Nonvoters will be hurt most
Greetings from the sane democratic republic of Ecuador. I see where the insane citizen of Arkansas voted to allow the Republicans to finish the job of bankrupting the middle class that George Bush started. We did not emigrate to Ecuador to avoid this disaster, but we will not have to watch the Tom Cotton experience as he screws all the idiots that voted for him.
How did the Republicans pull this off? First, there are the ones who voted against our black president. Second, the ones who will be hurt the most did not vote. This would not have happened in Ecuador for two reasons. First, most people here are colorblind. Secondly, every citizen must vote or pay a large fine. Every citizen is registered to vote and almost 100 percent do.
Climate change must become central issue
Is it not strange that on a day most progressives, with whom I identify, are mourning the outcome of the U.S. mid-term elections, I am feeling particularly energized? Don't get me wrong, I am mortified by the prospects of both houses of Congress ruled by anti-science market-worshipers. Yet, I feel that the alternatives were not all that great, either. There is an unshakable feeling that the choices voters face with each election cycle are increasingly demoralizing. Voting is a civic and moral duty, we are told. Yet, when it comes to the actual crop of candidates one is supposed to choose from, casting a ballot becomes an exercise in easy-issue voting. Easy-issue voting is that Pavlovian response we all get when words like: pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay or Tea Party are pinned to a candidate.
Before I elaborate, I must admit that I've never voted in a U.S. election — I'm not eligible — but, from the many friends I have who do, I keep hearing variations on the same sentiment: "They are all bad/corrupt/puppets." There is an undeniable frustration with the way representative democracy is practiced in the U.S. today. To this nonvoting observer, the issues that are being heatedly debated between both party's candidates, and those taken for granted by both, is what unsettles me. What is up for debate, it seems, are the fringe issues, the ideological ones that do not seem to really impact the lives of most voters. We find ourselves sucked into involved discussions on whether the biblical definition of marriage can accommodate homosexual ones, or whether terminating a pregnancy is indeed a personal choice.
These are all valid questions, of course, but not when the greatest existential threat our species ever faced is upon us. Devastating droughts, storms and extinctions are becoming commonplace and yet we are encouraged to neither question the causes nor ponder the consequences. It is almost as if disproportionately dedicating broadcast and cable airtime to color-coding the electorate map according to these ideological squabbles will somehow disappear the unfolding tragedy of climate change. If you think I am being hypocritical, i.e. admonishing issue-voting while insisting that the climate change issue should be the one deciding elections, I'll ask you to pause and think: If our role in climate change is significant, as impartial scientific research has proven, and if continuing our current pattern of resources management will definitely be catastrophic to us all, are we really doing what we can to stop, not to mention reverse, this trend? A good way to prioritize is to weigh the consequences of action, or inaction, on each issue on your list. If we are to do so, we can all agree that our priorities are messed up, and I think it is, in part, because those with influence over setting the agenda are not interested in having this conversation now. I feel energized today because I can see a great opportunity for all of us who are passionate about the well being of our fellow men to step up and, not only point out this great and grave oversight, but help bring about an awareness of what can be done. An ineffectual legislature will only highlight the discrepancy between the threat level we are faced with, and the irresponsible lack of response.
Mahmoud A. Sharara
From the web, in response to Evin Demirel's cover story, "War Memorial's days are numbered" (Nov. 6):
It doesn't take a business major to see where this was going. Hog fans need to act proactively now to start new traditions. Other team fans travel over 400 miles one way to see a game. Tennessee fans living in Memphis have a long drive to Knoxville. Many get tickets to Ole Miss or Starkville. Nebraska has large number of fans from the western part of the state that don't have Colorado any more as a closer game. They don't bitch about it; they get bus trips up or make the long drive and make it a weekend.
Hog fans can do the same. A new company just started train service in Northwest Arkansas to the games. Why not from Central Arkansas? Board a train or bus in Pine Bluff, then Little Rock, then Conway etc. Make Fayetteville the tailgate capital of the south. Get tickets to Mississippi games or LSU if you live in the southern or eastern part of the state. East Arkansas to Vandy is closer; go to those games.
Just think of all the new traditions out there to start! Don't cry just because you lost the Little Rock games; find other ways to show your support!
I am a Razorback fan, but I refuse to drive three hours to watch a game when I can sit at home and watch it on my HD television. I believe having all the games move to Fayetteville will cause some big-time recruits to consider out of state colleges. I live in Little Rock, and if my son got offers from Arkansas, Baylor and LSU, Arkansas playing games in Little Rock where I could bring more family to watch the game in person would be a huge advantage for Arkansas. Otherwise, I would just as soon drive to Dallas or Baton Rouge to watch my son play for a perennial top 15 team.