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October 24, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Ele Sitligatu DaiIl

Who is really wasting their vote?

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and marnaged by
students at tihe
University of Michigan

MIKE SPALHN
Editor in Chief
EMI LY ACHENBAUM
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsiged editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial boar dAll other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

;Students can learn from groups on campus
L isten up, you undecided voters: Your declared the week of October 23-27
days of fence-sitting must soon come Voter Education Week: A series of free
than end. activities designed to help you make
So, you're having a tough time the most of your votes this November.
-eciding whom you'd like to call your And remember, there is more to be
next president. You've seen the decided on this ballot than just the next
debates; you've registered to vote. commander-in-chief. In addition to a
-Maybe you even got the chance to see student debate between advocates for
Al Gore or Ralph Nader while they different presidential candidates,
were in Ann Arbor. You're familiar debates will be held between candidates
with this year's hot-button political for Ann Arbor Mayor, 53rd district State
ssues, but you just aren't sure who will House Representative, and US House of
*st represent your views. Maybe you Representatives. Discussion groups will
think all the candidates are the same. also be held on issues such as social
Maybe you think your vote doesn't security and school vouchers.
matter. The evening news loves to release
Your votes do count. According to studies that show how clueless our gen-
the polls, the presidential race is so eration is about politics, that we don't
close in the state of Michigan that cur- care who our leaders are; it is up to us to
rently undecided voters wield all the prove them wrong. Even if you can't
power; you are going to determine who make it to the Voice Your Vote events, it
-gets this state's electoral votes. And is imperative to the future of this state
Elecrtion Day, November 7th, is and of this country that you educate
approaching with lightning speed. yourselves about the issues. Many
This leaves you with a very impor- young people believe that by not voting
tant decision to make, and very little in an election, they are making a worth-
time in which to make it. Over the while political statement: That nothing
course of the next week, it is up to you on the ballot is even worth their time.
to become the most informed voter this Resist the urge to join them; a democra-
state has ever seen. Fortunately for you, cy cannot function if its citizens refuse
the Michigan Student Assembly has to participate.
Rmember AIDS?
Ad-ing to the lax attitude toward HIV

In an election year where the biggest catch
phrase involves the notorious "wasted vote,"
I've got a few questions to ask. What is this
wasted vote that everyone warns me about?
"Don't waste your vote by voting for him! He's.
got no chance!" Waste my vote ? What is a
wasted vote? Is voting
for someone you
believe in a wasted
vote? Not in my book.
In my book, the
only wasted vote is a
misinformed one. The
power of a democracy
lies in the people's abil-
ity to vote for a persona
who best represents
their views. This isn't a'
high school student
government election; ManiSh
it's not about voting for Raiji
the person who throws
the best parties and *
smokes the best weed.: ii Iy:
It's about voting for the
person who you think is best suited for leading
this nation. And unfortunately, too many peo-
ple don't understand that and get shepherded
into voting for a "winner." If you don t support
someone, don't vote for him because of the
donkey or elephant sewed into his boxers,
because that's a surefire way of making sure
that your voice is silenced.
So do this nation a favor, and don't vote if
you're out to vote for a person whose plans
you don't understand, whose ideologies you
don't agree with, and whose integrity is about
as strong as the paper this is written on. Do us
all a favor and stay as far away from a voting
booth as you can, because not voting at all is

better than voting uninformed. There are more
than two candidates running for office this
year, and if Bush or Gore don't appeal to you,
don't settle simply because you fear you have
no choices. There are six candidates on the
ballot in Michigan, and voting for any one of
them without knowing what the others stand
for is really the only wasted vote.
Do you feel that the government is too
intrusive? Do you feel that the budget surplus
is a shining example of government theft?
Should the government have no place in the
abortion debates? Do you believe in interna-
tional free-markets, regardless of human rights
violations? Are you entirely opposed to affir-
mative action? Should the education system be
privatized? Is the war on drugs intrusive and
wasteful? If you say yes to these issues, than
look into Harry Browne, and avoid Gore and
Bush like the plague, because they will not
represent your needs.
Do you support gun control? School
vouchers ? Funneling more money into social
security'? Do you think that increased govern-
ment control over the airwaves should limit the
amount of sex and violence on television? Are
you opposed to genetically altered foods?
Opposed to nuclear power because of the envi-
ronmental damage done by nuclear waste? Do
you support increased sexual education for
children? John Hagelin does, and if you agree,
than maybe he's the candidate you ought to
showing your support for.
Do you disagree with sending aid to for-
eign nations? Do you believe in closed Ameri-
can borders'? Should Christianity be the
driving force behind our government? Do you
support concealed weapons? Is abortion'"homi-
cide - and should doctors who perform abor-
tions be prosecuted for such crimes? Should

welfare be entirely disposed of? If you
answered yes, than why vote for Bush or Gore
when you can vote for a person who supports
what you support? Why not vote for Howard
Phillips, who believes in all of the above?
Do you feel that corporate sponsorship of
the electoral process has destroyed the democ-
ratic system? Should the government be more
concerned about the unequal distribution of
wealth in this nation? Do you support trigger
locks and background checks on gun purchas-
es? Should the budget surplus be spent on
improving the urban school system and gov-
ernmental infrastructure? Do you support
equal gay rights? Should investments be made
to shift our dependence on environmentally
damaging fossil fuels towards more sustain-
able energy such as hemp? If so, than Bush
and Gore are not going to speak for you if
elected, but Ralph Nader will.
These are your four other choices. These
are the four candidates that you can "waste
your vote" on. Remember this when election
time rolls around; once every four years, we
are given the opportunity to vote for the person
who will become arguably the most powerful
person in this world. You have two weeks. If
you've never heard of these four people
before, you have two weeks to catch up, and
figure out who truly represents your beliefs. If
you're fed up with the way this government
works, then don't vote for either of the two
parties responsible for making this government
the way it is. Are you going to walk into the
voting booth in two weeks and vote for the
candidate that you admire, or are you going to
walk in and waste your vote on a person you
don't believe in?
- Manish Raiji can be reached
via e-mail at mraiji@umich.edu.

'1 can handle It. Oh, who am I kidding?
They drive me freakin' crazy!'

- First-year Music student Dan Wilansky on the campus ladybug infestation.

0
0

Pharmaceutical drug companies in the
last decade have developed quite a
itucrative business by inflating demand
tfor their products with over-the-top mar-
,rketing strategies. Advertising on televi-
sion, in print, on the radio and on the
internet has reached a fevered pitch,
bombarding people with messages that
the cure for just about any ailment -
from allergy symptoms to baldness to
erectile dysfunction - is only a doctor's
visit away. But recently, these ads have
taken a turn for the worse. Specifically in
the newly developing market of AIDS
drugs, advertising has become a social
problem. Recent nation-wide ad blitzes
seem to say it's OK to have AIDS
because prescription drugs are here to
save you. Well, nothing could be further
from the truth.
The ads have been targeted mostly at
gay men, appearing on billboards in
major metropolitan areas and in the
pages of national periodicals. They usual-
ly show a man or sometimes a gay couple
in their late twenties surrounded by
friends with the message, "I'm positive"
or "We're positive," respectively, in bold
print. The ads seem to that the lifestyle of
the HIV positive man has not changed
dramatically, that he can still go on living
his life. These ads contribute to lax atti-
tudes about AIDS.
As awareness and fear of AIDS as a
serious illness becomes less a social real-
ity, the true reality has not improved
because threats of acquiring the virus
have not diminished in this country or
abroad.
The social consequences of promoting
an even more carefree attitude toward
AIDS through careless advertising are
disastrous. When the AIDS epidemic is
reduced to mere trend, when the HIV

positive man is lauded as a kind of bill-
board celebrity and when formerly fear-
ful and cautious individuals are lulled
into a false sense of security by these ads,
the results are clearly awful. These ads
are proving to have a negative impact on
conceptions of HIV because they almost
promote a kind of HIV-positive band-
wagon exclusivity. Obviously, with this
kind of message, a more lax attitude
toward safe sex and a rise in HIV infec-
tion rates are the consequences. And
AIDS drugs don't work for everyone.
Although news broke last week that
an AIDS vaccine has proven effective in
preliminary tests done on lower primates,
such a miracle cure may be years away.
Even if the vaccine does appear to be
effective for humans, it faces years of
FDA testing. At this point - being very
optimistic - we can only begin to imag-
ine a cure for AIDS on the horizon. But
such hope seems ever more tenuous.
AIDS is no longer a hot-button issue.
Support for fundraising and research has
dwindled in recent years, much like sup-
port for rainforest preservation collapsed
in the '80's. Too many now ignore the
deadliness of AIDS. As this virus slips
from the spotlight, apathy and careless-
ness has taken the place of safety.
The only certain way to avoid the
onset of AIDS is to protect oneself from
acquiring the virus in the first place. Safe
sex, abstinence and limited risk behavior
are the only ways to truly avoid this dis-
astrous modern epidemic. And these ads
continue to rip apart that foundation, that
AIDS awareness safety net.
Magazines with any social conscience
should pull these dangerous ads from
their publications. Celebrating an as-yet-
incurable disease to sell drugs is repre-
hensible.

Go ahead, throw
your vote away
TO THE DAILY:
I found David Horn's column ('Kodos,
Kang, Clinton, Nader and pop machines at
lunch," 10/17/00) to be very interesting.
Horn's use of a Simpson's episode to persuade
our vote at first seems very inticing. However,
I feel very sorry for Horn; it seems that he
missed the end of that episode:
Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are
you going to do about it? It's a two-party sys-
tem; you have to vote for one of us.
Man 1: He's right, this is a two-party sys-
tern.
Man 2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-
party candidate.
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.
REID WAINESS
LSA SOPHOMORE
Spartan attends
game and leaves
town disgusted
TO THE DAILY:
Often I hear from friends in Ann Arbor
about how :much more sophisticated life is at
the University of Michigan, and how us "Cow
College" folk are doomed to a life of manage-
ment at McDonald's. It's all in good fun, how-
ever, and we all know that none of it is meant
to be hurtful or derisive.
Saturday, however, my roommate and I
attended the football game involving our two
teams in Michigan Stadium and left complete-
ly disgusted. If Ann Arbor is truly more
sophisticated than East Lansing, then please let
me be a cheap beer-swilling, lazy, dirty red-
neck any day of the week.

We took seats in the student section, among
a couple other MSU fans and the rest of the
University student body. We were then pelted
with a rain of garbage, filthy names, derogatory
comments and the stadium security attempted
to deny us our seats wh'en we paused for a
moment to decide how best to navigate through
the packed crowd. I was hit in the face with a
large cup full of pop and soaked to the bone. A
little of this pop spilled onto an older man in
front of me, who turned around and informed
me that my roommate and I were a disgrace. Vk
were the disgrace. Us, dripping with pop, pelted
with half-eaten marshmallows and pizza boxes
were the disgrace. At one point, a young man in
the stands behind us nearly started a fist fight
with one of our fellow Spartans next to us, and
after breaking the fight up, we decided it was

time to leave. We weren't watching a football
game. We were enduring a kind of punishment.
There have been times when Ann Arbor
had some things over East Lansing. I've often
felt that it was just as nice a place, if not better
in some respects. The downtown area is beauti-
ful, the Huron River is a wonderful sight to
behold. However, the people leave something
to be desired. I've come to the conclusion that
while anyone is free to walk the streets of East
Lansing, those who do not wear the Maize and
Blue are not welcome in Ann Arbor.
I love my friends dearly, and the area is
nice, but it will take a lot for me to ever return
to your city.

CHRIS BOYER
MSU SOPHOMORE

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135 down, 455 to go: George Ws history of execution

OP-ART BY GILLEs LABORDERIE

Justice - desired by many but understood
by few. What truly defines justice? Is it
simply some sort of payback aimed at the
satisfaction of the
victim - and at what
cost? Everyone
speaks of how justice '_
must be served, but
who is the justice
really for - and how
extreme must that
justice be?
Taking a life is
arguably the harshestX
punishment that can
be handed down. The
use of capital punish- Erin
ment has more than McQulnn
tripled since its re-
instatement in 1976.
As more and more
brutal crimes are
being committed,
people are searching for some sort of justice,
a repayment for the losses that they them-
selves have suffered. And they ask for that
repayment in the form of flesh and blood.

separate cases that have brought the falsely
accused off death row, the legal system does
make mistakes. But the chilling reality of the
situation is, just how many innocent people
were not spared, and had to pay for the short-
comings of an arrogant governor or a judge
with a personal vende'tta?
As Texas hails as the execution state,
boasting 232 men and women sentenced to
lethal injection since 1976, I am somewhat
fearful for the future of the country if George
W. Bush were to be elected president. This
Republican candidate who refers to himself
as the "law and order governor," exhibits a
heartless attitude that would no doubt reflect
in many other aspects of his attitudes
towards poverty, foreign aid and the overall
welfare of the country.
But to Bush, who in his time served has
seen more than 135 people to the cold, hard,
executionary table says, "As far as I'm con-
cerned, there has not been one innocent per-
son executed since I've been the governor."
That is simply flat-out ignorant, G.W.
Even now, in the face of overwhelming
evidence of DNA error and a faulty legal
system, Bush sticks to his I'm-so-tough-on-

nerve to mock Texas-executed Karla Faye
Tucker in a formal interview, amusing the
interviewer with an imitation of this now
deceased inmate's final plea of, "I don't
want to die." It was tastefully re-enacted by
G.W. with pursed lips and a whimpering
tone.
Texas also executes the most juveniles
and mentally retarded citizens. The first time
Bush ever issued a temporary 30 day 0
reprieve for anyone sentenced to die was
recently, after he was brought under the eye
of public scrutiny for being a called a merci-
less executioner. As the presidential race
narrows, he surely doesn't want to be known
for his previous track record of turning his
back on possible innocence.
The death penalty is only for those who
don't have enough money to buy their inno-
cence. It is the punishment for those who
cannot afford the best lawyer. It is the pun-
ishment for those who kill a white person
(83 percent of all death-punished cr-imes
were for the murder of a white man or
woman). And finally, it is the punishment of
an angry public, looking to place blame
wherever they can.

"NAM"

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