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Nader on Bubba We can sweep aside the sweet talk of manipulative politicians and lay bare what they’re really all about. We begin by testing the politicians by our own measures, not by 30-second ads and our short attention spans. Saying to the candidates, “I don’t want to hear what you say, I want to know what you’ve done. To the extent you’ve stood up against corrupt interests, to the extent to which you’ve walked that extra mile for the people out there who don’t have heavy gold coins in their pocketbooks.” The more voters do that, the more there will never be a statement like, well, Clayton Williams has got the Bubba vote. What is the Bubba vote? Let me tell you, I get different definitions every time I come down to Texas about what the Bubba vote is all about or what Bubba ‘is. But let me tell you, here’s how I would talk in a 30-second ad to Bubba. I’d say, “Wake up, Bubba. Who said you have to be stupid to be a Bubba? Clayton Williams represents big business. He’ll side with them against you and other working Texans every time. Against your rights if you’re ever injured, against your need to get affordable auto and health insurance, against the right of your children to grow up without breathing cancerous toxics into their vulnerable lungs.” Next month, you can stop Clayton Williams, and his plan to rule Texas through a government of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation. I haven’t even finished. The final lines would be to send a red light to Williams and his corporate cancer crew, unless, that is, you want him to run Texas the way he runs his bank. Now that’s getting down to brass tacks. By the way, I am not a registered Democrat or Republican. Never have been, never will be. I’m an independent from Connecticut. Just so happens that I’ve taken a liking to Clayton Williams advertisements. Tools of Change Excerpts from a Speech at ECO-Fair ’90 BY RALPH NADER Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower introduced Eco-Fair ’90 keynote speaker Ralph Nader by quoting a song by Patti Smith: “People have the power to dream, people have the power to rule, people have the power to wrestle their world away from fools.” Hightower called Nader “one of the champion wrestlers of our time.” WHAT I’M ABOUT TO SAY, I can only say once in the United States. Only once. And that is: Jim Hightower is the most energetic and outstanding public servant at the state level in the United States. The reason why he is what he is, first of all, is because he came out of the citizen movement. He wasn’t handpicked by some senior politician as the heir apparent, greased with campaign money from special interests to climb the ladder of power while turning his back on the people. He came from the people. The second is, he’s developed an authentic language of politics. He gets down to what politics is all about, the proper distribution of power and policy, so that power and policy reflect the people who are in the state, not the oligarchs and the corporate rich and powerful, but the people who do the work, the people who produce, every day. He goes into the economic, ecological, and consumer dimensions of what farming should be all about. This is a considerably pragmatic philosophy of recovery, of cleaning up the chemical poisons that have put agriculture on a losing treadmill. We lose a,larger proportion of our agricultural crops today than we did in 1946. Someone once defined experts as people who specialized in taking away your common sense. And these agricultural chemical experts, through a massive barrage of misleading advertising and fearmongering, have succeeded in making people who used to be the essence of the land more dependent and more reliant. What Jim and you have done is blown the whistle on them, not only by bringing more scientific information to the public, but by actually fanning with reduced agricultural chemical inputs. And shown it can be done. And it can be done without exposing your children, family, and farmhands to these hazards, without further burdening your balance sheet, and recognizing that nature can come into a balance without synthetic chemicals whose impact on present and future generations spells cancer and birth defects. Where did we get our knowledge about 16 NOVEMBER 9, 1990 renewable energy and energy efficiency? From our forebears, that’s where. From those years decades ago when thrift was not a dirty word. From those years decades ago when wisdom was something that came from our elders. How often do you hear the word “wisdom” anymore? How often do you hear the word “thrift”? Oh no, you hear the word “expertise.” “Specialists,” that’s what you hear now. With their own axes to grind. What’s interesting about recovering old knowledge is that it usually is proven knowledge. It usually is grounded in achievement that spells productive success. And what’s nice about old knowledge is that it’s meshing very well with the new knowledge of sustainable economies and renewable energies. And so here it is. We’ve got it. The only thing we’ve got to do is make sure we apply it. And that it comes from ourselves, and not from the Exxons, and the General Motors, and the DuPonts. Knowledge we think about, develop, and apply ourselves spells happiness. It spells a form of tranquility that is too rare today. Tranquility is something that some of you out on farms and ranches understand better than those of us that live in the cities. It’s a quality you can’t put a price on. It is priceless. We need more than knowledge, however. We need the tools of change. First of all, the government buys almost everything we buy fuel, cars, batteries, telephones, pharmaceutical products, clothing, food, you name it. This buying power is so vast that I keep having to knock myself here to believe this figure is true: What they buy every year is 18 percent of our $5.3 trillion economy. Almost one out of every five dollars. When Reagan scrapped the air-bag standard, I went down to the General Service Administration, which buys cars for government employees. Forty thousand in Washington. I said, “Why don’t you put out a bid to buy air-bag-equipped cars? You’ll save the taxpayers money, there will be fewer government employees injured and killed, there’ll be lower disability payments, a good deal all around.” Well, to my surprise, the head of the GSA, who is a fierce Reagan loyalist and hated regulation, did want to get value for the taxpayers’ dollar. So he puts out a bid. Ford bid and sold the government 5000 air-bagequipped cars. Some big insurance companies bought Ford air-bag-equipped cars for their fleets, some states began buying. Now