UCSD Guardian Endorsement Issue 2004- John Kerry for President

    When President George W. Bush took office in 2000 — albeit under still-contested circumstances and with less than half of the popular vote — Republicans rejoiced and Democrats turned their collective wrath on “spoiler” Ralph Nader. Few from either party could have predicted, however, how Bush would turn this narrowest of victories into a mandate for the most polarizing, regressive and socially conservative presidency in decades.

    While the 2000 race was marked by similarities between the Republican and Democratic contenders, no ambiguity exists this year; Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) is the clear choice for president and the only candidate with the vision and leadership capacity to put the country back on track economically, socially, and perhaps most importantly, internationally.

    Given the travails of the last four years — tax breaks to the wealthy even as jobs are lost and government spending increases; rollbacks in environmental regulation and civil liberties; a costly, poorly planned or intentionally deceptive war — the “anyone but Bush” mantra is extremely appealing. However, Democrats should be credited for selecting John Kerry, who has demonstrated strength, intelligence and heartfelt concern for education, health care and economic justice over the course of his campaign, all the while weathering baseless and simplistic attacks by the Bush political machine.

    Kerry clearly recognizes the obvious faults in the current administration’s policies. While parallels of Iraq to Vietnam are exaggerated, he realizes that the administration must be honest with the American people, particularly during a time when Americans are dying abroad daily. He understands that there is much more to the terrorist threat than what Bush absurdly terms the “hatred of freedom,” and that addressing this global threat requires global initiative. He appreciates that the United States must strive to improve the quality of life for its own citizens — through accessible health care, equal-opportunity education, the creation of jobs and the protection of the environment (based on widely accepted, scientifically backed information) — especially when it strives to do the same abroad.

    The prevailing distrust of and lack of respect for Bush among the collegiate community is no mere coincidence. The college-aged generation has an incredible stake in this election, evidenced by increased voter registration among 18- to 24-year-olds. Our peers are the ones most likely to be killed in Iraq, it is our education that suffers from the growing debt and reluctance to increase Pell grants, and it is we who will be left with the bill if spending and tax rates are not rectified.

    No recent president has earned the wholesale disrespect of liberals that Bush has — not simply because of his policies but because of his administration’s arrogant, “God-given” take on the presidency and the role of the United States in dictating the course of the world. This attitude, combined with the administration’s suspicious proximity to big business, has extended the lack of faith in the presidency outside the expected channels of liberal thought. Without the national security trump card that Bush has been eager to play, Kerry would have no trouble winning the election.

    This is not to say that Kerry is the perfect candidate; his pledge not to raise taxes for families earning less than $200,000 a year may be premature, his unwillingness to back gay marriage is disturbing, and he could certainly do a better job to mobilize the “average Americans” he claims to represent than simply staging hunting trips and gracing the cover of Rolling Stone.

    There is much truth, however, to his assertion that this election is uniquely important for the future of the nation and the world — this, above all, is the best reason to vote for Kerry. Given Bush’s first-term agenda, it is frightening to think what type of mandate the administration might assume with re-election, especially with civil rights debates continuing, Supreme Court positions potentially opening and more global conflict on the horizon. The United States needs John Kerry.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal