UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media


It has been repeated, on the talk shows and newspaper pages, that this is the most important election of our lifetime. With heady issues such as Iraq, the war on terror, and the economy at stake, it certainly feels like it. Now we just wish at least one of the two candidates seemed up to the task of proving themselves worthy of four years in the White House.

Both John F. Kerry, the Democratic candidate, and George W. Bush, the Republican incumbent, have their faults. Both are prone to flip-flopping and running away from their records. It is often hard to tell where Kerry stands on an issue or where he will be soon afterwards, with no small help from Bush, who seized on Kerry’s Senate record and disingenuously used it for his own political gain.

On the issues that matter, the incumbent has shown startling incompetence while the challenger has, time and time again, been unable to make a convincing case for voters to seat him in the Oval Office. National polls reflect this. Bush should not be, given his horrendous first term, polling at around 50 percent. Yet Kerry has, despite some gains, failed to close and eliminate the gap as needed.

Little needs to be said that hasn’t been already on Bush’s handling on the war on terror and Iraq; two separate issues (though you wouldn’t know from the way the Bush administration has talked about them) that have merged into one because of Bush’s ineptitude. Terrorists began moving into Iraq after the fall of Baghdad, and now we have American troops dying in a daily nightmare, when they could have stayed in Afghanistan to finish the job, with a focus on rebuilding the country and capturing bin Laden. But Kerry’s Iraq plan does not appear much different from Bush’s, except for the much-touted call for more international partners. Kerry’s time in the Senate offers little evidence of how he would handle the problem of terrorism, and the senator has failed to make a strong case for his ideas. Indeed, his campaign is built on the idea of him as “not Bush.”

On the domestic front, and on issues that students care about, like higher education, the evidence is not any more heartening. Kerry has left educational issues to the senior senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy. Bush’s No Child Left Behind plan has turned into an unfunded mandate, and a bad idea from the start. Like in Iraq, both have like-minded ideas on higher education. “Both promote tax breaks for parents and students paying tuition and want to increase funding for financial aid and students, though the candidates approach such funding differently,” according to a recent article in the Diamondback, University of Maryland’s student newspaper. Bush says tax cuts help, and Kerry puts tuition increases in with health care costs as hurtful to the middle class. Again, neither has made a definitive case for support.

For the reasons stated above, we cannot endorse either candidate. By all means, vote for whom you prefer, rather than not vote at all. But know that another election year has gone by, as so many do, without a real, clear, and competent choice as to who should lead America into the future.