By Emily Overholt, Campus Editor
Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore shares his views on the 2012 Massachusetts election. All views expressed in this interview are that of an individual, not the thoughts of Boston University as a whole.
Daily Free Press: Did you vote in this election?
Kenneth Elmore: I did vote in this election.
DFP: Are you willing to share who you voted for?
KE: For me, voting for president while being a resident of Massachusetts is more about some sort of expressive conduct and being able to say, “This is how I handle the freedom that we have to vote,” than saying, “This is who I vote for.”
I just don’t think the way that you vote in [Massachusetts] for president really matters. So, I did vote. I did in an expressive way to show democracy that I’m here whether democracy pays attention to it. So, I almost think that it doesn’t matter who I voted for in Massachusetts, so I’m not going to tell you.
DFP: Did you follow the Senate race?
KE: I must admit I thought that Scott Brown would pull it off again. I also thought that there would have been a closer margin than what I think the margin ended up being for the two of them.
Scott Brown is an interesting guy who I think tends to come off as the right kind of representative for Massachusetts. I know he’s in the Republican Party, and people say, “Eh, a rep in Massachusetts means something different.” I think he was that different kind of republican in Massachusetts. I think he represented Massachusetts well, and I think Elizabeth Warren will also represent Massachusetts well.
It’s funny you’ve got these two people who I think in different ways really represent Massachusetts quite well in terms of their personalities. I think Elizabeth Warren comes at it with sort of that consumer advocate kind of approach that Massachusetts is about—the Massachusetts that’s about high ideas and pushing them forward and having that international impact. And Scott Brown, I think, is that guy who comes across as more on the ground, more specific, more a neighborhood kind of guy. The guy from around the way who’s done really well to represent us, too.
So, very different points of view I think the people in Massachusetts, me included, had some wonderful choices to make between the two of them.
DFP: What about the ballot questions?
KE: Here’s what I love about the ballot questions. I love that we actually run a plebiscite in Massachusetts in that if you get enough people real democracy happens. That’s what’s great—real democracy. You can get some questions out there.
One dealt with the ability for people who fix your car to share data, which I think is an important thing, I think I joined the 85 percent of people who said,“Sure,” especially since there’s a law I think that already exists about it. So it’s great not to have that confusion.
I have two younger children. I have a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old, and I had some great conversations about this with my 13-year-old daughter because she was advising me about how to vote. We had a great conversation about legally assisted suicide… She recommended that I vote for that, that I vote yes on that, because my daughter said, “Look I think that people need to be able to control that portion of their lives.” She was willing to put on the line the notion that maybe a doctor could be off a little bit here or there but if a person needs to control that, given the news that they get and working with a doctor, we need to do that.
I did vote for it. I think that I agree with my daughter that I would like to control these sorts of things, but I try to think more of the positive approach…
I think there’s something about personal autonomy that we’ve really got to look at. The ability for an individual to choose the time of their death when it is so imminent like that… I’m real conflicted about it because I’ve had plenty of lessons in my life that [suicide] is just blatantly wrong. But in the broader picture I think that I prefer to give people the ability to make some choices around that.
In terms of the marijuana, my daughter had less of an interest about this. But she also recommended that for medicinal purposes, we should allow people to be prescribed marijuana and to be able to use marijuana. I’m one of those people who thinks that the state has started to do so much to treat marijuana as less of a large scale criminal type of offense. This probably goes right in line with the overall look at it.
The hard part is there are still these conflicts that the feds still see pot differently, and there is a conflict too in that there still is a drug trade in pot. And with any underground drug trade, it’s dangerous. People still kill each other over large quantities of pot. People still rob each other over large quantities of pot.
Even though I think the society takes less of a criminalized view of pot, weed or whatever you want to call it, it’s more culture. It’s more pop culture, if you will. I think most people are starting to be relatively indifferent about people smoking dope.
However, it’s still illegal. I’m one of these people who thinks if we can do this under the guidance and supervision of a doctor, then we should allow people to do that. And society still needs to have a real important conversation about drug use in society and what we’re willing to tolerate.
So, I voted yes on that, too.
By Saba Hamedy, Staff Writer
On Election Day in the year 2000, my fourth grade teacher gave my class copies of a blank United States map. Our homework was to color in each state blue or red, based off the Electoral College tally as it was projected. Naturally, my 10-year-old self didn’t quite understand what the Electoral College was, let alone the significance of an election. My first reaction was frustration over the fact that I’d probably have to miss an episode of “Hey Arnold!” that night. But alas, my inner perfectionist was ready to get an “O” for outstanding (I went to a liberal elementary school) on my assignment.
So, that night, I sat with my parents in front of the television and slaved away at my coloring — state by state, hour by hour. When the clock struck 9 p.m., I was ready to go to bed. With all my states colored in, I could go to sleep in peace knowing I finished my assignment. But as I was leaving, the reporter said, “This just in: Florida now a red state.”
I blinked twice, shocked. I was livid. I had already colored in Florida blue with marker! I couldn’t erase it.
“My teacher is going to mark me down!” I wailed, both frustrated and confused.
“No, no it’s okay, we’ll just white it out,” my mom calmly responded.
I watched her slowly trace over the then-blue state with a milky white pen. Now Florida was red, with a slight blue tint. I still wasn’t satisfied but figured it was the best I could do. Finally I could go to sleep.
But just as I was getting up, the reporter repeated, “This just in: Florida is a blue state… again.”
I decided to go to sleep anyway, with the state colored red. I was too tired to re-white out Florida, and I secretly hoped my classmates had kept it red too. The next day, I found not only did my entire class have it red also, but that this mysterious red-blue state of Florida was a toss-up, making the 2000 election one of the most controversial ones in U.S. history. Reporters said it would take months to figure out if the state was blue or red. The president elect was still undecided.
That was my first experience with politics, but certainly not my last. As the years went on, my knowledge of politics increased but my interest stayed the same. Although the next election took place in eighth grade, all I really remember is that after George Bush won, my very-liberal English teacher (who dressed up as a “blue state” for Halloween, I kid you not) muttered “F—k!” under her breath and let us have free time during class.
Then of course came the 2008 election. In high school, voting became cool and those non-18-year-olds (aka me) were frustrated I couldn’t take part in the “vote or die” trend. But I don’t think the Election Day effect ever really hit me. Until today.
Today, Nov. 6, 2012, I lost my voting virginity and sent in my ballot. No more confusion over the Electoral College. No more coloring in red or blue. In fact, now, as a political science and journalism double major, I have become the ultimate political news junkie. This time around, I know more is at stake than just an “Outstanding” on my homework assignment. So tonight, I will sit glued to the television, anxiously watch Wolf Blitzer point out states on CNN’s interactive map and either cry tears of joy or sorrow. Maybe I’ll print out a blank map of the United States and color, just for fun.
Happy Election Day!
By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
Let’s focus on something a little less formal and a little more fun that has to do with this election season: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s Tumblr accounts. These gems (really, gems) reveal a bit about their campaigning styles outside of mainstream media.
Scrolling through President Barack Obama’s campaign Tumblr is like browsing through your favorite website on a quiet afternoon of not doing homework. It’s entertaining and easygoing, yet still maintains focus on politics and campaigning. His page will convince you to become addicted to clicking through the continuous stream of well-placed Instagram pictures and humorous videos.
One of the popular videos posted on Obama’s Tumblr is a message from Will Ferrell to you! The voters! Chock full of Will Ferrell’s humor, this video aims to encourage citizens to vote.
Props, Obama. Hilarious, engaging, down-to-earth. Some could describe it as a little desperate but, hey. It’s Will Ferrell. It works.
Other posts are aimed at younger voters.
It seems that Obama’s Tumblr relies on humor more than anything else. Effective? You decide. His campaign also posted an appealing picture of the popular band OK Go. The colors are vibrant and the photo itself is unique and eye-catching, which draws you in to then read that the lead singer of OK Go wrote a Rolling Stone article advocating Obama’s reelection.
Once again, clever play on the part of Obama’s people. Just like the Will Ferrell video, this little Tumblr blurb draws you in and then tries to sway you in Obama’s direction with fame.
In addition to the celebrities and logos, the blog site also has plenty of pictures and comments from Obama supporters around the country. If it were a battle of how many supporter pictures are up, however, presidential candidate Mitt Romney would win.
The page is colorful, heavily-instagram’d and attention-grabbing. Romney’s campaign seems to choose a more direct advertising route than Obama’s. Instead of working in famous figures and delivering a subtle message, Romney plays up special moments and uses his fan base to speak for itself. It is still, however, just as interesting to scroll down.
There are a couple of messages to Romney supporters, including a picture of three women supporters.
My favorite Romney post is a more recent one. It touches a funny bone while still maintaining seriousness and a sense of authority.
It subtly compares changing the president to changing the clock: it’s necessary and unquestionably done consistently. Crafty.
Although each president’s Tumblr uses its own style and flare in campaigning over the web, you have to give both props for adapting to the virtual world. Check out their Tumblr accounts in full for yourself, and decide which one captures your heart!
By Heather Goldin, Staff Writer
With the election just around the corner, you can’t forget that there are other names on the ballot, including U.S. Senate candidates and district representatives. If you are registered to vote in Massachusetts, then on the ballot you will find candidates Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. After the three widely viewed presidential debates, we should all have a pretty good idea of which name we are marking on the ballot for the president. But what about the senate representatives? If you didn’t pay attention in history class, senators are responsible for representing their respective states. For six years, the elected representatives speak for the people they represent and decide whether they are for or against newly proposed laws. So, who is the right representative for the job? Here’s the lowdown on each candidate to help you figure out which candidates’ bubble you’ll fill in on voting day.
- Curriculum should be set by local boards rather than nationally
- Supports the “No Child Left Behind” program
- Wants to repeal Obamacare
- Believes that states should be able to create health care reform that works for them without raising taxes or cutting off senior care
- Wants to reduce the burden of small businesses
- For hiring returning war veterans to decrease unemployment rate
- Wants to fund start-up companies
On Energy and the Environment:
- Supports policies that will help reduce pollution
- Supports development of alternative energy sources to reduce dependence on foreign oil
- Wants to strengthen border enforcement and institute an employment verification system with consequences for hiring illegal immigrants
- Against driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants
On Women’s Issues:
- Supports abortion but is against taxpayers having to fund it
- Supports funding Planned Parenthood
- Against human trafficking
- Wants to keep taxes low
- Wants to invest more in public colleges and universities
- Supports advanced technical training programs
- Wants to strengthen grant programs
- Stands with Obamacare, but wants to reduce the cost of health care
- Wants to increase jobs in small businesses and simplify small business regulations
- Supports workers unions
On Energy and the Environment:
- Wants to invest in clean energy technology to eventually lower production costs for businesses
- Believes there should be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that requires them to pay taxes
- Supports existing laws with protecting borders and laws against hiring illegal immigrants
On Women’s Issues:
- Supports equal pay
- Wants to protect the current health care plan, which will in turn protect maternity care and safe abortion services
- Believes in a tax reform to help small businesses
By Hilary Ribons, Staff Writer
Voting day is fast approaching! And for all of you who are registered Massachusetts voters, there are some issues that will be on the ballot that are sure to catch your attention.
Now, what’s more interesting than something controversial?
The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, or Question 3, will be appearing on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot. Some states, including (and perhaps most infamously) California, have already legalized the medical use of marijuana with disputed results. Many young people advocate not just for its medicalization, but its legalization. But, as I found when I asked a few Boston University students about their take on the ballot question, there are also many who don’t think medicalizing marijuana would be positive.
For those of you who don’t like doing political research and just want the plain and simple facts, here they are:
- Voting in favor of the question will support enacting a proposed law that decriminalizes the medical use of marijuana in Massachusetts. Patients with specific conditions would be able to receive marijuana from government-regulated state centers. In some specific cases, patients would be able to grow marijuana for their own use.
- Voting against the question will have no effect on existing laws.
Below, your peers discuss:
Speakers in order of appearance:
Justine St. Louis, Travis Dane, Victor Cafaro, Kunal Kaistha and Victor Weiss
By Hilary Ribons, Staff Writer
It’s almost election time. And with a few televised political debates under our belts, it’s time to start considering who we are going to vote for.
Though it’s truly entertaining to watch two politicians verbally duke it out, I was left at the end of the debates still seriously wondering what each candidate’s stance was on some key issues.
Even after watching the debate, it’s easy to be confused as to where both presidential candidates really stand. In an effort to fully understand the candidates, I looked up their stances on some key issues and put them side by side for an easy comparison. Most of the information below was pulled from their websites, which are obviously not objective, but still state their stances. The information that I got was my understanding of each candidate’s stance, and hopefully will help you on your way to looking over the policies that the candidates are endorsing.
Remember, we are voting into office the president who will be making decisions that shape the same country that we’re graduating into soon. Hopefully my preliminary research, complete with a few websites I found helpful, will inspire you to vote as a truly informed citizen.
|- Placed a cap on federal student loan repayments at 10 percent of income
- Offer incentives to keep qualified, successful teachers in the classroom
- Allow the states to create their own plans for education reform, instead of abiding by No Child Left Behind
- Offer incentives to public schools by rewarding innovation and reform
- Reformed/expanded post-Sept. 11 G.I. Bill to include more G.I.’s eligible for education benefits.
|- Allow low income and special needs students to decide what school they would like to attend
- Provide incentives for states to increase choices and alternatives for parents
- Make charter and digital schools more effective
- Make report cards public as part of an effort to improve “No Child Left Behind”
- Offer teachers incentives through greater job flexibility and rewards and through cutting down on certification requirements.
- Strengthen and simplify Financial Aid System
|- Double fuel efficiency standards
- Increase natural gas production within the United States
- Open more land for development
- Increase oil production, increase safety measures
- Increase wind and solar energy
- Invest government money in researching clean coal technology
|- Put control of energy within state lines (excluding those that are off-limits by law) into the hands of state government
- Open offshore areas within the United States for energy development and set minimum production targets for these areas
- Pursue a North American Energy partnership with Canada and Mexico
- Attempt to slightly strengthen environmental laws and regulations and “streamline” limitations on “red tape,” or oppositions, surrounding new developments
- Put money into private-sector research and development of new energy technologies
|- Affordable Care Act:
- Prevents insurance companies from putting a cap on coverage, or dropping coverage when you become sick
- Provides those with Medicare free preventative services and lower costs on prescription drugs and monthly premiums
- Stop health insurance companies from charging women more than men for their coverage
|- Putting states in charge of medical insurance and caring for the poor, uninsured and chronically ill
- Promote competition in the healthcare system.
- Cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
- Allow individuals/small businesses to form purchasing pools
- Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage
- Facilitate IT interoperability
- Allowing people to choose what kind of healthcare plan they want, giving them options and information
|- Those who make more than $1 million a year will pay an equal or higher percentage of their income in taxes than middle- and lower-class citizens
- No plans to cut taxes: money will go to education, manufacturing, infrastructure
- Plans cut discretionary spending
- A plan of spending cuts and revenue increases over the next decade to reduce the national deficit of $4 trillion
|- Twenty percent cut in individual taxes for everyone
- Current tax rates on interest, dividends and capital gains stay the same
- Eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for those who make below $200,000 a year
- Eliminate the Death Tax
- Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
- For corporate taxes: cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, strengthen and make permanent R&D tax credit, switch to territorial tax system, repeal the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax
|- In short, Obama plans to cut unemployment through
- Looks to revive manufacturing
- Looks to eliminate tax breaks for companies that outsource their jobs overseas, create incentives to bring business back to America
- Looks to implement Wall Street reform, keeping Americans from paying to bail out large banks
|- In short, Romney plans to cut unemployment
- Supports free enterprise, hard work, innovation
- Looks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs
- Looks to increase trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility
|- In support
|- Against it
|- Focus on ending wars and building national economy through more investments in industry
|- Put money into improving the military
- Maintain a presence in the Middle East
|- In his first term, Obama upped deportations of undocumented immigrants
- Upped border patrols
- Passed DREAM act, which grants a path to citizenship of children of undocumented immigrants who attended college or served in the military. In 2012, he announced that the Department of Homeland Security would no longer seek to deport young illegal immigrants if they were brought to the U.S. by their parents before 16, and are currently under the age of thirty.
- Focuses on the deportation of criminals
- Proposes plans of a “start-up visa” that allows foreign investors to open businesses in the U.S.
- Backs AgJobs Act, which allows farms to legally hire foreign workers
- Supports reform of H1B visas, vaguely
- Supports path to legalization for estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants already in the country
|- Unclear on stance about the deportation of minors
- Does not agree with granting amnesty– wants to keep and enforce legal pathway to citizenship
- Permanent immigration reform by offering those who serve in the military the opportunity to become legal and permanent residents
|- Does not believe abortion should be covered by Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan except in cases of incest, rape or where the life of the woman would be endangered
- Supports the decision of Roe v. Wade
- Disagrees with parental notification
- Supports Planned Parenthood
|- Looks to overturn Roe v. Wade, giving power to chose legality of abortion back to individual states
- Supports Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood
By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
With the presidential election fewer than two weeks away, many Americans are finalizing their ballot selections. Some are watching playback of the highly publicized debates between Obama and Romney. Others are evaluating the candidates’ stances on important issues. The media and the majority of the country have focused on Obama and Romney without acknowledging the third party candidates, and in particular, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
Jill Stein is a mother of two sons, a versatile physician, teacher of internal medicine and an enthused health advocate. She was born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park, Ill. She studied anthropology, sociology and psychology at Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude in 1973. She is also a graduate of Harvard’s Medical School. Jill Stein began addressing her environmental concerns in 1998 when she discovered that American politicians were not seeking to protect children from the environment’s harmful toxic wastes. In 2000, she co-wrote In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, which was a popular report promoting environmentally friendly economies, sustainable agriculture and protection from toxic threats. In 2002, activists in the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow party asked Stein to run for Governor of Massachusetts. She accepted the request and inserted herself into the political world. In the Massachusetts election, she placed third out of five candidates and lost to Mitt Romney who she described as a “jobs killer.”
As the Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein frequently promotes “A Green New Deal for America,” in which she would create 25 million jobs by introducing green projects across the nation. She believes that the creation of these jobs would end mass employment Her goal is to not only create more jobs but to create “new jobs.” These jobs would revolve around public work programs and community businesses.
In a USA Today interview following the first debate between Obama and Romney, Stein attacked the respective campaigns of her two competitors. First she addressed the Republican candidate.
“I ran against, and debated, Mitt Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts election for governor,” she said. “Romney was a jobs killer then, and he still is today. He makes money off of destroying jobs and driving down workers wages. He wants to do to America what he did at Bain Capital, ‘harvesting profits’ in his words by sucking the value out of what we, the people, have built.”
Then she evaluated Obama’s work over the previous term.
“As for President Obama, for the past four years he has played it safe,” he said. “Safe for himself, that is, but not safe for the rest of us. Instead of fighting for areal economic stimulus the kind of massive investment in our economy I am fighting for with the Green New Deal—this president bailed out Wall Street. Meanwhile, he has allowed youth unemployment to hit 25 percent, and student debt to skyrocket. I think it’s time we bailed out the working students, not the rich bankers, don’t you?”
Stein believes that in order for the United States to overcome economic instability, the American economy needs to shed its traditional doctrines and incorporate “green” values. Jill Stein envisions the ignition of a green economy if she were elected president of the United States.
These are the straight facts. Still, people call her “crazy,” and fail to take her seriously. I wonder what the likelihood of a third party candidate winning this election would be.