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Monday, May 14, 2012

My apologies to Ralph Nader

Jenny and her haggis
My friends and I have always made fun of haggis. In my favorite movie, So I Married an Axe Murderer, they've got some great anti-haggis jokes. The funny thing is, none of us have ever actually eaten haggis. Last summer, I went to dinner with some friends, and one of the people with us, Jenny, was excited to see haggis on the menu. So I asked Jenny if I could taste hers...

And it was good!!

Lately, I've had my eyes opened to more misconceptions than just the putrid nature of haggis. I'm finding that we're so used to people speaking badly of something that we end up believing it, even when we have no basis for it. Most of the people I know who say haggis is disgusting have never tasted it. But based on the description of what's in it (which you have to admit, sounds gross), and the few people who've tried and not liked it, everyone says they hate it.

What does this have to do with Ralph Nader? I'm not sure if he eats haggis, but he has been my political version of haggis for a long time. As a political science major in college, we made him the butt of many of our brilliant jokes. And yet, I can't honestly say I've ever done a bit of research into him or what he stands for.

Then the other day, I was joking around and I told someone that I'm finally giving Nader a chance. I mean, the guy has been trying to get elected president for the longest time, maybe he should be given a shot. All tongue in cheek, but then I felt guilty for being such a jerk about it when I honestly didn't know anything about Ralph Nader.

I went online and read some articles, as well as his blog, and I've concluded this. He's not the nutcase I've been ranting about all these years. Some of what he says actually makes a lot of sense, and *gasp* I even agree with it.

Shame on me.

While some of you are going to read this as a political commentary, for me, it's something much deeper, and I hope that's the point most people get. We spend so much time accepting mainstream common knowledge about someone or something and don't find out the truth for ourselves. I'm starting to realize that a lot of my prejudices often end up being unfounded, and I feel silly when I realize how much time I've wasted NOT giving something a chance.

So Ralph, I might actually vote for you this year, and not because I'm proving a stupid point. Even though I still believe that we've got a long way to go before third parties are viable in our country, I'm going to examine candidates beyond the (D) or (R) at the end of their name. And I hope that in the future, I'll do a better job of trying something before completely dismissing it.

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