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Nader: Roots of a green champion

In this issue:

Matt Gonzalez Elected President of San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War in Iraq: The Council on Foreign Relations
Greens explore running anti-war candidates: Panel examines incumbents' records
It's time to vote Green
Editorial: Greens look at the presidency; no easy answers
Traditional ladder to electoral success is questioned
Unlikely Candidate, pt. II
Nader: Roots of a green champion
Excellent health care, coming soon to California
The Land is Our Mother: Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement
Letters to the Editor
News Clips
Book review of Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon by Justin Martin.

by Gwen Johnson

Democrats admonished him in 2000 and accused him of stealing votes away from their man Al Gore, but Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader rebuffed their claims that he spoiled the election. He remained undeterred, continuing his crusade to promote responsible, responsive government and justice for all.

The life and struggles of this prominent consumer advocate and political activist—”citizen” is his preferred word—was recently chronicled in Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon by Justin Martin. Martin also also wrote Greenspan: The Man Behind Money.

From his early days in working-class New England to a life spearheading advocacy groups, Nader developed a reputation as the underdog’s best friend.

Nader was born February 27, 1934 in Winsted, CT, the youngest of the four children Lebanese immigrants Nathra and Rose Nader.

The family spent many evenings discussing political events during dinner. Several of these conversations were inspired by debates held throughout the day at Nathra’s restaurant, the Highland Arms, where diners of all walks of life would fire up heated conversations with the spirited restaurateur.

Nathra was a staunch advocate of democratic justice and civic responsibility. Rose taught the children about character issues through folk tales, instilling personal qualities in the children such as the importance of stamina, resiliency and intolerance for excuses. She was also extremely health conscious and put nutrition at the top of her list of priorities.

During his school years, Ralph excelled at every subject far beyond his grade level. His academic aptitude led him to the Princeton. Although Ralph’s grades were worthy of an Ivy League scholarship, Nathra insisted on paying full price for Ralph’s tuition. Scholarships, he believed, should be saved for those students who truly needed financial assistance.

It was this selfless, hardworking, beat-the-odds attitude that Ralph adopted and carried with him throughout his fights against giants such as General Motors, the United States Congress, Al Gore and George W. Bush. And it was this same stance that has deemed him a crusader, a spoiler and genuine American icon.

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