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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    USG Elections This November!

    Dear Editor,

    I was a bit tired this afternoon. I did not have much sleep the night before and so, my classes, homework, and other sundries taken care of for the day, decided to lie down on my raised pillow, enjoy the warmth and comfort of my bed with my feet neatly tucked under the sheets, and began to continue reading the original “Dracula,” which although it was required text for one of my classes, had by now absorbed me greatly and I was reading for pleasure. I kept the door open to let some air in and spent a few minutes enthralled with the Dr. Van Helsing and the gang going about curing the world from the “Un-Dead.”

    Just then, a fairly animated conversation in the suite’s common room had started to attract my attention, and with voices being raised yet higher, I began to ignore my book and concentrate on the discussion, which went something like this: Female voice (squeaky and whining): “I hate Bush. It is people like Bush who make this world a terrible place. They let evil people like Cheney do whatever the hell they want as long as he looks good. What does he care? He doesn’t care if the environment goes to shit or about poor people, because he’s not one of them.”

    Male voice (high pitched): “No. It’s Cheney. He’s the one with the evil ideas. We have to stop him!” and on and on it went? And so I was being treated to an asinine discussion regarding who was worse, VP Cheney or President Bush, with their “evil” plans and all that. To be fair, had I been in the company of others, I could have also had the honor to hear an equally animated discussion about “those f–king liberals” and their plans to do everything from legalizing same-sex marriage to “killing babies.” Enough already!

    It is no longer the rare idiot who is fanatically “blue” or “red,” and it seems as if the political parties have found some way of making their foolish followers believe that they are saving democracy by bashing the other parties and exaggerating their agendas. In reality, most people in the world are “purple”, we all have liberal and conservative tendencies, favor moderate courses and do not believe that democracy is best when one group gets its way on every issue while the other is completely ignored. Democracy is not the “tyranny of the majority” nor should we spend most of our time debating what is minutia, leaving the important questions unresolved and unnoticed.

    In life, we care about getting a good education, finding decent jobs, having adequate and affordable medical care, eventually getting a house of our own and perhaps a family to go with it, and to live in relative freedom and security, minding our own business and carrying on with our lives.

    Unfortunately, the political situation in this country has gotten to the point where conservatives have been fooled into caring more about unborn fetuses than about the starving poor, and more about teaching religious fundamentals and displaying the “Ten Commandments” rather than living by their example and carrying out a moral and caring life. Liberals for their part have forgotten the essential message of liberalism, which is leaving people to be free and independent in their own affairs, and have instead created a culture of no self-responsibility and have tried at every turn to expand government and its influence on our lives instead of tearing it away as much as possible.

    They care more about the well being of terror suspects than they do about the security and well being of their country. Politics today is merely a horror show of extreme ideologies and the politics of division, fear, and paranoia, instead of unity, rational debate, and understanding. Sadly, for as long as people continue to support the Republican and Democratic parties, this atmosphere will continue and will only become more acrid.

    Politicians today are so secure of their positions that they now do whatever they wish, without fear of reprimand or oversight by the people whom they allegedly serve, as they draw their own gerrymandered districts, essentially carving out their own electorates and ensuring their positions for decades. Not only do our two venerable parties pick their own constituencies, but their elites decide amongst themselves on who their candidates are, taking for granted that their party faithful will merely rubber stamp their decision and as a result those who are elected do not truly represent “the people” and their interests, but rather merely the whims and affairs of their own party.

    With pusillanimous (spineless) politicians owing their gilded government seats to corrupt party elite who raise funds for them, draw favorable districts for them to “lead” and campaign on their behalf, is it any wonder that the average voter is relegated to the dustbin and that our leaders are indebted to special interests, whose intent and policy is completely antagonistic to that of the average voter? The only check on this monstrous situation is to resort to the power of the people to check their government.

    I am not asking you to put on a Guy Fawkes mask and rise up, “V for Vendetta” style, but merely to take seriously your duty to vote by researching all of the candidates (an easy task with the power of google and with candidates all too willing to get your vote by giving you information,) and most importantly to consider every decision you make, free of fear and coercion from the government and from those whose interests are not your own.

    Happy voting this November!

    Respectfully yours, Esam Al-Shareffi

    P.S. NYPIRG is an excellent resource on this campus to get you to register to vote. They are nonpartisan and are only too willing to help you register. You can find their office in the Union Basement, next to the SINC site. Now go vote and make a freakin’ difference, before I move to Canada.

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