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Vintage Nader

December 15, 2003

Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century, consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader addressed a full house in Pamplin Sports Center on October 6.

Senior Tina Radeke, chair of Students Organized for Activities, coordinated Nader’s visit to Lewis & Clark, where he spoke about advocacy and community involvement, signed books, and talked one-on-one with students at a private reception. 

Here are some of Nader’s thoughts.

On corporations: “Commerce is supposed to be an instrument; the marketplace is supposed to be an instrument. Corporations are not supposed to be our masters. They are designed to be our servants.”

On television: “There are 15 million undergraduate, graduate, and community college students in the United States. That’s double the population of Sweden. We do not have one weekly 30-minute television program devoted to what’s going on on campuses other than sports. There’s no channel for civic activity so that we can learn from one another.”

On elections: “Any democracy, to maintain its integrity, has to have zones that are off limits to the For Sale sign. Public elections are a good place to start.”

On democracy: “If you go through a week without doing anything as a citizen, you’re weakening our democracy. If you go through a year without doing anything, you’re weakening it even more. You’re allowing power to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, so that the few make the decisions for the many.”

—compiled by Tricia Pearson ’03 

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