Like the Energizer Bunny, Ralph Nader is still going strong. He’s 84 years old.
Because I admired Nader’s outspokenness for people and the planet, I attended his lecture at Shawnee State University (SSU) in Portsmouth in the 1980s. He appeared intelligent, serious and quirky. And a fierce advocate for consumer protection. Nader stated he didn’t own a car or a microwave by choice.
Then Nader blasted Vern Riffe, Ohio’s speaker of the House of Representatives. Riffe, a much respected and beloved man in southern Ohio, grew up in New Boston. His vision paved the way for the development of SSU. Today, Vern Riffe Center for the Arts is located at SSU. I was stunned and annoyed at Nader’s verbal viciousness in Riffe’s own backyard.
American political activist, humanitarian, author, lecturer, attorney and former presidential candidate. Nader is a champion of consumer rights, environmentalism and government reform. He became a crusader of car-safety reform in the 1960s, and founded the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen in 1971. Peruse Nader’s biography at www.nader.org/biography.
Nader hosts The Radio Hour, a provocative show about his lifelong passion and purpose, and current issues. Subscribe on ITunes.
In “Breaking Through Power” (2016), Nader writes about his battles against corporations and the U.S. government.
“Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns” was published in 2013. “The column is the most natural literary form for a citizen’s advocate, and Ralph Nader may be its most robust and forceful practitioner,” as described on his website.
Nader’s breakout book, “Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile,” published in 1965, criticized the auto industry for putting design over safety. He questioned the federal government’s safety regulation of vehicles.
Nader testified before the U.S. Senate concerning automobile safety, and, in 1966, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was signed into law.
Nader wanted the population to become informed consumers.
10 Ways to Shaft Yourself as a Consumer is found on Nader’s website (www.nader.org):
Buy before you think
Buy before you read
Buy before you ask questions
Buy before you can afford to buy
Buy before you see through the seller’s smile and smooth tongue
Buy before you comparison shop
Buy when you are tired or hungry
Buy when you are rushed
Buy to dote on your child or because your child demands the product
Buy just to keep up with your friends or neighbors
Nader was born to Lebanese immigrants. His parents owned a restaurant and bakery in Connecticut, a gathering place for pondering politics. Nader’s sense of social justice powered his career in activism.
Keep going, Mr. Nader!
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.