Ralph Nader was recently named "one of America's most influential figures in American History" by The Atlantic. He spoke to University of Tennessee students about "Democracy and its Erosion: Big Business and the American Duopoly" Wednesday March 9.
More than two hundred students attended.
Nader talked for an hour on college student involvement in the American political system and how to implement change.
His goal:ignite the fire in students' bellies." Nader describes this fire as "indignation for justice." Nader believes this indignation for justice leads people to become passionate about challenging American politics.
"Do you have civic courses?" Ralph Nader said as he asked students who are schooled on vocational paths but are not aware of how to make a change in society. "To learn civics is to learn power." -Ralph Nader .
"We are not aware of our role in government," he said. "We never learn it. We never discuss it."
Nader wrapped by saying,"You know how a bill becomes a law, but you don't know how to introduce your own bill." Vocational classes teach students the legislative process but do not allow students to learn how to challenge the political system.
Nader described the many ways students can get more involved in politics. Some examples Nader gave are marches on Washington.
Whether students agree with Nader's viewpoints or not, they seemed pleased with the speech.
"I was really glad a prominent citizen could come and evoke action and activism," said Eric Dixon, University of Tennessee student.
Students were able to meet Nader after the speech for a book signing of his work of political fiction, "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us."