Consumer advocate Ralph Nader (1934-) was born on this day in Winsted, Connecticut and graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University. The son of hard-working Lebanese immigrants, he earned his law degree from Harvard.
"There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship," he once said. With passion and dedication, he single-handedly started a consumer-protection movement in America.
Nader's book Unsafe at Any Speed (1965) was an exposé of the auto industry's disregard for safety that led to the passage of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (1966) and creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. With Nader's advocacy, airbags, padded dashboards, and seat belts became life's standard equipment.
"Turn on to politics, or politics will turn on you," said the consumer crusader who has also studied the meat and poultry industries and researched food additives and natural gas pipelines. His fight for government and big business accountability resulted in stricter health and safety laws.
The founder of Public Citizen (1971), Washington’s premiere consumer and public advocacy organization, Nader along with his followers, "Nader's Raiders," helped pass the Air Pollution, Water Pollution, and Safe Drinking Water Acts.
"A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done," said Nader who ran for U.S. President in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. "The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers," he said.
"You've got to keep the pressure on, even if you lose. The essence of the citizen's movement is persistence."
Do it daily and get it done.