On Sunday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m., Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader will be at Corwin Pavilion in an “open the debates” rally. As a supporter of Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez, I’m really glad to have this chance to see him. But many people I talk with don’t like the idea of Nader running. I usually get the same old “he’s going to take votes away from Presidential Candidate Barack Obama” rhetoric.

At the same time, few of these people actually know Nader’s position on important issues. They usually assume that he’s just a “further left” candidate, but Obama has a more “realistic chance of getting elected.” To some extent, I understand where they’re coming from, but I think that it’s strange that people don’t even know Nader’s platform, resting content with the standard centrist candidates, and refusing to even look outside the box.

Nader supports single-payer health care like that in Canada. The New York Times reported that, under a private system, “close to 30 cents of every dollar spent on health care goes for administration.” A single-payer system would have rates similar to Medicare, which spends only about 2.5 cents per dollar on administration. Although Obama will try to provide health insurance to all Americans, he still wants to keep it wrapped up in private insurance companies. This means wasteful administrative bureaucracy and profits for corporations, not a meaningful solution to America’s healthcare woes. Perhaps Obama’s plan has been influenced by the $9.5 million he’s received from the Health Care sector.

On energy policy, Obama wants “clean coal,” mentioning virtually nothing about wind and solar specifically. Oh yeah, and expensive “clean coal” only has to do with emissions from power plants, not the blowing up of mountain tops to get to the coal supply, which pollutes water and destroys the surrounding environment. Does that sound “clean” to you? Of course, I should point out that Obama told the Illinois State Senate in 2001 that “I am a strong supporter … of downstate coal interests,” and he’s received over $530,000 from coal and electric utility interests for this election. In addition, Obama’s Web site mentions nothing about the billions of dollars in subsidies going to nuclear and coal. Nader wants to eliminate such subsidies, and invest heavily in the rapidly developing solar power industry instead.

What about the costly military-industrial complex? Big corporations that make way too much useless military equipment stand to gain a whole lot of profits from the $614 billion military budget. As you should expect, Obama wants to “bump up” this figure and “increase the size of the Army.” Nader wants to “cut the bloated, wasteful military budget,” spending the savings on programs that will actually help the American people.

These are just some of the important issues that Nader has a solid stance on, which few people actually know about. Even if you’re firmly for Obama, you would do yourself a disservice by totally ignoring what third party candidates have to say. If anything, understanding these issues will help to push Obama in a better direction. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to see the man who brought you seatbelts, airbags and the Environmental Protection Agency.