Land of the Lawless
Politicians and pundits love to go on and on about “the rule of law.” The concept that no one is above the law is laudatory and central to a functioning democracy. But we can easily see the grotesque disparities in the application of law and the prosecution of those who commit crimes in the streets vs. those who commit crimes in the suites. From invading and bombing countries to suborning perjury, to witness tampering, to tax evasion, to bribery, the big boys and girls are not brought to justice, They are not held accountable for their crimes. Instead, they are rewarded by fat book contracts and lecture fees. No wonder some people are cynical. The hypocrisy is hard to miss. How can we move from being the land of the lawless to a society where the rule of law prevails?
Ralph Nader, a legendary figure, has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of ordinary people. Life magazine ranked him as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. The Atlantic named him one of the hundred most influential figures in U.S. history. 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 1965 book Unsafe At Any Speed not only created a sensation but also 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 led the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, corporate welfare, and single-payer health care. He is the author of numerous books including Return to Sender, Unstoppable, To the Ramparts, Breaking Through Power, and The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did it Right. At 90, Citizen Nader is as active as ever.