A crisis is at hand in our democracy. At a time when our nation faces increasingly complex problems, the two major parties bring us superficial sound-bite campaigns, calculated deceptions and underhanded tricks. Politics has become a game of manipulation rather than a medium for meaningful dialogue. The major campaigns treat voters more as pawns to be captured than as individuals with ideas, needs and dreams. Policy from both sides serves monied interests more than the common good — the public interest.

Ralph Nader is a national hero. Over the past four decades, he has founded or organized more than 100 watchdog groups in his fight for social, environmental and economic justice. His efforts have brought many successes; Nader was a driving force behind consumer safety regulations, the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Freedom of Information Act. He is the nation’s most effective critic of monied interests’ eerie influence on politics. Throughout his career, he has proven himself principled, thoughtful and dedicated.

In this very divisive election, Nader is a breath of fresh air. His campaign has spread an inspiring vision of citizen empowerment and quality, democratic dialogue. He also offers solid plans for a responsible withdrawal from Iraq, accountable health care for all, a living wage, a crackdown on corporate crime, an end to government waste and solutions to a multitude of other important issues.

A vote for Nader is a vote for democracy, a vote for peace and a vote for the future.