Ralph Nader came and spoke at my Connecticut school when I was in my high school years. I remember that drew a little local media attention.
Being something of a car freak at the time, I had read his book, Unsafe At Any Speed, which was about the instability of the Chevrolet Corvair. Corvairs were pretty popular cars back in the day. I recall my friends and I staring in wide eyed wonder as we’d watch Corvairs traverse the local highways and byways as if, at any moment, one taking a curve at 35 miles an hour might just (apparently without provocation) flip over. (That’s how kids thought in those days.) Fortunately, we never saw that happen.
Nader was the real deal. He wore his usual dark suit and tie with a white shirt. He presented with a serious demeanor and his style was matter-of-fact. I don’t recall him smiling or laughing, though he may have. Ralph was all business.
Obviously a smart fellow-Ralph was reading by age 3. He speaks several languages.
I appreciated that my schools over the years brought in some folks who were honestly willing to challenge the status quo. Ralph was one. The folk singer Pete Seeger was another. Authentic contrarians have a critical role to play.
Here’s to a good Memorial Day weekend.