A highlight of my career as a book editor was getting to work with Ralph Nader on The Good Fight. (We published that book in 2004, four years after Bush-Gore, in the midst of Nader running as an independent against Bush-Kerry.) I’ll never forget this brush with a true American hero. Ralph Nader is one of the most honest, relentless, civic-minded people to work in politics, and his activist work has made all of our lives better. He is also a kind man.
It feels good just to think about Ralph Nader these days.
That’s what I was doing the other day while driving the minivan with the kids in the back. I was thinking about the sacrifices our young kids have made — not being able to go to a school they love, play on sports teams, see friends, that kind of thing. For the most part, they have taken these sacrifices in stride. You could argue that it’s because they’ve had no choice. But personally, I believe they have grasped that following the rules is the right thing to do so that everybody can feel and be safe.
As parents we worry about the effects of this Covid period on our children. The anxiety and stress and isolation it has brought into their young lives.
Yes. But it has also taught them to think beyond themselves, and to see themselves as active parts of a solution each time they don a mask, wash their hands, or miss out on things they’d enjoy doing.
It seems the antidote to a lot of what’s not working in America right now is reclaiming a sense of civic responsibility, which Ralph writes about here and many places. Less finger pointing; more looking for ways to do more for others in our own lives. Forging ahead — doing something — even when the problems feel too overwhelming and complex to tackle.
I’m not there. I don’t do enough. But I’m watching the kids in the rearview mirror, and feeling like it’s time to start.