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Ralph Nader on Families & Children

2008 Independent for for President; 2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green nominee


More & more family functions are outsourced to corporations

Q: Many parental responsibilities are now being outsourced.

A: Tremendous pressure on families. More commuting, more than one job. Not enough time for the children. So, more and more family functions--day care, entertainment, food--all being outsourced That’s not very good for raising the next generation of Americans.

Q: In “The Seventeen Traditions” you write: “Today, more and more families are farming out their responsibilities. The family industry is swiftly becoming a real factor in our economy. And this comes with a price, as more parents lose confidence in their own judgments, in their ability to make decisions without the help of the ‘experts.’ As corporations deliberately encroach on the parenting of our children, and children spend less personal time with their parents, those all-important traditions are falling by the wayside.“

A: The economy is designed to separate more and more, during the day, the parents from the children. Companies are marketing direct now to two-year-olds.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Feb 4, 2007

Corporations are commercializing the world of the child

The word corporate Republicans like most is “conservative. ” They constantly use it as a fig leaf to hide their true ideology--the supremacy of commercialism over values more spiritual, nurturing, moral, and truly conservative. In no area does marketing madness run roughshod more than its insidious grip on childhood and children’s traditional sanctuaries. In no area is the distinction between avaricious corporatism and authentic conservatism clearer. For no other age group is it more important for true conservatives to declare their independence and take a stand against these modern day Mammons. No other trend is more subversive of parental authority, more penetrating at an early age of the mind and body of the child, and more deliberative in strategic planning for expanding the violent, addictive and pornographic world of the child.
Source: The Good Fight, by Ralph Nader, p. 97 , Jul 6, 2004

Democracy needs youth’s energy & participation

To the youth of America, I say, beware of being trivialized by the commercial culture that tempts you daily. I hear you saying often that you’re not turned on to politics. If you do not turn on to politics, politics will turn on you.

Democracy responds to hands-on participation and to energized imagination. That’s its essence. We need the young people of America to move into leadership positions to shape their future as part of this campaign for a just society.

Source: Nomination Acceptance Speech , Jun 25, 2000

Commercialism & TV make childrearing more difficult

A critical responsibility is to ensure that our children are well cared for. This is an enormous undertaking because our children are now exposed to the most intense marketing onslaught in history. From the age of 9 months to 19 years, precise corporate selling is beamed directly to children separating them from their parents, an unheard of practice formerly, and teaching them how to nag their beleaguered parents as unpaid salesman for companies. There is a bombardment of their impressionable minds.
Source: Nomination Acceptance Speech , Jun 25, 2000

Support personal responsibility; teach dispute resolution

Source: Green Party Platform as ratified at 2000 National Convention , Jun 25, 2000

TV ads targeting kids are “electronic child molesting”

What other society tolerates electronic child molesting the way these corporations are targeting 4-year-olds [on TV]? They know when parents are away working. Then they market their products, undermining parental authority, [suggesting] junk food & violence as a solution to life’s problems. [They’re] corporate hucksters. People say it’s up to the parents. Yeah, but who designed an economy where it takes two, three breadwinners to make a middle-class family living?
Source: George Skelton, LA Times , Feb 23, 2000

Corporate TV marketers are raising our kids

Bypassing the parents, corporate hucksters brazenly market directly to children, starting at age two. These marketeers wrap these youngsters in a commercial cocoon for an average of 30 hours a week.
    To avoid or neutralize parental authority over the children’s spending:
  1. they urge the child to nag the parents
  2. they take advantage of the absence of parents who are working long hours away from home
  3. they know that if they can undermine the authority and judgment of parents in the eyes of their children, the little ones will purchase or demand items, regardless of their parents’ opinions.
Most people, until the disclosures about tobacco and alcohol companies court kids, had little knowledge about just how premeditated and calculated the efforts are. Children under 12 are increasingly being raised by these companies. Those kids spend far more time with corporate television and Internet games than they do with their parents and other adults.
Source: “In the Public Interest” newspaper column , Oct 27, 1999

National speed limit saves lives

Getting rid of the speed limit -- if the states go up to 70 or 75 mph limits and some states with no speed limit -- there’s going to be 6,500 fatalities every year, and 20,000 permanently injured Americans, and $20 billion in health care and other costs, and higher auto insurance rates for everyone. [Congress and the Administration] go out of their way to dismantle a proven life-saving program, which over the last 21 years or so has saved tens of thousands of American lives.
Source: Interview on Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now” , Mar 27, 1996

Commercial TV separates children from parents

When [the general public] says, “We don’t have any control,” you [can] say, “Look what’s happening to your children.” At home, it’s the corporate suites that’s got them -- the thirty hours a week that the pre-teenage boy and girl sit watching television trash shows or playing video games. The thrust of these television shows is to separate children from the parents and then get the children to demand that the parents buy the products. Companies are taught how to market to the six-year-old, and are very clear about how they are substituting cartoon figures and jingles for the sense of reliance that children used to have come from their parents.

When you talk about that, that’s when they connect, because they realize that that’s true. They realize that they’re losing their children to the merchandising world, to kiddy television, to the violent Mortal Kombat videos and virtual reality goggles and similar escapes from any sense of social and historical context and the context of the home itself.

Source: Alternative Radio, interview by David Barsamian , Dec 8, 1995

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Families & Children.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Ralph Nader.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Ralph Nader.
Other candidates on Families & Children: Ralph Nader on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Donald Trump
Gov.Jesse Ventura
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Page last updated: Oct 09, 2013