Happy birthday, Ralph Nader! 85, today!
“The lessons of history are clear and portentous. If you do not turn on to politics, politics will turn on you.”
“Politics does not bother corporate power. Whoever wins, they win. Both parties represent Wall Street over Main Street. Wall Street is embedded in the federal government.”
“The ‘democracy gap’ in our politics and elections spells a deep sense of powerlessness by people who drop out, do not vote, or listlessly vote for the ‘least worst’ every four years and then wonder why after every cycle the ‘least worst’ gets worse.”
“To the youth of America, I say, beware of being trivialized by the commercial culture that tempts you daily. I hear you saying often that you’re not turned on to politics. The lessons of history are clear and portentous. If you do not turn on to politics, politics will turn on you. The fact that we have so many inequalities demonstrates this point. Democracy responds to hands-on participation. And to energized imagination. That’s its essence. We need the young people of America to move into leadership positions to shape their future as part of this campaign for a just society. Let’s prepare to take the politicians and the lobbyists on a tour of the People’s America.”
John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.