Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism
Ralph Nader (Common Courage Press 2011, trade paperback) 201 pages, indexed $14.95 cover price
This is not a book, a topic or an author which invite objective reaction. One either agrees with Ralph Nader that corporate power has effectively hijacked power in America to the detriment of its citizens, or not. There is no middle ground in such a clear debate. To my reckoning, there is such an overwhelming body of evidence presented in this concise volume that I literally cannot imagine any strong counter-argument to Nader’s case.
The strength of Getting Steamed as a book is strangely in its disorganization. Whereas a traditional structure would be chapters arranged by issue: Health Care, Wall Street, Consumer Protection and so forth, Nader instead presents a series of short, well-documented and sourced atrocities that dart back and forth among those categories and many more. The effect is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, except each one tasted is awful.
That is very much Nader’s intent; to leave a bad taste in the reader’s mouth. As he states in the introduction, ‘To get the full impact, don’t put this book down. Give yourself a chance to alter your mental routines and focus your energies. Read these jolting or jarring excerpts and comments through in as few sittings as possible.’ I did just that and it was very good advice.
What is the effect? Well, when I discussed Getting Steamed with a friend over dinner one night, I said, ‘If I told you there was a country where over 40 million of its people required food subsidies, 10% were drinking water that was dangerously contaminated by chemicals and/or bacteria, where its court system is increasingly closed to citizens wishing to take large businesses to task, and trade unions are being shoved out of existence; would you look at a map of Africa to find the unnamed country? It’s the United States.’
God love Ralph Nader for his lifelong commitment to writing wrongs, with never a hint of corruption aimed at himself. The book concludes with a call to action to build a committed group of one million people to influence Congress. I hope it succeeds. Oh, and because it will be in your mind: the shame of the 2000 election isn’t that Bush won; it’s that Nader lost.
Be seeing you.
(A truly vital and necessary book which you purchase for substantially less than the cover price - Here.)