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An Occasional Note on the Campaigns No. 14

Stateside with Rosalea Barker

An Occasional Note on the Campaigns No. 14


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The marquee of the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland, CA, on September 30, 2008

Silly me! When McCain said he wasn’t going to be at the first Presidential Debate, my first thought was that it would give Obama a chance to invite the minor party candidates onto the platform with him so we, the voters, could hear some alternative views.

After all, the Libertarian Party is on the ballot in 45 states; the Green Party, 32; the Constitution Party, 37, and Ralph Nader is on 46 state ballots according to the chart at Ballot Access News. In some states, those candidates are the presidential candidate of more than one party—as are McCain and Obama—as this list at Project Vote Smart shows.

But no. And not surprisingly, because it’s not just the folks on the right who would tear Obama down; the left would too, given the opportunity. One such opportunity came on Tuesday night when Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez spoke at the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland, CA.


Click to enlarge

In California, Nader/Gonzalez are the presidential nominees of the Peace and Freedom Party, a socialist party that rose up out of the social ferment of the Sixties here in the Bay Area. Its presidential candidate in 1968 was Eldridge Cleaver and in 1972, Benjamin Spock, but splits in the party once it expanded nationwide resulted in a much-diminished Peace and Freedom Party existing pretty much only here in California these days. It’s worth reading the historical information on the party’s webpage to get a glimmer of how hard it is for third parties to be taken seriously in the USA.

That lack of respect for presidential candidates on the outside of the two-party system here in the States was spoken of at length by VP nominee Matt Gonzalez. He talked about candidates whose ideas were thought outrageous or ridiculous at the time they ran, but whose ideas eventually prevailed: the abolition of slavery, giving women the vote.
Here is the second part of his speech, beginning with his reference to the piece of legislation passed in the last years of the Clinton Administration that enabled the current financial debacle to occur: the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. As usual, I apologize for the quality of the camera phone video and audio.

A local CNN iReporter, zennie62, was also at the event and interviewed Cindy Sheehan and Ralph Nader.

Ralph Nader had made several appearances that day in San Francisco, and his visit was covered quite widely by local TV news stations.

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE—

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