Opinion: Wrong issues, wrong direction

Chris Hampson

Chris Hampson

By Alex Dunkel

I promised myself that I’d stop writing about politics after the election, but after listening to a significant number of students discuss the results, I feel the need to address their concerns.

First and foremost, I share many students’ disbelief at the two key issues cited by Bush supporters: moral issues and terrorism. For starters, given all of the problems facing our country, focusing on abortion, same-sex rights and other hotly debated religious topics, at a time when many people have been out of work after several years, is nothing short of hypocrisy. This president’s tax breaks and corporate policies have greatly widened the gap between the middle class and the ultra-wealthy – most of who have more than fully recovered from the stock market drop in 2000. Bush’s policies also have resulted in the loss of millions of jobs and the poorest of our citizens still barely survive with two full incomes.

If the majority of people feel these issues are significantly less important than banning abortion and discriminating against homosexuals, then those people have a warped sense of morality. The last time I checked, Jesus was all for helping the poor and embracing the sinners as equals. I guess it’s too much to ask a bunch of complacent Christians to care about people who weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths. After all, they have nice homes, either on farms or in suburbs. I just hope that many of the avid Bush supporters find themselves standing in line at the unemployment office within the next few years. Sometimes, it takes hardship for people to get off their high horse and face reality.

Shifting to the issue of terrorism, it’s hard to believe that nobody has learned anything since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. I doubt it’s covered on Fox News, but report after report has shown that anti-U.S. sentiment has been growing worldwide – and not as a result of bin Laden’s message but from our arrogance, self-righteousness and unilateral action. Even the citizens of allied nations view our president as one of the greatest threats to world peace. With his re-election, their opinions of U.S. citizens will greatly decline. The fact is that our foreign policy, especially under our current president, has been far more devastating around the world than terrorist attacks have been to us. But then again, most of us couldn’t possibly know that the vast majority of U.S. citizens never travel abroad, especially not to third-world nations.

Over the next 20 years, I predict that the Islamic extremist element will diminish from most of the major international terrorist organizations. In its place, I suspect that angry, impoverished people will step forward and declare a freedom fight against the United States and any of its remaining allies – if we have any at that point.

Looking ahead at home, I see little or no hope for healing the rift that divides us. Similar to the last presidential election, the electorate map more closely resembled a map of the Civil War. It makes one wonder if that war ever really ended, despite the surrender and the treaties.

The non-conservatives have a long, hard fight ahead of them. They continue to lose seats in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. They even continue to lose control of northern states to the “Confederate” South. Despite turning out in record numbers, liberals still were unable to defeat the ultra-rich and the ultra-religious. I strongly fear that few minorities will turn out for the next presidential election. Please prove me wrong!

As the nation swings further from its ideals of equality and tolerance, I fear non-conservatives of the future might come to think that the only voice they have left is violence. Dark times do indeed lie ahead for us. “America has chosen,” and it has chosen war, both at home and abroad.

Alex Dunkel is a University employee. His column runs alternate Fridays. He can be reached at [email protected]