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Nader gives Point Park University students points to ponder

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By Jamie Inferrera
Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009

After surveying his audience at Point Park University, Ralph Nader explained that many young people visit shopping malls and McDonald's more than they attend city council meetings.

Growing up corporate, Nader said, doesn't make an effective citizen.

"Can you write a 1,000-word essay on your civic skills?" Nader, 75, asked the audience. "I bet you could write a 1,000-word essay on your social skills."

The consumer-rights advocate and four-time presidential candidate made his point yesterday during a brief session with select Point Park students before addressing a larger audience at the Downtown school. Nader's lecture, titled "The Mega Corporate Destruction of Capitalism and Democracy," addressed the importance of civic engagement and grassroots democracy.

"Watch out who measures progress," Nader said. "Whoever measures progress controls you."

Mark Scaramuzzi, 21, a senior English major at Duquesne University, said he's a strong Nader supporter.

"I believe that building viable third-party alternatives to the current two-party system is critical to the growth and evolution of the democratic process," Scaramuzzi said.

Nader ran for president as the Green Party candidate in 1996 and 2000 before entering the race as an independent in 2004 and 2008.

In 1965, Nader released "Unsafe at Any Speed," a study of the safety of American automobiles. Federal safety laws for automobiles were established by Congress as a result of Nader's work.

Many in attendance last night were college students who know Nader as a politician and consumer advocate. Students listened as Nader spoke about losing friends in car accidents and taking a stance with the issue.

"How Nader goes about doing things seems to be an effective way to go about politics," said Anthony Costulas, 20, a sophomore political science major at Point Park. "He does not stand in line like the majority of politicians today."

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