Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph
A Letter from Michael Moore to the Non-Voters of America
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 spit out over the Internet.
So 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 gig, eh?
I 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).
So, if Al Gore is your man, go for it. In fact, I insist on it, even if you
are just throwing your vote away.
What I am about to say, though, is not intended for any Al Gore (or George
W.) voters. If you are one, please click off now.
To 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
You know who you are.
AND YOU ARE THE MAJORITY!
You rule. You are the Non-Voters, all 100 million of you!
Until 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!).
Well, 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.
The 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.
On the ballot this November, you already know there is no contest. The
independent Cook Political Report in D.C. last week 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!
"Ninety-seven to ninety-nine percent of incumbents running for re-election
will be returned to Congress in November," according to the Cook Report.
The 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.
So, 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 year's 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?"
Now 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.
In November, we should find a way to follow in the footsteps of those
intelligent Minnesotans who, even thought 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 joke - somebody'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 some guts.
So, 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
"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
I'm voting for Ralph Nader.
Friends, 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 we'll 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.
And how frightening (and great) is it that the last place we can freely try
to inform and communicate with each other is on this very 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?
I 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.
We must not let this happen, no matter how cynical and disgusted we've
become at the whole electoral process.
Ralph 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.
I 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.
Can Ralph win? Well, stranger things have happened in the past decade.
C'mon, 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.
Ralph already has between 7% and 10% in the polls - before he's done any
serious campaigning. He's 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.
Now, 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.
And 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?"
The list goes on and on. You can read more about what Ralph stands for by
going to his website (http://www.votenader.org). You'll agree, I'm sure,
there's lots of common sense there, regardless of what political stripe you
But 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 are each hoping to win by getting only 40 million votes.
If 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 won't be held responsible for Bush
winning the White House.
In fact, you won't be held responsible for putting Gore in the White House,
Rather, you will have made history by putting a true American hero at 1600
And you will have given every company, every boss who's done ya wrong, the
worst nightmare of their lives.
November 7. Payback Time.
The revenge of the Non-Voters!
So sayeth their unappointed leader, yours truly,
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.
When 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.
The 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 Newt's Contract on America in 1994.
Democrats should send their checks to Nader 2000, P.O. Box 18002,
Washington, DC 20036.
(Or, better yet, let's try to elect enough Greens to Congress -- a dozen or
so -- and they'll hold the deciding votes because neither the Democrats nor
the Republicans will have the majority. It'll be a friggin' Knesset!)
PPS. 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 latest grassroots.com column entitled, "I Ain't
Fallin for That One Again."
PPPS. Tonight, Wednesday July 19, on "The Awful Truth" (Bravo, 10 p.m.
ET/PT), Crackers the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken makes a surprise
return visit. Don't miss it!
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