Citizen Action: It’s Easier Than We Think
Overcoming adversity alone is a tough road to hoe but when you act with others it’s not as difficult. There is nothing like solidarity. There’s unity and strength in numbers. Most movements have very modest beginnings. Take women’s rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a handful of other women met in Seneca Falls in Upstate New York in 1848 to launch the women’s rights movement. The odds were against them. The naysayers were out in force with their patronizing comments such as: Why bother? Don’t get involved. Get back to the kitchen. Yet those women and the many who followed them were able to achieve much. Struggles continue. Today the #MeToo movement is challenging patriarchy by calling out men for sexual abuse and harassment and insisting on equal pay for equal work. Citizen action is easier then we think. Struggles continue.
Ralph Nader has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of ordinary people. He has run for president four times. Life magazine ranks him as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. Founder of Public Citizen, he is a long-time advocate for consumer safety and workers’ rights. He rose to fame in the 1960s when he took on General Motors and its unsafe Corvair car. His book Unsafe at Any Speed not only created a sensation but was instrumental in the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. His efforts helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. He has exposed the misdeeds of the corporate sector as well as of the political system. In recent years he has been in the forefront of the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, corporate welfare and single payer health care.