Through The Mirror Of My Mind
Ahh, it's time for reflections again.
Life in a college town has got to be one of the more surreal experiences available to the American citizen. Now, you might ask, what brought up that statement, Jude?
The answer: Sidewalks. That's right, sidewalks.
The sidewalks of Madison play host to lots of activities, just like you'd expect in any mid-sized city--jogging, panhandling, bicycling, stumbling, fighting, Friday-night drunken makeout sessions, and so forth.
But what really amazes me about them is the contrast between what you see coloring the off- and on-campus concrete.
Walking to campus, the sidewalks, as one might expect in a town that is home to a highly-ranked party school
, are often "decorated" with the contents of some over-enthusiastic students' stomachs (how's that for euphemistic?).
Once on the campus proper, however, the view below your feet changes. The colors are now due, mostly, to sidewalk chalk
. You find the usual assortment of stuff you'd expect on a college campus--club meetings, guest speakers, special events, and so forth. However, this being an election year, the nature of the graffiti has an added political dimension that, last year, at least, it has otherwise lacked.
Sidewalk chalkers show great affinity for US Representative Tammy Baldwin
and US Senator Russ Feingold
, both Democratic incumbents up for re-election (Feingold, to his eternal credit, provided the lone dissenting vote against the atrociously-named and liberty-infringing USA PATRIOT Act). There have also been sporadic statements of support for world-class tool Tim Michels, a Republican who is making a vain effort to unseat Feingold this November. How this jackass won the Republican nomination is beyond me.
And, of course, one sees chalkings for and against President Bush and Senator Kerry
(I'll ignore the occasional third party or Nader messages for now). Here's a quick rundown of what I've seen, pro-
, regarding both candidates.
Most of the pro-Kerry writing is aimed at interesting students to vote for the man based on his stated desire to make college more affordable
, his opposition to ANWR
drilling, and other issues that would motivate university students to go to the polls for Kerry.
Most of the pro-Bush stuff I've seen consists simply of official slogans ("W '04," for example) or absolutely mindless unofficial (I sincerely hope) slogans such as the shudder-inducing, recently-seen "Luvya Dubya" that adorned Bascom Hill today (I feel dirty having written that).
The anti-Bush chalking relies, oddly enough, on his atrocious record, and is largely the work, according to the chalkers, of students under the auspices of America Coming Together. The ACT 4 Change graffiti draws attention to Bush's Orwellian "Healthy Forest Initiative
," "Clear Skies Program
," and stated desire to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
to petroleum drilling--that is, the ACT people want students here to know about Bush's god-awful record of environmental stewardship. Also, other chalkers do bring up the Iraq war
, something that should be on the mind of all people aged 18-26, all the time.
But the anti-Kerry chalking that really, really, really boggles the mind.
A group calling itself "Students Against Kerry" (which doesn't even have a web site--how positively paleolithic, right?) has decided to argue against Kerry in the most stunning fashion possible. They just lie.
And I'm not saying that as a Kerry supporter.
There are reasons, I'm sure, for people to oppose Kerry that don't involve lying, distortion, or solely emotional appeals. But "Students Against Kerry" has none of those reasons at their fingertips, it seems. I took the liberty of copying a few of their statements this afternoon, and I will share them with you now:
Kerry only US Senator to vote to raise taxes every 3 weeks.
Kerry (heart) Dictators
Kerry's terror policy focuses on appeasement
Osama would vote Kerry...will you?
Kerry took campaign cash from Red China!
And, most laughably, the following two slogans:
Kerry wants to eliminate the middle class!
Kerry's plan will raise taxes 80% on middle class families while increasing the nat'l debt 200%!
And it occurred to me: Bush has nothing. Nothing at all to run on. His supporters, since they can't make John Kerry look as bad as Bush by using the truth, have no qualms at all about just lying. Hey--if the President and his administration officials don't mind lying
, why should his supporters?
Some of the claims made by "Students Against Kerry" are also made by the Progress for America Voter Fund, a right-wing campaign group. You may have seen some of PFA's advertisements, especially the latest, whiny spot that starts with "Has any President ever been dealt a tougher hand?"
Anyway, back to the lies about Kerry. The anti-Bush statements, negative though they are, are firmly rooted in fact. The statements about Kerry, when I first saw them, made me laugh out loud. "Kerry wants to eliminate the middle class!"
Does anybody really believe this shit? If you have an argument, make it. Don't vomit lies all over the ground.
Hey, Students Against Kerry--you'd be doing all of us more good by puking on the sidewalk literally instead of metaphorically.
Labels: Election, Politics, right-wing idiocy, Wisconsin