Nader should be more pragmatic – Letters to the editor

Nader should be more pragmatic – Letters to the editor – Letter to the Editor

I have always admired Ralph Nader and enjoyed reading his article “Public Participation and the Erosion of Democracy” in the January/February 2004 issue of the Humanist. He spells out a beautiful vision of what could be–if only. But considering the reality of the U.S. political system and its population, his ideas are impractical.

The fact is that we do have a two-party system and the policies of one are much more aligned to Nader’s than those of the other. Thus, when Nader says that “there are few differences and increasing similarities between Republicans and Democrats,” be is exaggerating greatly.

Of course, the extremes of both sides of the spectrum will never win an election on their own nor is it likely that they will succeed in creating a viable third party. However, they strongly influence their respective parties. This is where I would urge Nader to put hi efforts, Instead of spoiling the only hope he has of seeing the kind of government he and so many of us want, he should marshal his efforts within the party–even with all of its failings–in order to get out that participation he speaks of.

I find it very difficult to understand how Nader–or any of us–can tolerate the possibility of another four years of the present administration. Let us not follow a siren song.

Bill Newnam

Venice, FL

I enjoyed the article “Americans Don’t Really Believe in the Ten Commandments” by Emrys Westacott (January/February 2004 issue of the Humanist) and certainly have no quarrel with any of his observations, However, since the worshipers of the Ten Commandments insist they are a “complete moral guide” I wish Westacott would have called attention to major omissions.

The one that strikes me most is that nowhere are husbands told not to beat their wives. For many centuries the general subjugation of women came about simply because they are not as strong physically as men. It seems that an intelligent god would have simply said, “Thou shall not physically abuse a weaker being.” Such a Commandment would also have at least suggested that parents not beat their children black and blue, nor that people be cruel to animals.

I was also disappointed that in his discussion of the tenth (not coveting), Westacott fails to mention that this is the Commandment that specifically condoned human slavery and was often quoted by the Lords of the Lash before the Civil War. The New English Bible, accepted by both Protestant and Catholic churches in Great Britain, uses “slave” and “slave-girl” in its translation.

Katherine Keene

Seattle, WA

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