(A dialogue about Ralph Nader)
by Martin Siegel
© Copyright by Martin Siegel, 2000

JOE: “Did you read about Ralph Nader? A conservative Republican political group forced him to admit, through one law or another, that he’s worth nearly four million dollars!

MOE: “Well, that explains a lot, doesn’t it!”

JOE:Like what?”

MOE: “For one, why he never ran for public office in his heyday. Remember years back when everyone was calling for him to become president or senator or governor? The great consumer champion of the little people should be a leader in government, that sort of thing. He said he could accomplish more as a private citizen, and he was right. People thought he meant achievement, but it turns out accumulation was more appropriate. He achieved what he wanted: accumulation! After all, he’s a lawyer and committed no wrong. Deception carries no criminal or even civil penalties.”

JOE: “Maybe so, but you overlook guys like John Glenn and Lyndon Johnson. Both came into government poor as the proverbial church mice and amassed fortunes far greater than Nader’s —claiming all the while that they were slaving away for Everyman. Compared to Glenn and those like him, Nader is Einstein.”

MOE: “True, but he still looks like a disgusting hypocrite now that it’s out—news he was trying to hide, by the way. Even in these degenerate days it takes time and maneuver to build money like that, most of which was probably amassed by college and university speaking fees. Imagine: telling college kids that public good is a high ideal and then cashing in at the very bank he moans about. Who but Nader could have turned that to a profit! And for what? He admits to having no wife, he admits to having no children. He used to admit to having no phone. Not now, for his Internet modem line must hum in green!”

JOE: “True enough, it’s disillusioning. All these years I figured Nader was the only one who couldn’t be bought off by big business, or ‘the oligarchy’ as he calls it. There must have been countless, subtle offers like: ‘Hey Ralphie, we could use a guy like you to keep us straight. Print your own ticket....”

MOE: “Why should he do someone else’s bidding when he can make far more on his own, and on the sly; at least up to now. It’s the American way! We should know better: scumbags aren’t saints and pigs aren’t preachers.”

JOE: “Leave the pigs out of it. As it is, pigs get an unfair rap.”