October 23, 2000

Political Groups Engage in Debate

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About 65 people attended a debate among the Democratic, Republican, Green and Natural Law parties and the Cobbler newspaper (a Socialist organization) last night at the David Call Auditorium in Kennedy Hall.

The debate began with some of the usual political topics that have surfaced this campaign season, but the focus eventually turned to the need for greater political inclusion.

The debate was moderated by Jared Bell grad, of the Africana Students Association, along with Damoun Delaviz ’03, of the United Progressives.

Speaking on the topic of inclusion, Green Party representative and Senate candidate Mark Dunau, encouraged students to vote for whom they wanted to, regardless of whether the candidate is a member of the two major parties. “If we can’t vote with our hearts, then there is no democracy,” Dunau said.

He added, “The media are telling us that it’s a poker game where we have to guess what everyone else is doing.” He went on to explain how this will lead people to vote for one of the two major parties because they are all the voter really knows.

Republican representative Joe Sabia added to that by telling students, “We’re too young to abandon our ideologies.” He spoke negatively about strategic voting, and that voters should not select one candidate simply because they think he has the best chance, but instead to vote for the candidate with whom they agree most.

New York State Assemblyman Marty Luster (D-125th), representing the Democrats, felt differently.

“If you don’t vote for one of the two major parties, you are throwing your vote away.” He called on students to consider the consequences of their votes and the possible effect, presenting the possibility that voting for Nader over Gore could result in Bush becoming president, which would likely be less favorable to that voter.

Other debate questions ranged from privatization of prisons and welfare systems to foreign policy and human rights.