Nader: shake-up candidate or just a spoiler?

Andrew Bard Schmookler's Sept. 15 commentary, "Nader should apologize, not run again," unconvincingly rehashes the same arguable points regarding Ralph Nader's effect on the 2000 presidential elections that we've been hearing for three years. Ignored was the fact that Mr. Nader's battle is on a larger scale than any one particular election.

One of Nader's messages was for the average American to take back some power from the entrenched duopoly and their corporate backers, a message that has resonated and come to life in the past three years amid wrangling and scrounging for votes in Florida, campaign-finance lip service in the halls of Congress, redistricting personified in Texas, and the games being played in California. Both major parties are guilty of, at best, complicity and, at worst, active participation in dismantling American democracy.

Nader's campaign proved that the left is a viable voting bloc, and that we can very much affect the outcome of national elections. I, too, feel the pinch of the Bush years in many ways, but the loss of a man of Al Gore's so-called credentials from the Oval Office seems to be a small sacrifice in ensuring that politicians from both parties will, for the next several elections, always keep one eye on the left.

I, for one, hope that Nader runs again, and I hope he shakes the sheep's clothing off all the Howard Deans in 2004 as he did for Gore in 2000.
Mark Zipkin
South Plainfield, N.J.

Many thanks to Andrew Bard Schmookler for publicly verbalizing what I have been feeling and communicating to friends ever since the 2000 presidential campaign.

I hope that this same message is communicated to the Nader camp - that those of us who, in the past, have respected his voice on issues such as environmental integrity and the dangers of big corporate interests will now turn away and resent his voice if he does not wake up to the practical political realities that will allow us to prevent another four discouraging years of George W. Bush in office.
Diane Witters
Golden, Colo.

Like many articles I've seen, Andrew Bard Schmookler's overlooks the very real possibility that all those Nader voters that Democrats seem to think were stolen from Gore might not have even shown up at the polls if Nader hadn't run. The question both major political parties should be asking is: Why did 48.8 percent of the voting age population not bother to cast their ballots in 2000?
Malcolm Shute

Inspiration vs. outright theft

David Bollier and Laurie Racine's Sept. 10 Opinion piece, "Control of creativity? Fashion's secret," makes the claim that the fashion industry, to its benefit, allows for creative inspiration and derivation, whereas the film and music industries, to their detriment, squelch the creative spirit by prohibiting pirates from copying their artistic products. This argument is flawed. An exact copy of a CD or film is not a creative work deriving from another; it is an exact copy. No creativity takes place when someone makes an exact copy of a CD or movie using an automated electronic or mechanical process.

Both the film and music industries allow for creative influence just as the fashion industry does. For example, if a wedding movie becomes a surprise hit, the next year there will be a flurry of wedding movies.

If you start to sell exact copies of Gucci handbags, you can be sure that you will be visited by a lawyer. This action of preventing outright theft does not squelch creativity. That fact is obvious to any artist.
Jeff Scott
Rogersville, Tenn.

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