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Letters to the Editor

Stereotyping by student body President Chhadva

Most anywhere you go on campus, you will find outstanding student leadership. However, I was extremely disappointed at a recent encounter with the one person I think should most exemplify leadership abilities: our student body President Bijal Chhadva.

To me, being student body president means that you are a 24/7, 100 percent, full-time representative of the students.

Last night a friend and I were enjoying dinner at Andros Dining Hall and were approached by a student soliciting votes for Homecoming king. I was impressed when he introduced himself as Bijal Chhadva. Chhadva was very friendly and talkative until he asked us where we lived. I informed Chhadva that my friend and I take residence in Theta Hall, the Leadership House. Our residence hall’s focus is the study of servant leadership and its application to our lives. To my surprise, Chhadva quickly barked, “Oh, I hate the Leadership House.” Trying to conceal my astonishment, I asked him why. He answered, “Because someone that lives there ran against me last year and nobody there voted for me.”

I am very disappointed that someone with this lack of maturity is representing me this when I didn’t even have a vote in the elections last year. As I relayed the incident to my fellow housemates, half of whom are freshmen, I discovered they share the same sentiments as myself. Not only am I embarrassed that someone of such influence would negatively stereotype such an awesome program, but I am also personally outraged that he would say something like that to an impressionable freshman that might otherwise be interested in our program. I wish I had been around last year to vote, but I guarantee it would not have been for Bijal.

Lindsey Herrup is a freshman majoring in political science.

Baseless accusations against Kerry lack facts

Reading the title “‘F’ Stands for Fraud,” I thought I was actually going to read something with some substance. Instead, Raymond’s column is filled with baseless opinions and accusations.

The first sentence of the column “It is safe to say that Sen. John F. Kerry has finally shown his true colors.” implies that at some point there is going to be some discussion of something new he has done or said. Raymond doesn’t even mention a single instance of Kerry flip-flopping, something that should be easy to do.

In discussing the debate, Raymond describes President Bush as straightforward and simple while painting Kerry as arrogant, naïve and ineffectual.

I do agree that Bush is simple and straightforward. Bush “leads” with blinders on and continues to move forward toward the abyss. Simplicity should not be considered a virtue when describing the president of the United States of America. Assuming that there are simple answers to everything might be good for the purposes of pandering to the ignorance of the masses, but it is certainly ineffectual in actual policy making.

Raymond says that Kerry made no progress at the Democratic National Convention despite the hype that it would largely boost the Democrat’s numbers in the polls, which is true for the most part. This wouldn’t be interesting except that he compares Kerry’s lack of success with Bush’s mistakes in Iraq, which is ironically the first factual piece of material in his abundance of fluff.

Despite the aforementioned proof that Raymond does know how to recite factual information, he still spends the next three paragraphs calling Kerry arrogant because Kerry guessed that no one in the audience had an annual income over $200,000. Calling someone middle class isn’t an insult and neither is making a guess about their income based on statistics.

Raymond uses this as proof that Kerry is out of touch with the American public. To say that Kerry is out of touch with the American people is like saying that Bush is out of touch with the American people. Of course they are.

Which is the lesser of two evils, the guy that knows he’s out of touch or the guy that believes he is in touch despite the overwhelming proof that not only is he out of touch with the people but also with the problems in Iraq, the economy, the deficit, and according to the latest Gallup polls, his approval rating and voter support?

Dean MacGregor is a senior majoring in international business and economics.

Kerry not naive,Bush too stubborn

In Erik Raymond’s column Tuesday, he wrote about the naiveté of Sen. John Kerry. It is actually supporters of President George W. Bush like Raymond, that are the naïve Americans.

We look at history so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes. Raymond admitted that mistakes have been made; yet he wants to keep the leadership that is responsible for those mistakes in office. Remember, the buck stops with the chief executive and his name is President Bush.

Paul Bremer, former administrator of Iraq, freely admitted last week that he needed more troops in Iraq, but was rebuffed by commanders on the ground. We have had two weapons inspectors, Dr. Kay and Dr. Duelfer, write that there have been no weapons in Iraq since 1991 and that Iraq poses no immediate threat.

No one in the president’s administration lost their job for this colossal failure. Bush’s mantra is to keep steady even if we’re wrong. This attitude reeks of arrogance and immaturity.

The CIA just released a report detailing how the war in Iraq will deteriorate into a civil war. The president and his administration lament that this report is wrong. Inability to accept criticism is not an attribute of great leaders.

It is naïve and arrogant to believe that we can make a country democratic. There are groups of people living in Iraq that, given a chance, would form their own respective sovereign nations.

The Shia have been oppressed for over a hundred years by the Sunni minority. By sheer numbers, a democracy ensures the Shia’s dominance over the Sunni for years to come. After years of oppression from the Sunni, we need to look to recent history in Serbia to tell us that the Shia will return the favor when given the chance.

After the Gulf of Tonkin incident, President Johnson gave a speech to Congress. In this speech he said, “The issue is the future of Southeast Asia as a whole. A threat to any nation in that region is a threat to all, and a threat to us.” Guess what? North Vietnam took South Vietnam and now this communist nation is our trading partner; all of this after dividing our country, spending billions, and loosing over 57,000 brave American souls.

There is a time when men must admit their mistakes and look to others for tutelage. Senator Kerry is that guidance.

Michael Scholl is a senior majoring in chemical engineering.

Presidential election not a popularity contest

I really hope that Erik Raymond’s column was an experiment in propaganda.

I believe in balanced reporting and I understand the column was in the Opinion section, but could you please publish something with a little more substance?

I completely support dialogue and debate between parties, but if all you’re going to do is write “Kerry is a cocky jerk, vote Bush,” you’re pandering to the lowest form of argument and sensationalism.

I am all for criticism of Kerry on politics, but this is a drive to the right to reduce the argument to “would I go fishing with this guy?” They are not running for prom king. They are running for the most important position in government, not your buddy.

I pick my friends for their personality. I pick my presidents based on their refinement in politics, knowledge and their diplomacy. I want the most intelligent person; the most refined person.

By all means write a column and state your opinion, but please at least make the argument cerebral. This is college, after all.

Jason Smith is a senior majoring in anthropology.

Bush detrimental to international relations

Erik Raymond’s ramblings in Tuesday’s column should be confined to his journal. My take on college kids who vote Republican is they listen to their mom and dad, who are already established financially, and don’t bother to research the issues on their own.

Anyone who receives student loans, lives independently and votes Republican is voting against their own livelihood.

There is a simple rule to follow in this election: If you make less than $100,000 per year, or travel outside of the United States frequently, do your best to get the shrub out of the White House.

I have no respect for warmongers or so-called leaders who oust dictators based on family vengeance rather than nuclear weapons possession. Lies, corruption, holy wars and confusion, you have to sort it out for yourself. For those of us doing international work, Bush has made it more dangerous abroad. For those of us in college or graduate school whose parents or family do not or cannot support us, voting Republican is like shooting yourself in the foot with a recently re-legalized Tek-9 — soon for sale at a Wal-Mart in a low-resource community near you.

Christian Reed is recruiter for the Peace Corps at USF.