Guest Commentary: Media distorts nature of Nader’s pragmatism

There has been an ongoing debate spotlighted in media on whether presidential hopeful Ralph Nader will affect other candidates’ chances of winning. Asking this question presupposes that Nader has ever "prevented the victory" for any "presidential hopeful." Nader and others argue that he did not, and it’s foolish to even raise the question as if he did.

It’s disturbing that many, especially woeful Democrats, simply assume Nader’s run had an overwhelming effect and leave the facts to the historians, if yesterday’s relevance is something trivial.

The question is illegitimate, but the media assumes: "Well, we’ve got to ask†something." Is it†right†to cause the voters to lose sight of valid inquiry into factual matters? Are the facts for historians or just misguided trends for media outlets to reflect nonsense back to us?

So what’s the deal with this "pragmatic climate" claim? U.S. citizens are being "pragmatic" about their speculations of a future administration and its political implications? I don’t give the populace that much credit. What’s so pragmatic about not keeping up with candidates’ voting records and political behavior?

If "pragmatism" involves keeping soldiers in Iraq, then we’ve got an issue with weighing human lives in money as opposed to engaging in strict diplomacy (with money). Nader and former Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, prefer diplomacy and emphasize exit strategies. Staying or exiting both hold speculative "pragmatic" outcomes. But I think I get it: "pragmatic" could mean "actions (military presence) speak louder than words."

Adages sicken me when they give bleak predictions. Words like "pragmatic" appear in the newspaper while the public’s lack of awareness of the true term produces obliviousness as to what is actually being discussed, such as, are these candidates†really†the only "pragmatic" ones? Terms become reconfigured within the social norm. All of a sudden, everybody’s an expert on "pragmatism." An uncontested term flows on the wing of its new, modified definition with little criticism. We know and trust the media wouldn’t err on the usage of a term because we know it too.

Regarding pragmatism as action (military presence for the U.S. in the Middle East), is our "pragmatic climate" (the majority) seeking to verify any of the alleged progress being made in the Middle East? By whose standard do we evaluate this as progress?

Sen. Barack Obama’s and Sen. Hillary Clinton’s popularity has nothing to do with pragmatism, unless we define pragmatism as a person’s fancy or as a U.S. citizen’s inclination to†bear arms – with all the socio-psychological implications that entails – and vote for trendy posters.

I’ve got naive imperialism in my acculturated veins, and it’s wearing the mask of "pragmatism."

Aaron Alexander, a philosophy senior, can be reached via [email protected].

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