Letters to the Editor 11/8

Voter turnout doesn’t represent struggle

Tuesday was Election Day. Based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistics from the 2000 election, only one out of every three young adults (18 to 24-year-olds) voted.

This is about 32 percent. Living in a nation with a history rich in struggles for suffrage, I cannot help but to contemplate why young adults do not take advantage of this right and privilege they are guaranteed as citizens of the United States.

As it stands, in the 2000 elections 54 percent of the black population voted. P>African-American men were the first minority in the United States who were granted the right to vote under the 15th Amendment. This right, which some take for granted, was painstakingly won after countless battles first fought in the 1870s by men such as Frederick Douglass. Then, although voting was “allowed,” black voters had to face the Ku Klux Klan, poll taxes, literacy tests, death threats and the Grandfather Clause. It was not until over a century later, in the 1960s during the Civil Rights movement, that blacks could safely and freely vote.

Women during this time were also working for voting rights, but it was not until 1920 under the 19th Amendment that they were granted the right to vote. Led by powerful women such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Lucy Stone, their issue was also of national concern.

Unlike African-Americans, women did not commonly have to face death as the worst threat in their battles. However, long hours were spent organizing protests and parades, getting newspapers to publish articles and many times even getting arrested and thrown into jail for the cause.

These women endured a lot so women of future generations could experience broader opportunities and a higher status of living. Only 56 percent of the female population voted in the 2000 elections.

There is hope for us yet as people, and organizations nationwide are trying to increase the low voter turnout among our age group.

I believe USF has seen its share of politicians in the last few weeks, including Janet Reno, Senator Bob Graham, Jeb Bush and his brother, the president of the United States.

No matter how many groups have fought for the right to vote, no matter who urges you to participate and no matter how easy it is, the only way you will vote is if you yourself take the initiative to change the world for the better, the easiest way you know how.

Kathryn Magill is a freshman majoring in biology.

War motives are more than meets the eye

If I hear one more letter in response to an anti-war letter asking that person to leave the country, I might stop laughing. Ignorance is only funny for so long, then it becomes something to worry about.

Do you honestly believe that we are preparing to wage a war on Iraq simply because we believe Iraq to have weapons of mass destruction and that somehow we are suddenly in grave danger and must act?

Please don’t tell me a college student can be that stupid.If you do believe that, then I would wager to say that you don’t even know where Iraq is on the map, do you?

Do you know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil?

Do you support the powerful Russian military in their massacre and oppression of the defenseless Chechens or the Chechens in their fight for freedom?

Do you support Israel which, with the fourth most powerful military in the world, continues to illegally occupy and colonize?

Do you sympathize with poor Israel who has killed five times as many innocent Palestinians than the suicide bombers you hate so much?

When did this begin? When did we start becoming the oppressor’s best friend instead of the freedom-loving people we always thought we were?

Remember when we supported the Afghan freedom fighters (mujahideen) in their struggle against the Russians who wanted to take their land? No matter what our motives may have been at that time, that was something to be proud of, and we were. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) even fought on the side of the mujahideen as we cheered him on.

So, what happened? When did evil become good and good become evil?

Was it them who switched sides, or was it us?

To put it bluntly, at some point we became fat, greedy and self-absorbed.

Why did we watch and barely care as hundreds of thousands of people were killed in Bosnia?

Why it is that 2.3 million people died in the five provinces of the eastern Congo between 1998 and 2000, and we did nothing?

Now ask yourself, why we were all so hyped up and dashed to the defense of Kuwait in 1991?

We’re used to our lifestyles of excess. We know others have to suffer for us to maintain that excess but we’re too attached to our fat guts and fat cars, so we turn a blind eye.

I’m not going to spell it out for you, but it’s just a thought for those of you who still care to think.

Go back to sleep or to your soaps. You’ll probably get your war, so don’t worry. You’ll get your oil too, but I guess that’s just a bonus.

Be assured that we will not be unaffected at home by our destruction and oppression abroad.

Isam Sweilem is a USF graduate.

U.S. presence needed in Middle East

I find Anthony Schmidt’s recent letter to be misleading. Mr. Schmidt fails to realize that blood was already spilled by those killed during the Sept. 11 attacks. His calling of Sept. 11 “a push for U.S. imperialism” is appalling. His claims that the United States has destroyed many countries are invalid. Other than in self-defense, the United States has never destroyed another country.

Mr. Schmidt is just using exaggeration to shock the reader and doesn’t realize that his statement is far from the truth. One of the countries he mentions is Afghanistan. Through United States involvement, the people of Afghanistan no longer have to live under the ruthless ruling of the Taliban.

Mr. Schmidt constantly reminds us of the U.S. issue on Iraq. His claim that the United States has been trying to control Iraq for 12 years is ludicrous. For 12 years, U.N. inspectors have tried to prevent Hussein from producing weapons of mass destruction. All of those 12 years were a downright failure.

Hussein must be stopped at all costs. Enough is enough. We must stop the terrorism. The attacks of Sept. 11 were just a wake-up call. No one can imagine the destruction that is to come. It is time to take action. The United States must protect its people even if the cost is war. That is a sacrifice we must make. Blood will be spilled, that is, the blood of the terrorists.

Vicken Mouradian is a junior majoring in management information systems.