Monday, March 02, 2009
An Unreasonable Man
An Unreasonable Man is a fascinating documentary that explores Ralph Nader's consumer protection and social activist work and his family background, then moves on to follow his horrifically fascinating run for president in 2000, and how that turned him into a pariah in many of the liberal circles in which he was formerly regarded as a champion.
This is a very even-handed film, in which a variety of people are interviewed, including Ralph Nader, himself. I came away feeling very sad that Nader's early triumphs, protections that most of us take for granted, have been eclipsed by the fact that he might have inadvertently put George W. Bush in the Whitehouse (Harley Hahn has a very concise article about what Ralph Nader has accomplished for us). Nader is depicted as a man with tragically black-and-white vision, even in his personal life, if it can be referred to that way. He states that he never married because he felt that he could not have both a serious career and raise a family: you're either there for your kids, or you're not.
And, to be fair about what happened in 2000, nobody knew what George W. Bush would do to us, nobody. Plenty of democrats voted for Bush and Bill Clinton did not exactly do much for Al Gore, either. However, that Nador insisted on running again, being so stubborn with his "we need a third party" movement, was indeed unreasonable.
Ralph Nador has a fascinating mind, and he is not someone who should be called irrelevant, but obviously he has harmed himself with his tactics. He says that he doesn't care about his legacy, and I believe he's sincere about that.
Anyway, this documentary is worth seeing, if you haven't, already. (I liked it!)