-Mart, or Kmart, or McDonald's.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

We now have 47 million Americans without health care coverage. It's growing by about one million a year, even though we're experiencing a growing economy with growing corporate profits. We have 20 percent of our children living in deep poverty. They often don't have health care. In California, by the way, it's 25 percent children living in deep poverty, by far the highest percentage in the Western world.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

When NAFTA was being pushed through the Congress, the Clinton-Gore administration promised that the cheap-labor, pollution-producing maquiladoras dotting the Mexican border communities would be cleaned up. It hasn't happened, and today these factories and the makeshift housing they have spawned continue to exist as a major human tragedy and peril to public health.

MSNBC, August 26

We should tax stock market speculation. We should tax pollution. We should tax activities that we don't like, like sprawl, in order to get a better planning system and better zoning system. And we should lighten the taxes on things we do like, like honest labor, like food.

NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, June 30


FOREIGN POLICY

The key thing in a presidential position on foreign policy is, how badly do you want to advance justice? How badly do you want to further the health and safety and life's fulfillment for the people of this world to the extent that we can; such as mounting assault on global tuberculosis, and global malaria, and other deadly, infectious diseases that are coming our way and in drug-resistant form.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

If we abhor the use of violence, except as a last resort of self-defense, we will be seriously focused on how to deter it and how to prevent it. And, by the way, global infectious disease is a weapon of mass destruction, malaria, tuberculosis, mass poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. So, let's have different attentions to different styles of violence that need to be prevented.

NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, June 30

Much of our foreign policy is driven by unsatiable corporate pressures to sell military hardware to both the Defense Department and directly to foreign dictators. This happens even if it goes against the interests of our country, taxpayers and the principle of prudently allocated public budgets.

MSNBC, August 26

I have known a lot of super experts in foreign policy. They have gotten us into wars we can avoid. They've supported dictatorships, and oligarchies. They have oppressed the poor peasants and the workers. They haven't given the best of our country abroad, in terms of our ideas and how we can lift the standard of living of other countries by liberating their own genius. So the motivation of what you really care about and who you really care about is absolutely the most important qualification.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

I think I have a sufficient familiarity to know that our government should side with the peasants and workers for a change instead of funding, arming, subsidizing and propping up dictatorships and oligarchs. The Soviet Union demised ten years ago. There's no excuse for that anymore.

NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, June 30

…if we had a more decent foreign policy toward Mexico and Central Mexico where we sided with the peasants and the workers once in a while instead of the oligarchs and corrupt government, there wouldn't be such a desperate economic condition for these desperate people to move north and expose their entire lives to crossing the border like that.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5


CORPORATE WELFARE AND CORPORATE CRIME

Candidates are asked, "What is your position on welfare, what is your position on crime?" That's not the right question, it needs an adjective. "What is your position on corporate welfare? What is your position on corporate crime?" We're going to open this up. We're going to provide adjectives to these issues.

The New York Times, April 15


TWEEDLE DEE AND TWEEDLE DUM

…you're right, the Democrats want to raise the minimum wage by $1 for over two years, and the Republicans want to raise it by $1 over three years. There is 17 cents difference between the two parties. Both of them are not coming out to repeal Taft- Hartley. Both of them are not coming out to change WTO and NAFTA, which is so inimical to the rights of working people. And above all, is there anyone there saying make universal health care accessible now? There's nobody.

CNN Crossfire, July 3

We've been waiting for the Democratic Party for 20 years to straighten out. Instead, when they beat the Republicans, their analysis is that's because they took the Republican issues away. When they lose, it's because they didn't take the Republicans. I want them to say they didn't pay attention to progressive people, issues in this country.

CNN Crossfire, July 3

Al Gore is talking populist and walking Republican.

The Oregonian, August 26


THIRD PARTY POLITICS

Finally, progressives will have a place to go—and that is going to be a very sharp retort to business as well as the Republican and Democratic parties.

The Oregonian, August 26

It is time, I think, for a citizen President

NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, June 30

…historically, third-party candidates spearheaded the labor movement back in the 19th century. They spearheaded the anti-slavery movement. They spearheaded the women's right to vote movement. They spearheaded the farmers progressive populist movement that gave us the greatest political reform of our history over 100 years ago.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5


CONGRESS UNDER A NADER PRESIDENCY

Were I elected president, they would have to follow a major civic mobilization all over the country. You know, these politicians in Congress, they have their finger to the wind, and that would be a lot of wind. So we would have I think a lot of good success with the members of Congress.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5


OUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE

Every Western country, for example, makes it easier for people to form trade unions, to bargain collectively with big employers. They cover everybody for health care. They have great day care. If Western countries can do this in places like the Netherlands or France or Germany, why can't we?

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

Our goals are realizable. They're long overdue. We have the resources for them. The constitution enables it, the majority of the people want it, and we're going to go for it!

The Register-Guard, August 26

[The social democracies of Western Europe were good] in terms of what they got in the '50s and '60s. They gave their people universal health insurance, good labor union rights, maternity leave, one-month paid vacations, good pension funds. But they've run out of gas, and they're on the defensive as mega-corporatism moves from the U.S. to Europe and says cut the safety net. Statesman Journal, August 26

If every other Western country can provide universal, accessible health care for all their people, why can't the richest country in the world do so? And I would propose and really press for the kind of universal health care system where you reduce enormous amount of billing fraud and waste, enormous amount of administrative expense, and just in those savings alone, you can cover the 47 million people who aren't covered.

CNN TalkBack Live, July 5

 

Winona LaDuke

ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION AND DECOLONIZATION

In my gut, I want all American people to engage with nature, to reestablish relationship with earth. Environmentalism is a strange term. I think it is really about rediscovering your humanity and how your humanity relates to life. What we have is a colonial society in America which is trying to come to terms with the fact that it's run out of frontiers. The depth of environmentalism, the relationship of humans to the natural world, is what we need to recover.

Z, January '98

I think the challenge for American people is decolonizing your mind. Letting go of the imagery you have of how you relate to native people, of how to relate to the land, the idea of a frontier mentality … The challenge in America is decolonizing. Not just native people, but decolonizing federal policy, decolonizing the assumptions of what is America. Deconstructing America from patriotism to a flag to patriotism to a land.

Z, January '98

We are pretty much combusting ourselves into oblivion.

The Oregonian, August 26


ON RACE

I believe that the Creator made all colors of people, and they're all beautiful. There is an immense amount of beauty in each of us.

Z, January '98


NATIVE LAND

I don't preach to the choir. Most of the time, I'm trying to engage with the Chamber of Commerce in Detroit Lakes or businesses in border towns to my reservation. I talked to the Rotary Club in the town of Park Rapids one day. They said, You Indians are all up there on welfare and you're lazy. If you'd just go get yourselves a job, you'd be okay. You'd have a lot more self-respect and you wouldn't be so poor. I believe that that is a statement that is not isolated to that little border town. Some people say, Why don't you Indians just get a job? Get with the program. Pull yourselves up by the bootstraps. I'm talking to a room entirely of men, 50 middle-aged men. I said, The problem is that you guys got our boots. We can't find our bootstraps because you have our boots. You control all the land on my reservation. Ninety percent of it is held by non-Indian landowners.

Z, January '98


ECONOMIC JUSTICE

I will argue for a living wage in our communities, so working families do not have to live in poverty and are able to work in jobs that have meaning and dignity.

Indian Country, April 25

Indian people are poor because of structural poverty. Structural poverty means you don't actually control your land, your economy. We don't have a multiplier. That is to say that a town like Boulder has a multiplier of seven. A dollar comes in and it's spent over and over, unless you get a Wal-Mart, then you're kind of screwed. Up in our reservation, a dollar comes onto the reservation, it's spent the next day in the border town, because we don't have a retail sector. That's structural poverty. You can't fix that until you restructure your economy. You control your land and you control your economy.

Z, January '98


WOMEN, COMMUNITY, AND HERITAGE

The Indigenous Women's Network believes that you have the wellspring for healing your community within the cultural framework and spiritual practice of your community. The instructions are not about going back. It's about taking and learning from your traditions, carefully reflecting on them as you make your decisions for now, for your life way. That's what they call it in our community, the life way. It's our path. There's so much pressure on us to assimilate, to become commodified, to buy your life at The Gap. The challenge we face in this most confusing of times is to take that which is ours and use that as the framework from which we make our decisions for the future. That's what the Indigenous Women's Network is about.

Z, January '98


DEMOCRACY

My goal in the campaign is to change the content of American democracy and to transform American democracy so it's actually functional. That will require building a multi-party system that allows broader participation and a wider range of ideas. It's a two-party duopoly and those parties have become increasingly exclusive. My taxable income last year was about $4,800 and I worked very hard. You should be able to be engaged in politics if you're not a millionaire.

Minnesota Women's Press, August 16

The Europeans that came to this country had no framework for democracy. They came out of monarchy and feudalism. They fled looking for religious freedom. So where did Ben Franklin go? Up to the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy to get the idea of representational government. Those guys were all up there, following around the Iroquois Nation. So they founded their ideas on that Iroquois Confederacy. Missed major, essential points, though. For instance, one-man-one-vote. That had to do with only white men who owned land. That was a big missing point. Actually, in the Iroquois Confederacy the interesting point is that it is women who appoint the chiefs. It is women who have the last word. Interesting point. Missed essential point.

Z, January '98

We want to encourage people to vote based on their principles and not their fears, and we want to ensure that all these people who don't vote are not forgotten. People have a right to vote for what they believe in, for what they feel is right. It's important to remember that people died for the right to vote. And getting people back into voting, that's something worth fighting for.

Salon.com, July 13

Because people make decisions based on fear, Al Gore takes votes away from us. You shouldn't run a country on fear. Look around the world. The U.S. is lagging behind in its democracy. Almost every other so-called developed country has a multi-party system. Most other countries that have had monarchies have struggled to enfranchise their people. People in this country died for the right to vote, and you should honor that.

Minnesota Women's Press, August 16


THE FIELD OF CANDIDATES

I'm the only nursing candidate (LaDuke is the mother of 8 month old Gwekaanimid.)

Minnesota Women's Press, August 16

I said yes because Ralph is right when he says that sometimes a private citizen must become a public citizen. It is people like me who need to be engaged in the political process, not people in the Beltway.

Minnesota Women's Press, August 16

There's a divide between politicians and common people. You've got to eliminate that mystique. Look at me: a woman who is a mother and a person of color who lives in a rural area. Those are four things that aren't supposed to be in politics, and I disagree with that.

Minnesota Women's Press, August 16

It's really going to be lousy if [Bush] gets in. But I can't stand to continue this [election] process where the whole thing gets degraded and goes into a downward spiral. I mean, look at the choices, and they're getting worse.

Salon.com, July 13

I would really like to debate Dick Cheney.

Ashland Daily Tidings, August 28

Ralph Nader is someone who has absolute integrity; we don't trot out issues in an election year.

Minnesota Women's Press, August 16


ON REDECORATING THE WHITE HOUSE

I know it's a national treasure, but we need a little diversity! We'll have the inaugural pow-wow and remove the pictures of aging white men and put up pictures of women and people of color.

Minnesota Women's Press, August 16


DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICY

The U.S. is a rogue nation. This country has immense potential that's totally squandered. Incredible wealth, rich ecosystems, and we squander the potential in our own country and internationally. We are going to be the old ladies one day and I want to be proud of what we've done.

Minnesota Women's Press, August 16

We really need to cut back on military spending. It's time to switch to a peacetime economy. Right now, we're spending up to a third of our budget on defense, even though the Cold War is over. People in Washington don't want acknowledge that. The Cold War has been over for 10 years.

Salon.com, July 13


VISIONS AND GOALS

Ralph and I hope to re-energize the public debate on the future of this country, whether it is through the debates, through voting or multiparty participation. We have a vision for the future.

Medford Mail Tribune, August 27

Our goal is to revitalize and deepen political participation in the country.

Ashland Daily Tidings, August 26




Sign up on our mailing list to receive
monthly announcements of each new issue

Click here to join

Copyright 2000 Said It
All work contained in Said It is owned by the respective contributing authors or artists,
including all copyrights contained therein, and may not be copied, reprinted, or otherwise used
in any form without the express written permission of the copyright holder.