Filed under Opinion

Student voices on the election

Student voices on the election

The following are columns by various political groups at UIS, concerning the upcoming election.

College Democrats at UIS:

This year’s elections are bound to be a hotbed of excitement in the coming final days of campaign 2012. By now, your television screens at home seemingly run endless amounts of political ads. It’s all over soon though, I promise. Our organization and its members on campus have worked diligently to spread the message of the Democratic Party both here and outward toward the community, through everything from voter registration drives to domestic policy debates with our campus counterparts, the College Republicans.

Democrats believe in the power of government to do good in the lives of people. We disagree with President Ronald Reagan’s assessment that government can only be a hindrance. We seek to build long-lasting public/private partnerships for the betterment of our communities, schools, and businesses. The Democrats have re-nominated President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden for another four years, and we’re all behind the President, Vice-President, and other Democratic candidates up and down the ticket.

I hope you can join me in making it out to the polls on November 6th, to support our party’s ideals and goals if they interest you. Even if you don’t like what we stand for, go vote anyway. It’s a shame to see the largest block of the electorate be non-voters. Get your voices and opinions heard, or else you really should have an asterisk next to you if you complain about the state of affairs in our country. Practice what you preach.

Remember, change starts with individuals moving toward a common goal. Get involved in the political process, it’s why we have one in the first place. Take advantage of the system we have and make sure you have a piece of the pie in picking the people that decide large parts of our futures, especially college students.

Marc Reiter,

College Democrats President

The College Democrats can be contacted at http://www.facebook.com/groups/2203092218/ or by e-mailing Marc Reiter.

College Republicans at UIS: 

The Republican Party or sometimes seen as the GOP (Grand Old Party) first emerged in 1854. The party began as an anti- slavery party. The first Republican to be elected was Abraham Lincoln. The party began its base in the northeast and Midwest, which has changed over time and has become more dominant in the south. The Republican Party has seen some changes, during the 1960-1980s the moderate republicans emerged.

The platform is one that is largely based around being fiscally conservative, or spending money within sense. We believe in less government control, and less regulation on businesses. We believe in the right to practice your 2nd amendment, and are pro-life. We support free markets and personal reasonability over welfare.

Our group on campus is a group of students who believe the same things that the party was based around, although just like the party we do not all have the same views on every situation or decision our party makes, but at the end of the day we are Republicans. Our group has helped with many of the campaigns in the upcoming election.

Many of the members helped with local races in their communities like county board, all the way up to state level races like those for senate and representatives. In return we are building our résumés, and doing what most of us enjoy doing. We are also in the process of assisting Rodney Davis’s campaign, who is running for congress in the Springfield area, and also Dennis Shackelford’s campaign who is running for State Representative.

We help out or at least try to help any Republican candidate that may need it. We have not really been able to help out with the presidential election.  As of right now the Republican Party controls the House in congress, but does not control the Senate. As a political advocacy group on campus, we first and foremost want people to know what your government does and how it influences your life. We have students involved in College Republicans that come from the moderate side of “conservative” to the very right of “conservative.”

The College Republicans can be contacted at http://www.facebook.com/groups/2203165647/.

Radical Student Union at UIS:

As we turn into the homestretch of the 2012 election, there are countless news stories and discussions about the idiosyncrasies that differentiate President Obama and Governor Romney. Maybe it’s just the RSU that’s confused by this, but when we look at the present election we see two right of center, corporatist parties posturing as opposites; though it’s a good bet the Liberty Club is scratching their head too. Sure there are some important differences between the parties, but there are far more dangerous similarities. No matter which of the two main candidates you vote for you will get more exploitative capitalism, more militarism, more imperialism, and a more oppressive police state.

No matter which of them you choose you will get more interventionist policies and drone attacks. We have two presidential candidates who argue over who will kill more people around the world with drones. There is no discussion of the morality of such actions or the collateral damage caused by such attacks. Instead we see the only two candidates given the time of day by the mainstream media constantly ratcheting up the stakes for the next generation of U.S. militarism.

No matter which of them you choose you will get continued bowing to Israel’s pressure to maintain a modern apartheid against the people of Palestine. The continued praise of Israeli democracy while overlooking their rampant human rights violations. And the stark possibility of the U.S. blindly following Israel into yet another war in the Middle East.

No matter which of them you choose you will get more outsourced jobs and corporate welfare. Romney made his fortunes buying up companies and outsourcing the work, ask the Sensata workers in Freeport, IL about it. Obama has expanded free trade agreements allowing jobs to be shipped to an ever expanding list of labor pools and allowing American corporations to exploit new global labor markets.

No matter which of them you choose you will get massive environmental destruction at the hands of money hungry multinational corporations. Hello Keystone XL. Hello increased dirty fuel production for the benefit of energy conglomerates.

No matter which of them you choose you will get a continuation of our failed War on Drugs. You will see countless more citizens imprisoned rather than given treatment. You will see more communities destroyed by drugs, selective enforcement, and violence.

No matter which of them you choose you will get a leader bought and paid for by corporate and special interests. This election will be the most expensive in history, as it seems most every election cycle is. While working Americans struggle and new graduates search hopelessly for work, hundreds of millions of dollars will be passed between the pockets of America’s aristocratic wealthy populations and the corporate media to guarantee that their propaganda reaches the eyes and ears of the voting public.

You do not have to choose between President Obama or Governor Romney. There are countless options. If you did not see it you should watch the Third Party Debate on RT.com. There the top four third party candidates had a real discussion of the issues, not the scripted joke that the Republicans and Democrats call debates. Real options exist; one must simply exert a little more effort and overcome decades of social conditioning by advocates of our two party system.

Most of us grew up with “lesser of two evils” defining how we learned about and thought about politics. Such a system only survives because we are complicit, even in silence, in its operation. So this November 6th go out and vote. Education yourself and vote for who you think will honestly better this country out of ALL of the candidates. But most importantly remember that democracy isn’t going out and voting every four years. It lives in our homes, our classrooms, and in the streets every second of every day. For those of us who truly want a better future, it will be made there; standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with one another.

You can reach the RSU at http://www.facebook.com/groups/UISRSU/.

The Liberty Forum at UIS:

The Folly of Voting

Another election cycle is upon us, but I’m here to assure you that not everybody is wrapped up in the emotional fervor that accompanies such a charade.  Pundits make an effort to persuade you of how critical this election is, of how important it is to vote, of the supposedly vast differences between Suit R and Suit D. However, a person concerned with the principles of a free society and liberty would not vote in national elections.

Let me explain. In debates every four years, we see two candidates who expect us to believe that their “vision” can control, change, and embody history’s most powerful and bloated government. That they can transform it into a fantasy that it is not. It contains thousands of departments, innumerable codes of laws, and systems of graft and corruption rooted in centuries of entrenchment.

Yet, they stand on stage with an implausible conviction asking for your consent and approval—your vote. The candidates must be extraordinarily talented in order to pull off such an elaborate ruse, and perhaps pathological if they actually believe their claims.

We are taught that voting is our civic duty and our right as citizens. This may be, but we should consider certain points first.

People like to believe that their vote counts, but it doesn’t. Despite the propaganda from politicians and pundits, statistically it is meaningless. It is the absolute least worthwhile activity you should concern yourself with, if you aim to positively influence the world. There is actually a study showing that you are more likely to die on the way to the polls than you are to cast a meaningful vote in a presidential election. Even when it has been close, we have learned that votes really don’t count (see the 2000 election fiasco).

Keep in mind that voting just encourages them. People very rarely vote for the candidate that they really believe in, but against candidates they fear. If you doubt this, simply ask an average Romney or Obama supporter to explain why they are voting without referring to the competitor. Unfortunately, this is not how politicians see it. They take office with the belief that the vote totals give a mandate to rule—never mind that most votes were merely cast against the opponent.

People take solace in voting for the “lesser of two evils”, but of course they are still voting for evil. One could argue that a vote for a third party is meaningful on a symbolic level, however hopeless their prospects of winning. Do so if you wish. But, if you do not believe that it is proper for individuals to relate to one another on the basis of coercion, then don’t engage in the process that approves it. Non-voters are told that if you don’t vote then you cannot complain. In fact, it is the exact opposite. By voting, you are consenting to the ultimate results of the political process and have no right to complain about the wars, the debt, and the violations of civil liberties.

If you wish to learn more about this topic and how to meaningfully promote a free society contact Thomas Funfsinn at tfunf2@uis.edu to get involved with the Liberty Forum at UIS.

Thomas Funfsinn is currently a graduate student in the Liberal and Integrative Studies program and the president of the Liberty Forum at UIS. He holds B.A.s in History and Legal Studies.

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