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Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Frog Fountain
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Separate identity
Voters should make informed decisions

COMMENTARY
Daniel Ward

College is said to be a time for experimentation and self-discovery, to strike out on one’s own — form your own identity and opinions. It’s a time to break the habit of making choices based on what our parents think or what is most popular with our friends.

This new year, we find ourselves bombarded with choices; choices that can and will influence our future: Who to vote for in the upcoming presidential election.

While I do not endorse any one candidate, I do urge you to follow the news, upcoming debates, find out the positions and platforms of the candidates. We should make smart, well-thought and educated decisions based on what is important to us — not our parents and friends.

It’s time to stand up and voice our own opinions — make a better America and world for ourselves. We are embarking into a new world — one where mom and dad won’t always be available to fix our mistakes. The way for us to do this is with our votes.

We have the chance this year to fix the position we now find ourselves in.

President Bush has tarnished our country’s image. He has eroded the good will and sympathy other nations showed after Sept. 11. He has made us look like spoiled brats that don’t care about anyone or anything but ourselves.

We should be a part of the global community instead of apart from it.

We are in a war that is taking, on average, more than one American life a day as well as billions of tax dollars. And we are essentially going it alone.

Without leadership that will bring in allies and the United Nations, it may only be a matter of time until the draft is reinstituted. That means you, your brother, boyfriend or someone dear to you could be shipped out to Iraq — simply because of the lack of a foreign policy that makes any kind of sense.

We need a leader that doesn’t bully anyone or get personally insulted by opinions expressed by allies.

Bush has turned government surpluses into an ever-growing national deficit, a debt that we will have to pay off. He wants to drill for oil in national parks instead of leading us to develop new clean and renewable energy sources. Bush and Cheney have no desire to end our dependence on foreign oil — they are unashamed bedfellows of the oil industry.

Developing new sources of energy means the creation of new sources for jobs — something our current “recovery” has yet to do. Bush is ensuring that we will be no better off tomorrow than we are today.
I urge all of my fellow students to get involved, educate themselves and learn what makes the most sense to them instead of blindly following another’s lead. Hook up with on-campus political clubs and groups to discuss issues, find those who share your views, get out and urge others to vote, share your opinions and take time to hear those of others.

We need to ask ourselves if continuing the leadership of the current administration means prosperity for us in the short term and years from now. Will four more years of ‘Dubya’ be in our best interests?

Daniel Ward is a senior history major from Fort Worth.