This post is to propose that some individuals, who live today, deserve more appreciation than is accorded to good souls who lived many years ago and have been named saints. Ralph Nader, in my opinion, is one such individual. Recently one of my daughters sent me a 700+ page novel he wrote several years ago that rekindled my respect for this consumer activist, whose 1965 Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile, alerted us to the lack of attention to automobile safety and the need for seat belt legislation. A few states had enacted seat belt laws before his book, but largely as a result of Nader's persistence, the U.S. Congress passed The Highway Safety Act and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966. Rather than meriting sainthood because after his death at least one miracle was performed in his name as is required by the Catholic Church for saints, his efforts for car safety alone have save thousands, perhaps millions from injury and death.
In addition , as consumer advocate, lawyer, and author, Ralph Nader,whom is said to live like a monk, inspired Nader’s Raiders and was candidate for the presidency. In the 50 years since his entry into public life, he has persisted in provoking attention to greed and corruption, neglect of the poor, and misdeeds of those who pollute and misshape our nation. I didn’t realize how informed he was about those who have made billions and how creative is his composition until I began his novel Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us. After that book, he’s authored other books that I haven’t read. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include: The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win. He frequently posts on the Internet articles such as on February 22, 2013 Perils of the Keystone XL Pipeline Confront Obama, on February 16, 2013 Nine Bucks an Hour, A Call for a Living Wage at $10.50 or More, and on February 12, 2013 President Obama – Get Tough on Corporate Welfare.
In short, this saint ain’t dead yet. Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us bristles with ideas spun from his imagination of what might happen if billionaires team up to right what is wrong. This novel portrays Warren Buffett calling together a diverse cluster of other billionaires such as George Soros, Ross Perot, Barry Diller, Bill Cosby, Yoko Ono, and Ted Turner. They then attack problems of income disparity, lobbyists buying Congress, and WalMart’s low wage-non-union employees and high paid executives. They initiate unusual ideas such as making the pledge allegiance more accurate: to liberty and justice for “some” rather than for all, raising industrial hemp, running Warren Beatty for governor of California, cleaning up the environment, and a Clean Elections Party. It’s a book that’s heady with ideas by a soul committed to doing good, not in the name of religion, but for the common good. He’s put his body where his mouth is yesterday and continues to do so today, giving of himself so that you, I and those, who live after we are gone, will have a good life.
Enough said. Ralph Nader is a saint today. Like many of you, who have made life better for others, he has not been named a saint, nor will he ever be.