ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY Informing the campus and community since 1921 O N
Volume 92, Issue 19
Thursday, November 1, 2012
The Political Issue
A voter’s guide to getting through this campaign Same-sex marriage
$4 trillion in 12 years plan
Five point plan
Second amendment rights, but not war weapons on streets
No new legislation for gun laws
Five point plan for 12 million new jobs
Bring overseas jobs back to U.S.
Virgin voters Information provided by: OnTheIssues.Org
Students prepare for first time in ballot booth Story by: Daniel McFaddin
College is a time of many firsts, and voting for the President of the United States is one of those. Because the legal voting age is 18, many current ASU students have not had the chance to vote in a presidential election. According to the Pew Research Center, in the 2008 election that sent Barack Obama to the Oval Office, 18 percent of voters were between the ages of 18 and 29. Dedric Jones, a senior biology major of Marianna, is one student who will be filling out his first ballot this year. “I live in a place where roughly 80 percent of the town is below the poverty line, so a candidate who tries to help those with less influences who I decided to vote for,” Jones said. For Jones, the one candidate who has displayed this quality the most is incumbent Barack Obama. However, Jones considers him-
self as more of a moderate than a Democrat. While Jones will be making the nearly 80-mile drive back to Marianna to place his vote, he doesn’t have much confidence in how Arkansas is represented in final tally for the president. “Instead of every vote counting per person, Arkansas only has (six) electoral votes, and since we choose to put all of our electorals in one vote, whoever gets the popular vote, they get the (six) delegates from us,” Jones explained. Jones, who comes from a very politically minded family, said that should keep young voters at home on Election Day. “If you vote and then things are bad, you can complain,” said Jones. “If you don’t vote and things are bad, you can’t complain because you didn’t attempt to change things.” Another first time voter is Jo-
seph Anderson, a junior radio-TV major who will be his voting in his hometown of Jacksonville, 116 miles from ASU. “I think there’s a lot of pressure in that, it might just be one vote, but it does feel like it’s going to make a difference somewhere,” Anderson said. “It might not seem all that important, but if no one votes, it’s obviously not going to make a difference.” The biggest factor in Anderson’s vote is the consistency of the candidates on policies. Anderson, who doesn’t think his parents are even registered to vote, is weary of the many different viewpoints that have been flying around during this campaign season. “I think there’s a lot of strange opinions that people have that aren’t really based in much,” Anderson said. “There’s not a lot of people who have done their research and actually thought about
it. A lot of people just take what the media spins off it and take that as fact.” The common theme of student answers to why college students may not be taking advantage of their first opportunity to vote was the similarities between Obama and Romney. “I feel like a lot of people feel like it’s picking the lesser of two evils so why pick one at all,” Anderson said. This was echoed by Lauren Barrett, a sophomore interdisciplinary studies major of Harrisburg. “I don’t really like the two opponents who are going up for president. I just don’t like how Obama runs America right now and I don’t think Mitt Romney is going to do very well,” Barrett said. Barrett said she has not made up her mind yet on who she will support on Election Day, but that she will be placing her vote. What
matters the most to her in placing her first ballot is what the candidates will do concerning healthcare. “I’m not a real big politics person, but my grandma is really sick and I would really like to get her good healthcare,” she said. “I know that they’re not really willing to pay for things that she needs.” However, if there’s any question as to if a college student’s first vote has any bearing on them and future college students, Jones says members of his age demographic need to remember how they’re paying for their education. “Right now, too much doesn’t affect them, that they know of. If they look into policies, student loans are a big priority for candidates this election season,” Jones said. “There are candidates out there who are willing to lower them, but they can’t if you don’t vote for them.”
THURSDAY, NOV. 1, 2012
Joint effort Story by: Lindsey Blakely
An ASU student shares his story of getting medical marijuana on the Arkansas ballot The legalization of marijuana has made it onto the Arkansas ballot after years of heated debate. Now known by the signs reading “Vote Yes on Issue 5,” the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act has been placed on state ballots for the 2012 Election. The Act is a comprehensive blueprint for establishing and regulating a medical marijuana program in Arkansas, run by the Arkansas Department of Health. While several Arkansas citizens are still torn on the issue, it wouldn’t have made it on the ballot without the advocacy of several men and women across the state. One strong advocate of medical marijuana, Jacob Holloway of Jonesboro, a Green Party candidate for the 1st Congressional District, is a graduate student at ASU and has been wanting for the legalization of the drug for years. “It really all started when I was a senator and undergraduate at the University of Arkansas,” Holloway said. “I met Ryan Denham when I was approached and asked to sponsor a piece of legislation that would lower penalties for marijuana on campus and make them equal with alcohol violations.” At the time in 2008, Holloway said he hadn’t really given much thought to drug policy reform. “Denham was just coming off of a win in making marijuana a lower priority in Eureka Springs and wanted to do the same thing in the city of Fayetteville,” Holloway said. “He wanted to make misdemeanor amounts of marijuana at the lowest priority.” Holloway said this was the first sight into what would become the Compassionate Care Campaign. The Compassionate Care Campaign is a group of Arkansans dedicated to getting medical marijuana legalized in Arkansas, as it is in 17 other states and the District of Columbia. Holloway has been on the forefront of this campaign. “When Fayetteville passed their lower priority resolution in 2008, it kind of woke everyone up,” Holloway said. “When Denham came off of that win, he said ‘I want to do a state campaign.’” After his experience with drug policy reform in Fayetteville, Holloway went on to intern in Washington D.C. with the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). “At the time, I was talking to people in D.C. and said we were going to fight for medical marijuana in Arkansas,” Holloway said. “Even then people were talking and knew that something like this was going to happen.” By 2010, Holloway said that everyone within the drug policy reform circle knew that Arkansas was going to do medical marijuana. “There was still a lot of hesitation in the group, because no one really thought Arkansas could even get it on the ballot,” Holloway said. Holloway attributed this anxiety to the attempt and failure to get medical marijuana on the ballot in 2000. “It was actually a pretty big fiasco,” Holloway said. “The Drug Policy Alliance was a group that had been formed previously, and they got a lot of volunteers, but ended up losing all of their funding.” Although this attempt happened several years before Holloway joined the movement for medical marijuana in Arkansas, he said it still affected him and his current efforts. “A lot of the national groups were kind of weary after that happened,” Holloway said. “They didn’t want to put
anymore money into Arkansas. They were listening, but they weren’t committed.” When Arizona passed the Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, Holloway said the group soon after went “all in.” “We got with a group of law students at the U of A, first year students, and put a draft together,” Holloway said. At this point, Holloway and his group had two years left to get the law drafted and get it by the secretary of state and attorney general’s office. Then they had to collect more than 65,000 ballot signatures, while also raising $100,000. “By the end of 2010, we still weren’t collecting any signatures until the summer of 2011,” Holloway said. “At that point in time, a lot of people thought it wouldn’t happen. A statewide ballot initiative, that wasn’t even fully funded, was shocking; most of them don’t even make it.” Holloway said for most of the campaign, there wasn’t any money except for personal donations. Going into 2012, no one really thought this would even make the ballot, Holloway said. “That’s when we had a few successes where a couple of national donors came in and were really invested in seeing this make the ballot in Arkansas.” Holloway said the group didn’t have even half of the signatures they needed by March, when the deadline was in June. “That’s when the Marijuana Policy Project out of Washington D.C. finally said they wanted to do a southern state,” Holloway said. “We had been lobbying them for a long time because really they’re the only national group that you can get major funding from.” At that point, Holloway’s group told the Marijuana Policy Project they would match them $100,000 if the national group would support them. “Somehow in June we really thought we were going to be way behind,” Holloway said. “We were low, but we made it. We were 20,000 signatures behind, but turned in over 140,000 signatures by the end of the campaign.” Holloway said during the campaign most everyone working with the group were volunteers from other ballot initiatives. “They were genuinely interested in seeing this ballot initiative pass,” Holloway said. Once the initiative was passed and on the ballot, Holloway said he was ecstatic. However, there have been several opposition groups since then who are against the measure. Groups who openly oppose the initiative include the Family Council, the Arkansas Sheriff ’s Association, the Arkansas Pharmacists Association and the Arkansas Medical Association. “None of them saw this coming; none of them were prepared,” Holloway said. “The only thing we have in our favor is that they didn’t see this coming. Somehow we did it.” Holloway said since the initiative made the ballot, it would set the tone for social debates. “There are still going to be several people against it,” Holloway said. “So every single person who supports this needs to get out and vote.” Although Holloway encourages everyone
supporting the measure to get out and vote, several groups are encouraging the opposite. “A lot of groups have different reasons, and not all of them are the same,” Holloway said. “There’s a lot of profit in this. Marijuana is not illegal because it’s bad, because then alcohol and cigarettes would be illegal too. It’s illegal because there’s a lot of money behind this.” Holloway said if the ballot is passed, he will be ecstatic. “No matter what, this has changed Arkansas,” Holloway said. “But if it passes, nothing will ever be the same. For once, Arkansas will finally be a leader in a social debate that has been happening for a long time.” Holloway said he believes if Arkansas votes for medical marijuana, the rest of the nation will follow suit. “You’ll see massive amounts of drug policy reform across the nation,” Holloway said. “A lot of people worked so hard to see it passed. It will be a huge victory. It would be amazing for Arkansas, and for all of the states, to get this passed.” As far as the bill passing, Holloway said he believes it has a good chance. “We got thousands of people registered to vote simply for this issue,” Holloway said. “Even if we don’t, this isn’t the last ballot initiative. Now we know how to get it done. It will be a huge victory whether it passes or not.” Courtesy Photo
THURSDAY, NOV. 1, 2012
Localizing the election W
Story by: Michaela Kaberline
ith the election for local and presidential candidates right around the corner, the Democratic and Republican organizations on campus are stepping up their campaign tactics to get their favoring candidates in office. The Young Democrats organization is turning to social networks to spread the word about Democratic candidates. Cody Jackson, a freshman political science major of Swifton and president of the Young Democrats, said the organization also uses banners and signs to advertise for candidates. “We reached our 300th like on Facebook last week,” Jackson said. “As an organization, our priority has been to engage as many students as possible in the political process and the 2012 elections.” Jackson is president of Young Democrats. Similarly, the College Republicans use Facebook to promote events and candidates, but they also do door-todoor canvassing, phone banks, voter registration drives and participation in parades. Deanne Marks, a junior economic and pre-law major of Dewitt and president of the College Republicans group, said, “College Republicans are actively engaged in campaigns around Northeast Arkansas. Our slogan is ‘To Make a Difference.’ We feel on Nov. 7 we’ll be able to look back and say we made a difference.” With Arkansas not being a swing state, Jackson said young Democrats need to be more involved with this election because “the other side is trying to do everything possible to stand against everything we believe in.” Jackson said the Republicans are standing against more funding for Pell Grants, the student loan reform, equal pay for women, women’s rights, investments in the nation’s infrastructure and supporting ASU’s budget. “Rep. Jon Hubbard, R-Jonesboro, did not support ASU’s budget in the 2010 legislative session,” Jackson said. “We want to work to
defeat leaders like him in the future.” Although Young Democrats are pushing hard for their candidates, the College Republicans are focusing on the state legislative candidates. “Republicans are primed to take control of the state legislature for the first time in 138 years,” Marks said. “We plan to continue our efforts to reach voters with the conservative message.” Each organization has been hosting events for students throughout the semester in order to get students to be more involved with the election. Xinzhong Zhao | Staff Photographer Andrew Reno, a member of the ASU College ReThe Young Democrats group posts different publicans, answered the phones at the Republican meeting times on its Facebook page. They are also Headquarters in Jonesboro last week. hosting an election night watch party on Nov. 6 in the Black River Room in the Student Union. College Republicans host volunteer opportunities at the Republican headquarters on Southwest Drive to allow students to get involved with the local and presidential campaign. “As election day approaches, we will transition into a ‘Get Out the Vote’ operation,” Marks said. “We believe our message of fiscal responsibility is a winning message that is resonating with voters.” Students can find out more information about volunteer and candidate information within each party at the organizations’ Facebook pages. Young Democrats: facebook. com/ASUDems. College Alejandra Hernandez | Staff Photographer Last week in the Student Union, ASU Young Democrats club Republicans: facebook. members Jarvis Brodie and Emily Hill spoke with grad student John com/arkansasstatecolleger Yerger about the recent presidential debates. epublicans.
YAL encourages free thinking While the Arkansas State College Republicans and Young Democrats are busy campaigning for their respective parties in preparation for the November elections, one group on campus is advocating political activity that transcends partisanship. The Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), a coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians, is an organization that describes itself as a group of “students at ASU whose purpose is to recruit, train, educate, and mobilize students on the ideas of liberty and the Constitution.” YAL is a chapter of a national organization of the same name that began during the 2008 election season. After Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination came to a close, members of Students for Ron Paul formed YAL in an effort to consolidate Libertarian-minded students of various political parties under one banner. Libertarianism, first used as a political term by French poet Joseph Déjacque in 1857, is a philosophy advocating maximum freedom in personal and economic matters and the reduction of government authority.
“Young Americans for Liberty is a coalition of classically-liberal and traditionally-conservative students. The easiest way to describe our membership is ‘liberty-minded,’” said chapter president Bryant Moy, a junior political science major of Jacksonville. “(Our) goal is not contingent on any election; we are trying to spread an ideology.” Moy says he started the chapter last semester in an effort to get students a little more politically motivated and that YAL opposes the idea that students must be tied down to one party or the other. “(Not) all libertarians are a part of the Libertarian Party. There are libertarians elected as Republicans, and there are libertarians who vote Democrat,” Moy explained. Junior business management major Michael Sullivan of Doniphan, Mo., said Moy approached him about joining last semester. “He explained to me what YAL was and how we could spread the message of liberty to our fellow students,” Sullivan said. “The philosophy that YAL has really appealed to me – everything from knowing our rights as Americans to the freedoms and liberties that we have or should fight for each day.”
Story by: Zach Lott YAL has held two major events this semester: Operation Politically Homeless and a trivia event during Constitution Week. Operation Politically Homeless was a recruitment drive during which YAL administered the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz,” an assessment designed by the late Marshall Fritz of the Libertarian Advocates for Self-Government. It comprises 10 questions split between economic issues, such as Social Security reform, and personal issues, such as drug policy. The spectrum is divided between statist, libertarian, centrist, left-liberal and right-conservative. According to Moy, students enjoyed seeing where they stood, and he says YAL will likely do it again during the spring. The trivia event was during the week of Sept. 17-23, declared by Gov. Mike Beebe as Constitution Week. YAL set up a table in the Student Union and quizzed students about the Constitution. Participants were first given questions about pop culture, such as “What is the name of Chris Brown’s girlfriend that he beat up?” Then the theme shifted toward politics, with questions like “What amendment gave Beyonce the right to vote?”
Staci Vandagriff| Photo Editor In preparation for their upcoming event, Young Americans for Liberty members Shandra Crews, Bryant Moy and Michael Sullivan worked on flyers Tuesday afternoon in their office in the Student Union.
“We found out that people naturally know more about pop culture and what’s going on with celebrities than politics. But the goal is to get people to follow politics and government actions like we follow celebrities,” Moy said. “If the youth in America did that, there is no telling how much progress we can make.” Since YAL is a 501(c)(4) organization, it is not allowed to be affiliated with political parties, how-
ever, members are free to support campaigns on their own time. YAL is still determining its post-election plans, but talks have begun about establishing a national debt clock on campus next semester to raise awareness regarding the impact of budget deficits. They are also open to collaborations with ASU’s Young Democrats and College Republicans.
Casino votes no longer count Votes will not counted for or against on a proposed ballot measure that would have allowed casino gambling in the state under exclusive ownership by two entities. The casino amendment consists of two initiatives. Issue 4 would have allowed 24-hour casinos in seven state counties: Sebastian, Pulaski, Garland, Miller, Crittenden, Boone and Jefferson. Texas businessman Michael Wasserman, who owns Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment Inc., has proposed the idea several times to the Attorney General’s office in the past, with four rejected ballot title requests and three approved titles.
Story by: Rachel Carner
Issue 3 on the ballot was proposed by professional Las Vegas poker player Nancy Todd to allow four casinos from her company, Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace, in the state. Todd said her proposal would bring in 6,000 jobs, keep $500 million within the state and increase tax revenue. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved of the petition for circulation Nov. 16, 2011. Both issues were added to the November ballot when Todd and Wasserman submitted the required 78,133 signatures from Arkansas registered voters by the deadline in early July. After a closer look, it was determined Wasserman didn’t collect enough within
the time allotted and was allowed seven days to challenge the ruling. When he filed a bid saying he needed an extra 30 days, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the bid. “I think it’s scary,” Wasserman told the Memphis Daily News. “This gives the secretary of state a tremendous amount of power that is not supposed to be in that office.” Where Todd’s proposal fell through was when the Supreme Court reviewed the amendment for approval. The court said it didn’t like the wording of the amendment, which had been changed after the voters had already signed the measure certified by Secretary of State Mark Martin.
According to a report by THV in September, Martin’s office argued that “Todd’s proposal leaves too much uncertainty over whether the proposal would prohibit electronic gambling” at Oaklawn, a Hot Springs horse track and at Southland Park, a West Memphis dog track. Wasserman said he was disappointed, but he would likely try to get his proposal on the 2014 ballot. Todd issued a statement earlier this month, stating how “a track full of moneyed insiders fought me every inch of the way and while they may have ‘won’ today, it’s the people of Arkansas who have lost in the long run.”
THURSDAY, NOV. 1, 2012
Candidates face student apathy
Photo illustration by Xinzhong Zhao | Staff Photographer
The 2008 presidential election had the highest voter participation of any election since 1960, and still 80 million eligible American Voters sat on the sideline and did not vote. Curtis Gans, director of the non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate, predicted that number will rise significantly this year. He said, “(Turnout could) ebb to levels similar to 2000, when only 54.2% of those eligible to vote did. Even that was up a bit from 1996, which had the lowest turnout since 1924.” This year, a projected 90 million Americans who are eligible to vote won’t, but why is this? In recent years, the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project has made use of a surprisingly simple question in the Census Bureau voting surveys. The Census Bureau has asked registered nonvoters to state why
Story by: J.J. Thompson
it is they don’t vote, and the answers to this question are very telling about why Americans who are otherwise registered do not vote. Some of the primary stated reasons for not voting are a lack of interest, which received 13 percent, or a dislike of the candidates or issues, which also received 13 percent. This means more than a quarter of registered nonvoters in 2008 didn’t vote because they weren’t interested or didn’t like their choices. Fifteen percent of nonvoters cited illness or disability as their reason for not voting, especially among older registered nonvoters. Other nonvoters were too busy or had conflicting schedules, 17 percent, which makes up about a third of the registered nonvoters. Of the remainder, many had some kind of logistical problem with the voting pro-
cess. Six percent had problems with their voter registration, and 3 percent did not have convenient polling places. Another 3 percent had some sort of transportation problem, and 0.2 percent reported that bad weather conditions kept them from the polls on Election Day. Many ASU students feel disconnected from the political process. Alexandra Williams, a freshman entertainment management student of Springdale, said “I chose to not register simply because I was raised in a family that never put much emphasis on voting or being involved with politics.” She went on to say that this lack of political discussion with her family and peers has left her still open on many of her stances and unable to differentiate between the two presidential candidates. Brittney Jetton, a junior nursing major of Wynne, thinks the campaigns aren’t making
themselves approachable enough. “I’m not as informed as I should be about it, but the debates and the news don’t seem to be about issues that are relevant to me,” she said. Many other commentators and political and communications analysts have said that the candidates in this election haven’t done enough work to show separation between their visions for the country. Chris Harper, a communications professor at ASU, said, “The lack of clear articulation leaves people thinking that there isn’t enough difference to really make a decision, so why vote?” A student can have no impact on the outcome of the election without casting a vote. Although early voting has already begun, Election Day is Nov. 6 and is a prevalent way to let one’s voice be heard on a local and national level.
Women voters fear backward thinking Story by: Tanya Giraldo
Election Day is fast approaching, and women have become a prime target for votes this election season. Many women of ASU are aware of this. “Women are a crucial voting block in this election,” Barbara Warner, assistant professor of political science, said. “There are gender specifics showing up as key issues. Women are very much a force to be reckoned with.” Some of the issues that are of interest to women voters range from equality in the workforce to women’s health. “There are so many,” Catherine Reese, associate professor of political science, said. Reese said equal pay is a prevalent issue. “Why is the U.S. still making 77 cents to the dollar?” she asked. Tess Wheetly, secretary of ASU College Republicans, shares the same opinion as Reese. “Especially when you look into maternity leave and things like that, ” Wheetly said. “I feel like if you go and interview for a job and you may be pregnant, that still may be something that you don’t want to mention because that may hurt your chances of getting hired.” Amy Buzby, assistant professor of political science, said a lot of women are more concerned about the economy this year. “There is an increasing shift in our society where women tend to be either the primary breadwinners in the house or co-breadwinners,” Buzby said. “Women’s jobs are an increasingly important issue.” Kayla Bradbury, director of the women’s outreach division in the Young Democrats organization, said due to the inequality of pay, there is still discrimination against women. “If that is not a huge indicator of discrimination, then I don’t know what is,” Bradbury said. “It’s weird saying that in 2012.” According to a poll conducted between Oct. 5-11 by USA Today and Gallup, women in swing states believed jobs took a 19 percent importance while abortion was at 39 percent.
“Reproductive health has obviously been an important issue to women across the country and I think that for a lot of female voters, they’re seeing a certain difference between the candidates,” Buzby said. “A lot of women are clearly making their choice based on that issue as well.” Warner said there aren’t many women holding as many executive positions as men, and women are not as well represented in a political structure. “There are 100 members in the general assembly for Arkansas,” Warner said. “Only 22 of them are women.” Congress has 535 seats, with 90 of those held by women, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. “If you look at the whole of Congress, 2 percent of Congress has been female,” Reese said. “I mean it’s changing, but it’s so, so slow.” Buzby said a key factor in the election is the gender gap. “Roughly two-thirds of women vote Democrat and it is very consistent and if anything it seems to be increasing,” Buzby said. “Women have a set of concerns that tend to draw them towards the Democratic Party platform.” With the Lily Ledbetter Act, female voters are seeing some progress with fair pay, but voters want to know progress will continue. “I think the candidates need to address women’s issues directly, and they need to make an effort to connect to women voters and show that they are making the best attempt to understand the unique issues that face women,” Buzby said. Comments such as Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s, who declared he opposes aborting pregnancies conceived in rape because “it is something that God intended to happen,” as well as Romney’s popular “binders full of women,” have also caught the attention of female voters. “They are going back to the stone ages with this dialog,” Warner said. “I think a lot of women felt sort of dehumanized or at least sort of overlooked by that language. It didn’t really seem to capture a sense of real women and their real con-
cerns,” Buzby said. “There is still the argument in 2012 of women not being able to perform the same as men,” Bradburry said. “It’s ludicrous.” “In the third debate of this election cycle, Romney made several missteps when he talked about women in very generic terms,” Buzby said. The candidates need to acknowledge that there is a large pay gap and discrimination if they want the female vote, said Reese. “You can’t explain the small amount of difference in women’s pay by particular career choices and having to have time off to take care of children,” Reese said. “Sixty percent of the gap is completely unexplained.” Female faculty and students agree there are many issues that need to be better addressed in order to get their vote. “They need to focus on the economy. I think that is one of the biggest issues that we have in this election,” Wheetly said. “Without the economy, you can’t focus on the equal opportunities in jobs if you don’t even have jobs.” “It’s not just issues for women it’s for anyone who is a woman, knows a woman, cares about a woman, loves a woman as in a family, which is pretty much everybody,” Reese said. It comes as no surprise that candidates are scrambling to get the female vote, considering women consist of the majority of the population by 50.8 percent, according to the 2011 United States Census Bureau. “I hope we have a big female voter turn out,” Bradbury said. “History is about to repeat itself and we cannot go backwards.” Women voters should keep in mind the difference the candidates have in terms of the issues that affect women, Buzby said. “Don’t get overwhelmed by the complexity of the process or the complexity of the issues under discussion,” Buzby said. “The platforms are there online and feel free to discuss them with your friends. “I’d like to see somebody have a plan,” Reese said. “Go and vote.”
THURSDAY, NOV. 1, 2012
Keys found A set of keys were found in the communication building. contact bonnie thrasher firstname.lastname@example.org or Terrie rolland email@example.com
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THURSDAY, NOV. 1, 2012
Laying out their platforms Zach Lott: Republican
J.J. Thompson: Democrat
The Democratic Party seems to be under the impression Mitt Romney is a top hat and monocle away from being a Bond villain, but don’t let such nonsense distract you. This election is about the future of our nation, specifically in terms of the economy. Despite the best efforts of the president to paint an auspicious economic picture, things are bleak. Labor force participation remains lower than at any point during the Bush administration. Four years after the market collapse, housing starts sit at obscenely low levels and show little sign of improvement. Investors have been paralyzed by the demagoguery of an administration that doesn’t understand how high tax rates drive away capital. The Obama administration also refuses to tackle entitlement reform, as Social Security and Medicare become increasingly unstable and eat up larger chunks of the federal budget and continue to grow as a percentage of GDP. Barack Obama has repeatedly proven he has no plan to address these issues. Incapable of running on his record, he resorts to blaming his predecessor and engaging in mindless class-warfare rhetoric to convince voters that the nation’s woes are a matter of rich vs. poor. Mitt Romney, however, has a different vision. He knows tax rates, especially for corporations, must come down to foster an economic climate conducive to investment and provide jobs for a struggling middle class. He knows entitlements are a time bomb that will cripple the nation if left unchecked. He knows the national debt is out of control. I was skeptical of Romney at first – but as this campaign has worn on, he has proven he has the knowledge and experience to resurrect a dormant American economy. As college students, we should be concerned not with who will immunize us from student debt but with who will ensure there’s a strong economy full of jobs when we leave the university. That man is Mitt Romney, and he is the hope and change you can believe in.
This election couldn’t be more consequential. With millions of Americans still caught in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, thousands of troops still in harms way overseas and the rights of the collective under siege from conservative fundamentalists, this choice could mean more than any we get to make again in our lifetimes. President Barack Obama took office in the midst of what economist Joseph Stiglitz has referred to as a “Freefall.” Even with the fiscal deck stacked against him, under President Obama we’ve seen 31 straight months of job growth, the addition of 5.2 million private sector jobs, including nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs – the most growth since 1997; and taxes cut by $3,600 for the typical middle class family making $50,000. All of this accomplished with the least active Congress in American history. President Obama expanded access to free preventive services like flu shots, diabetes screenings and mammograms for 54 million Americans. These improvements closed the “doughnut hole” in Medicare, saving seniors an average of $600 last year, and extended the life of Medicare eight years by eliminating $716 billion in waste, fraud and abuse. President Obama responsibly ended the war in Iraq, and is bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. To guarantee our soldiers are not penalized for their service, he has signed two tax credits into law for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors, and proposed a Veterans Job Corps to put vets back to work as police, firefighters and rangers on public land. President Obama is keeping the government out of women’s health care decisions, has expressed support for marriage equality, and is working to find a solution to immigration that doesn’t involve deporting hard working, responsible men and women. We can’t afford to put our trust into the same economic policies that crashed the economy, and we can’t justify a regression into social policies that marginalize whole segments of the population. This election is about two competing visions for America, and Obama’s plan for a stronger middle class and more empowered citizen is the vision that I believe America will ultimately choose. J.J. Thompson is a sophomore political science and communications major of Springdale.
Zach Lott is a freshman journalism major of Jonesboro.
Against the status quo Bryant Moy: Libertarian
Gary Johnson, the two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, is running for president under the Libertarian banner. The Libertarian Party belief can be split into three categories: Personal liberties, economic liberties and securing liberties. Personal liberty is the ability to do what you want, as long as you don’t harm or stop anyone else from doing the same. This can be applied to many hot-button issues today, whether that is consuming marijuana or choosing who you are going to spend the rest of your life with. Unlike the Democratic Party, which recently decided to added support of gay rights in their platform, the Libertarian Party has supported equal rights for all since its creation. The party platform states, “Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove
of those choices.” Individuals are able to make those decisions for themselves; it should not be at the hands of government. Libertarians are for a free and competitive market and are against a tax system that benefits some at the expense of others. Republicans say they want a free market, but continuing to give special handouts to large corporations is putting small business at a disadvantage. Libertarians believe no one should be punished for their success by paying higher taxes. At the same time, a free market is the best tool to pull people out of poverty. Libertarians believe in a strong national defense, but do not believe in pre-emptive wars, nation building or foreign aid to dictators. Libertarians want a noninterventionist foreign policy that works with us, not against us. Libertarians want nothing more than to give you the choice on how you live your life. Gov.
Internet, politics a double-edged sword
Johnson said, “If you believe government should be out of the bedroom and out of your wallet, be a Libertarian with me.” The Libertarian Party is not useless in a two-party system. Gov. Johnson repeatedly said on the campaign trail, “A wasted vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in.” The Libertarian Party is the party of principle. America can be a better place when people start voting for peace and prosperity, not the status quo of Republicans and Democrats. Bryant Moy is a junior political science major of Jonesboro and is the founder and president of Young American for Liberty
A single Facebook message can go a long way. According to a Sept. 12 article by the Financial Times, the University of California at San Diego conducted a study during the 2010 mid-term elections, which found a single message displayed at the top of the social media’s home page encouraging people to vote led to an increased voter turnout of about 340,000. This year’s presidential election, pitting President Obama against Republican nominee Mitt Romney, is seen by many as the first true social media election. With the embracing of Twitter by about 142 million Americans and Facebook’s nearly 1 billion users, the way politicians get their message out to voters has changed drastically. According to an article by the Calgary Herald titled “Social Me-
dia fuels U.S. election snark less than two weeks before vote,” the total number of tweets relating to the 2008 election equals only six minutes of tweets from this year’s cycle. As of Tuesday, President Obama had just more than 21 million followers on Twitter to Romney’s 1.6 million, while the president boasted 31.5 million likes on Facebook to Romney’s 11 million. It has also changed the way we communicate and share our beliefs with others. In an instant now, we can let almost everyone we know hear our thoughts, both amusing and serious, about a presidential debate, a campaign ad or an article about a topic we are passionate about. It also gives us a soapbox to air out grievances we have with politicians or to argue with those who don’t agree with us on certain is-
sues. Social media fuels a knee jerk society where anyone can click the “post” button without a second thought to do research into the story or meme they’re sharing. These unfiltered displays make both the campaign and our favorite social media sites unappealing, resulting in potential voters distancing themselves from an important moment for our country. Sixty-one million American Facebook users saw the pro-vote message in 2010, and in a time when it is hard to be friendly about such a serious topic, its results are an example of the positive effects social media and the Internet can have. Even without the Internet, elections have and always will be divisive. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make the process a little more tolerable.
“Our View is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of Arkansas State University.
THURSDAY, NOV. 1, 2012
Marlee Nitasaka, a senior social work major of Japan, read an article Monday morning about how Hurrican Sandy had disrupted the presidential race.
Alejandra Hernandez | Staff Photographer
International students express interest Although many students at ASU will have several opportunities to vote in U.S. presidential elections, international students are only allowed to spectate, and don’t have the right to vote. Whether one votes in the election this November, everyone has a right to their opinion, including international students. Anna Tikhonova, a graduate assistant of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, who works at the Office of International Programs at ASU, said international students aren’t given any type of orientation about American politics prior to their arrival in the U.S. Although no orientation is required, most international students familiarize themselves with American government and politics. “I think when you stay in another country for a long time, you should be able to know not only about its culture, its language, but you also need to think the way Americans think,” Tikhonova said. “To be able to communicate factually with Americans when you come to the U.S., you have to know who people really are and politics is one of the most important things
Story by: Alex Hernandez
in America,” she continued. Because international students don’t have the right to vote in the election, it is not too difficult to think many might not consider that issues and policies here can directly affect them. Immigration, for example, is an issue that can directly affect international students, although many may not realize it. “I haven’t heard of recent policies on immigration, but during foreign policy debates, (the presidential candidates) were talking about immigration and whether you should have illegal immigrants here or not and the consequences of illegal immigration,” Tikhonova said. “So I think that students who came from abroad and who would like to stay here, they will be aware of the policies and immigration regulations. I think from that perspective this policy affects international students,” she added. Marlee Nitasaka, a senior of Fukuoka, Japan, majoring in social work, said she feels international students should care about politics here. She believes international students simply
don’t care about American politics because they don’t get to vote in the election. “It’s not just students’ responsibilities, but we are also adults or young adults. We have the responsibility to know what is going on, especially when we live here,” Nitasaka said. “I don’t think Japan touches on the topic on the election a whole lot, but since Japan and America have a strong relationship, it matters to Japanese politics,” she added. However, several international students feel differently about this. Rony Smolyaev, an international business major of Chercassy, Ukraine, said, “I personally think that whether we care or not it does not really matter, because we are obviously not the ones electing the president. I would care a little more if I knew about issues that affected me directly, however my opinion would not cause any changes,” Smolyaev said. Websites like http://www.ontheissues. org/default.htm can help students understand where candidates stand on different issues and see how it affects them directly.
Ali Abo- Zaid, a graduate student of Tripoli, Libya, said he feels this is a great opportunity given the recent political changes in his country. “It’s a really great experience for me because we did not have any elections during the Gaddafi regime in Libya, but now we are doing elections so it will give me more knowledge to watch it here in U.S.,” Abo- Zaid said. Abo- Zaid also said students should care about politics and the election in the U.S., especially those who have lived under a dictatorship like he has because it gives them a chance to know how a democracy and elections work. “We don’t have presidential debates (in Russia), and those elections are not as transparent. People are not so interested in politics because our country is not so democratic, and people are not so involved,” she said. “When I came here I saw a huge contrast between the United States and Russia. Here people are very concerned with how the government will affect their lives at a national and local level,” she added.
Students take Pell for granted Story by: Tanya Giraldo Significant changes to financial aid have made it harder for graduate students to afford an education. As of July 1, graduate students are no longer eligible for subsidized loans or Pell Grants, according to the Federal Student Aid office in the U.S. Department of Education. Terry Finney, director of financial aid and scholarships, explained that ASU made sure students were notified of this change. It is important to note that while subsidized loans don’t accumulate interest until after one graduates, unsubsidized loans do accumulate interest regardless of whether one is in school or not. Sheena Terell, a graduate student of Pine Bluff working on her doctorate in educational leadership and president of the Graduate Student Council, believes graduate students as well as undergraduate students need to be aware of the changes to financial aid. “At this point, making sure what is going on with the changes and knowing that you have a plan is important,” Terell said. “Look at what options you have available.” Students pursuing graduate school must take into consideration that unsubsidized loans are now the only financial aid available and will accrue interest while in school, which can become very costly for students who pursue a degree beyond their master’s. Michael Gray, a graduate student of Jonesboro pursuing a master’s in communications, said it is no longer enough to have a bachelor degree. “Bachelor degrees are not elite anymore, so students must pursue a master’s to differentiate themselves,” Gray said. To be a manager of a business, a minimum of a master’s degree is required, Gray said. “By the time you graduate, assuming you went to school with loans, you are $80,000 in debt for a bachelor’s degree and then you are not employable to pay back your loan so you have to get your master’s degree,” he continued.
The only financial aid options now for graduate students are unsubsidized loans. “Graduate students more often than not are in desperate need of every penny they can get from aid. They do not have access to scholarships or grants as it is. The Pell Grant was minimal to begin with,” Gray said. “Accruing interest will increase the difficulty to pay back loans over time and that is much more problematic.” Graduate students need to find other means of financial aid and undergraduate students need to keep the new changes in mind for the future. “Graduate students will be forced to look for financing in other ways, like graduate assistantships or various scholarships,” Terell said. “If you want to pursue an advanced degree, you want to make sure you are aware of those costs and be aware of what tuition will cost.” Finney believes that using the minimum amount of loans during undergraduate years will help minimize debt when going into graduate school. “Just borrow what you need, not the maximum you can get,” Finney said. As for financial aid during graduate programs, Finney believes one should consider other options like working on campus or graduate assisting. Taking out only what is needed as an undergraduate is important, but graduate students have to take the maximum they can get. While having a graduate assistant job is great, it’s not enough for graduate students, Gray said. “Apply early so that you can go ahead and start applying for graduate assistantships because those are very competitive,” Terell said. “There are only so many available.” “With the unsubsidized loans, students are paying an interest at 6.8 percent rate,” Finney said. “Students have that six-month wait period after graduation, but that also accumulates interest.” With the upcoming election, all eyes are on the economy and everything that is affected, including financial aid.
“I think it’s important to make sure they are informed as students, but also that they are informed as voters,” Terell said. “Being aware of where the various candidates stand on those issues (is) going to be important for students to make an informed decision.” “The federal government took away any other option of financial aid and eliminated everything they had for graduate students,” Finney said. “The candidates have to realize that we are in a different time,” Terell said. “We are in a time where a lot of parents who were able to save, or perhaps were saving, but because of unemployment and layoffs and different instances that have occurred, they’ve had to use that money to live off of and their children are now having to figure out ways to pay for college.” Five percent of student loans are currently held by individuals 60 years and older, Gray said. “(That) represents almost 40 billion dollars in senior debt,” he said. “This new policy will increase that number exponentially every year it is in place.” During the Obama administration, Pell Grant spending has more than doubled from $15.4 billion in the 200708 award year to $34.8 billion in the 2010-11 award year, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). The majority of the increase was caused by factors outside Obama’s influence, according to the NASFAA. Mitt Romney said the increased Pell Grant spending is driving up the cost of college. He hopes to refocus financial aid to students that need them most, according to the NASFAA. However, both Obama and Romney agree students and parents need better consumer information about the cost of higher education and student aid as well as providing the incentives for higher education institutions to keep tuition and fees from increasing, according to the NASFAA
THURSDAY, NOV. 1, 2012
Politicians flock to social media to connect with voters Story by: Caleb Hennington
witter. Facebook. Youtube. Tumblr. Instagram. Reddit. Any able bodied person with at least a smidgen of tech savvy uses one or more of these mediums daily to stay connected with the world around them. It’s safe to say social media has completely revolutionized the way people send and receive information. Politicians, in order to stay connected with voters, have taken note of the social media uprising. In 2008, then Senator Barack Obama in his presidential campaign, used social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to bolster his campaign and stay connected with the younger voters in ways his opponent, Senator John McCain, failed to do. A Pew research study of the 2008 election shows 35 percent of voters said they watched online political videos, 10 percent used social media to get information on the candidates and 6 percent made online contributions to political campaigns. There is an obvious spike in involvement this election, with social media becoming more and more a part of the way voters get their political information. In another Pew research study, from June 4-17, 2012, the data shows how Obama is again the frontrunner in the social media battle. In the 14 days the research was done, Obama tweeted 404 times, a substantially larger number of times than Romney, who only tweeted 16 times. The numbers of posts were more even on other mediums such as Facebook and Youtube, with Romney posting 34 times on Facebook and 10 times on Youtube, and Obama posting 27 times on Facebook and 21 times on Youtube.
In regards to voters’ response to these posts on social media, Obama garnered 1,124,175 likes on Facebook to Romney’s 633,597; he also had 150,106 retweets to Romney’s 8,601. Holly Hall, assistant professor of journalism and instructor of the social media class, said social media has leveled the field in the political realm to where candidates don’t have to rely so much on paid advertising and news coverage. “Messages can be spread and brands developed without the almost exclusive use of a gatekeeper (the media),” Hall said. The free exchange of information on social media isn’t always the most reliable way of getting political information, however. “Social media itself has also made us very selective in the news and information we gather,” Hall said. “If we are interested in the topic, we’ll download or seek information about it. So candidates have to very carefully craft messages and cover topics the voters are interested in.” Social media has also made it possible for people to voice opinions about candidates behind the safety of a computer screen without having to deal with the face-to-face retort of a voters differing opinion. “I think one of the personal observations I’ve had during this election cycle is watching my Facebook feed and seeing the negative, emotionally-laden posts from both sides of the political aisle,” Hall said. “I think people are feeling empowered by being a publisher of information and they also get a sense of personal validation when their post gets lots of likes or positive comments.” Although there are some voters who are likely to believe some of the propaganda
posted on social media, Sandra Combs, assistant professor of journalism, believes it won’t have that great of an effect on people. “Things can be taken out of context and people are going to believe what they want to believe. I don’t think there are that many undecided voters out there, and I think people have made up their mind by now,” Combs said. Nathan Shelby, a history education major of Bryant, also said he has noticed more people are voicing their opinions on social media, such as Twitter, in this election than in 2008’s election. “It doesn’t affect the way I vote. I don’t pay attention to mudslinging; I just look at the facts and don’t let someone else influence how I’m going to vote,” Shelby said. There are various Twitter pages that fact check the things the candidates say in their speeches and in the debates as they go on, such as @politifact and @thinkprogress. Another issue that comes up with the use of social media in politics is how to reach the older voters. “Older voters are not on Twitter like the younger people are,” Combs, who is doing research on the use of Twitter in the election, said. Youtube has also made it easier for voters to decide what information they want and when. The three presidential debates and the one vice presidential debate were broadcast on Youtube for voters to watch. However, this medium also has its downfalls. “The thing about Youtube is that you can skip through certain parts (of the debates). The old guard is more likely to watch the debates live,” Combs said.
Top 10 Tweets #Obamacare #SaveBigBird #FourYearsCloser #CantAfford4More #HorsesAndBayonets
#Whopper #WhereIsMolly #AdmitItMitt #Romnesia #Debates
During a series of debates, Twitter users fired off hashtags related to each of the debates. The world of social media blew up with these top ten hashtags from all of the debates.