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An Unreasonable Man 

In the aftermath of the 2000 Bush-Gore election fiasco in Florida, one of the harsher backlashes was the vilification of Ralph Nadar, who was accused of siphoning off votes that would have delivered a victory to Gore. The documentary An Unreasonable Man spends ample time airing out many sides of that argument, but what the film underscores is how much that election will mar Nadar's otherwise amazing legacy. Before he ran for office, Nadar was essentially a public servant who did more to benefit most Americans than the overwhelming majority of those ever elected to office in this country. His model of citizen engagement (working within the system) created consumer protections in the workplace and marketplace that are now taken for granted. The film starts with the David and Goliath story of Nadar challenging GM over why it continued to produce the Corvair even though company engineers knew its design flaws were dangerous to consumers. In an amazing sequence of events, GM spied on Nadar and even hired women to try to lure him into compromising situations. Eventually, company executives apologized for those actions during Congressional hearings, and GM lost a civil suit to Nadar, ironically providing the seed funding for his consumer protection organization Public Citizen. His tiny staff of Nadar's Raiders successfully battled corporate America until the Reagan-era gave birth to a think-tank culture in Washington D.C. that shifted the advantage back to business interests, and eventually enabled the dubious notion that either major political party could represent the common man vis-a-vis the lobbying interests, fundraising necessities and Beltway insiders that now dominate elections. Regardless of Nadar's career, the film arrives at hard questions about who the Democratic Party and federal government ultimately represent. Free admission. " Will Coviello 6:30 p.m. Sun., Nov. 4

Ashe Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 569-9070; www.ashecac.org

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