Letter to the editor: No good reason to vote Republican this election

To the Editor:

As another election approaches only weeks away and New Jersey slowly emerges as a swing state, I’ve been noticing a greater trend of Republican viewpoints among my friends. Some of the most surprising people have emerged as staunch Republican voters, and, to be honest, I do not understand this. I hate mixing politics with friendships, because usually both parties end up angry, annoyed and with a friendship left on the brink because of opposing viewpoints. But the truth is, I don’t understand why people would choose to vote Republican (or Democratic, for that matter, but that’s for another letter) this election year.

George W. Bush has pushed for benefits for the pharmaceutical industry, rather than looking out for the consumer, the everyday American. He has promoted the purchase of prescription drugs from the United States, rather than foreign countries, like Canada for example, where these drugs may be cheaper. Americans are advised to purchase their prescription drugs from within the country to ensure safety, despite the fact that many, if not most drugs sold within the United States were manufactured in other countries. On a related note, Bush has also leaned toward business and away from the everyday American by making it more difficult to sue HMOs and creating situations that may make healthcare providers less inclined to provide the best possible care for patients.

As far as the environment goes, the president has been voicing a hope for laws to allow for drilling in Alaska. Although this would be the end of Alaska as a pristine area and create pollution, he would much rather perpetuate our dependence on oil rather than invest in alternative solutions to oil. In addition, in mid-July of this year Bush’s administration made public a proposal to end a policy from Clinton’s presidency called the “Roadless rule” which forbade logging and road construction on millions of acres of national forests. These are just a fraction of the harm Bush wants to do to the country, all in the name of profit and business.

Another concern – Bush made a big issue about not sending “mixed messages” but his very actions contradict his own words. The President Select made an enormous mistake in invading Iraq. He has the blood of so many people on his hands and many of those people were American soldiers (this is not to say the life of an American means more than any other life). And while he gave praise to the soldiers for doing the dirty work, he went and cut veteran benefits, reducing pension and government pay. What kind of message is he sending to our troops?

And while we’re on the subject of the war, it is important to note what Sen. John Kerry pointed out in the first presidential debate: The enemy that attacked us was Osama bin Laden. Since when do we attack and invade other countries based on suspicion and not concrete evidence? Perhaps the evidence that was available at the time of invasion and attack did point to capabilities of nuclear proliferation, and maybe Iraq did break U.N. Resolutions, but if that’s the basis of attack, I do believe Israel has broken many more U.N. Resolutions regarding their unjust occupation of Palestine. And there are numerous countries with the capability to create damage. People in Iraq are living in conditions that make it difficult to even step out of the house without the fear of bullets, rape or other forms of violence. Everyone has heard enough about the war though, and hopefully most people understand the debacle that was caused by our invasion.

My last point, though there is much more to discuss, is on education. The plan that President Bush has outlined for 2005 puts a hold on the enrollment into the Head Start program and cuts a large percentage of children out of eligibility. It also eliminates about $247 billion which would normally go to support a family literacy program. These are the same programs that his wife has praised so highly. Then there’s No Child Left Behind, which Bush seems to have forgotten the money for – The man under funded his own education plan by $33.2 billion, two-thirds of which was supposed to go towards low-income families. And then there are us college students out there, who experienced hikes in college tuition (49 of the 50 states had tuition hikes in public colleges) and Bush actually cut financial aid. I guess maybe he had no choice with the failed economy he left us with, but maybe that’s for another letter too.

There are many more reasons I could list about why Bush isn’t the candidate to vote for this election year. Maybe both candidates aren’t the best, but in a situation like the one presented to voters this year, I would say it’s not the right time to vote for a third party candidate. It definitely isn’t very fair that the two main choices presented to the American public are represented by an elephant and a donkey, but taking note of the points mentioned here, and the various bits of information regarding Bush’s “accomplishments” available to the public, we should feel obligated to take a look back and ask ourselves, “Are we better off than we were four years ago?”

Smita Gaith