To the delight
of many citizens disillusioned with the two-party process -- and
to the consternation of some Democrats -- legendary consumer advocate
Ralph Nader announced on Feb. 22, 2004, that he would seek the
presidency for a third time.
careful thought and my desire to retire our supremely selected
president, I've decided to run as an independent candidate for
president," Nader, 70, told Tim Russert during an appearance on
Meet the Press.
he is entering the presidential race to challenge the "two-party
duopoly," Nader said he believes Washington "is now a corporate-occupied
territory. There's a for-sale sign on almost every door of agencies
and departments where these corporations dominate, and they put
their appointments in high office."
early in life to challenge the status quo. He was born Feb. 27,
1934, to Lebanese immigrants Nathra and Rose Nader in Winsted,
Conn. His parents, who owned a bakery and restaurant, instilled
an early sense of civic responsibility in the adolescent Nader
and his brother and sister. The family would often hold debates
on the responsibilities of a citizen in a democracy.
of Achievement quotes former Nader associate Mark Green as saying,
"When [the Naders] sat around the table growing up it was
like the Kennedys. Except that the subject was not power but justice."
In an interview
with David Frost in 1994, the consumer advocate referred to the
lessons he learned from his parents and how they came to inspire
his career choice.
day, I came home and my parents were in the backyard and my mother
said, 'How much is a dozen oranges?' I knew. 'How much is a dozen
eggs?' And I knew. Because my father had a restaurant, so I knew
the prices. And then they said, 'How much is that breeze that's
caressing our faces? What do you think that sun is worth right
now? And you hear those birds? What's the price of those birds?'
And they were trying to teach me that there are things that are
priceless. You don't always measure things by the dollar. And
I remembered that as I embarked in my struggle against commercialism
and the overwhelming spread of commercial dictates into universities,
into government, even into religion, into areas far removed from
traditional market place venues."
from The Gilbert School -- a private secondary school -- in 1951
and received a scholarship to attend the Woodrow Wilson School
of International Affairs at Princeton University. He majored in
government and economics, honing his skills as a defender of environmental
causes and experiencing his first clashes with large institutions.
He rallied his fellow students to protest the use of the deadly
chemical DDT on trees, later recalling his effort drew little
enthusiasm from the students.
In March 2000,
he spoke at Princeton and recalled the lessons he learned through
the fight over DDT:
lots of birds. They never made the connection. They didn't think
it was related," he told the Daily Princetonian. "It
taught me that even though Princeton may have the best scientists
in the world, if they're not concerned about the problem, they're
not going to do anything."
magna cum laude from Princeton in 1955 and entered Harvard Law
School, where he later served as editor of the Harvard Law Review
and graduated with honors.
By Jessica Moore, Online NewsHour