Jaded.

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To think, just five years ago, I was actively engaged in the Augusta State University Political Science Club. We helped over a hundred students on campus register to vote during one voter registration drive. We held a mock election for the 2000 Presidential race… I was entrenched in politics. I loved politics.

Now, I can’t stand it.

I’m tired of all the hate ads. I’m tired of candidates criticizing their candidates without offering anything substantive. I don’t care that “so-and-so bought this land” and “so-and-so is a big, fat liar”. What are YOU going to do to help my country? What are YOU going to do to help my state? What are YOU going to do to help my county? What’s that? No answer? I’m voting your stupid, ignorant, complacent rear off the island!

For too long we’ve lived with a two-party system. For too long have Democrats and Republicans been in control. They’ve grown complacent. They’ve shifted far too much towards the center. So much so, that the parties are indistinguishable from one another. Today is our opportunity to make a difference.

I’m voting Libertarian today. I know, I know, some races are too close to call, and you feel like if you vote for a candidate that’s not a Dem or Rep you’re throwing away your vote – but you couldn’t be more wrong. A vote against the establishment is a vote for real change. The more support Libertarians get in this election and the one’s that follow, the more the power structure in our government will change.

Immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate voted Tuesday to fine employers who hire illegal immigrants up to $20,000 for each unauthorized worker, providing teeth to a broad immigration bill before sending it to a final vote later this week.

Employers would have to check Social Security numbers and the immigration status of all new hires within 18 months after money is provided to the Homeland Security Department to expand the electronic system for screening workers. Read Full Article on CNN…

America is nothing without its immigrants. I’m not for returning America to isolation, but we need to do something to solve the problem of illegal immigration into our country. This is the best proposal I’ve seen thusfar, though one problem remains: enforcement. Unless Congress comes up with a way to enforce this, it’s all bark and no bite.

anthrax… bah…

a lot can happen in two months. our whole world has changed. i’ve changed. we’re a little more cautious then we were before. we’re a little more weary of the world around us. we’re never going to be the same again.

as our soldiers pound afghanistan with missiles and bombs, and descimate any kind of infrastructure they could of had, we’re facing the possibility here stateside that any piece of mail we might receive could contain anthrax in it. so far, a few dozen people have been found positive with anthrax, including a seven month old baby.

what kind of sick animal would do this to innocent people?

just thinking about the idea of someone, somewhere sending out letters of death to random people pisses me off. it’s just something you don’t do. what bothers me even more about it is that on one of the letters, it was addressed to make it look like the letter came from a 4th grade classroom. what in the hell?

i wouldn’t doubt that someone like bin Laden is connected with these cowardly attacks.

when we find this bastard, we need to make him hurt for a very long time. screw killing him. he wants to die. it’ll further his cause. we need to lock him away in a prison, where pain is inflicted upon him 24/7. maybe then he’ll learn. and if that doesn’t work? we start removing body parts. start with his toenails and fingernails. then work inwards.

he hates us and he hates the western world. wait til he feels first hand our hatred towards him.

Condit Go Bye-Bye?

being a political science major i felt i should throw my two cents in with the whole representative condit thing…

whether he killed chandra levy or not, this guy is committing political suicide. he’ll never work in the field of politics again unless he is completely and totally cleared of the allegations that he is somehow involved in the disappearance of his former intern/lover. now the media is calling this guy a womanizer… quite a few women have come forward admitting they have had affairs with codit… how could this guy let this situation spin out of control like this? how could he allow himself to sping so far out of control?

whether he is guilty or innocent, the public sees him as a politician gone bad, sex crazy even. he can count on failing to get re-elected. his career in politics is over.

Bills, Bills, Bills

god, i hate bills. they suck ass. i hate how i see most of my check sucked away so i can pay bills. i work to pay bills. i work to pay taxes. i’m getting it from both ends now. it’s funny how someone can make x amount of money and the government will take a third of it from you. you earned it. the government didn’t help. it’s like a giant crackhead… “i need a little mo’ money. gimme a little mo’ money.”

Referendum Passes

Here’s what we voted on:

FINAL RESULTS LOCAL REFERENDUM

“Shall a one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes of the Columbia County School District (the “School District”) be reimposed within Columbia County for a maximum period of time of 20 calendar quarters, for the purposes of providing funds to pay (1) the cost of acquiring, constructing, and equipping one new elementary school and one new middle school, adding and equipping new classrooms at existing high schools, acquiring land for future schools, adding to, renovating, repairing, improving, and equipping existing school buildings and other buildings and facilities useful or desirable in connection therewith, and acquiring any necessary property therefor, both real and personal, (2) the cost of acquiring instructional and administrative technology improvements for existing schools and acquiring school buses, the maximum cost of the projects described in clauses (1) and (2) above to be $42,067,795, and (3) the cost of retiring a portion of the School District’s General Obligation Bonds, dated September 1, 1976, General Obligation Refunding Bonds, dated December 1,1992, General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 1993, General Obligation Refunding Bonds Series 1994, General Obligation Bonds, Series 1994-A, and General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, Series 1998, by paying or making provision for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds coming due on April 1, 2003 through October 1, 2007, in the maximum amount of $27,932,205?”

“If reimposition of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the Columbia County School District in the principle amount of $16,000,000 for the purpose set forth in clause (1) of the above question, to pay capitalized interest incident thereto, and to pay expenses incident to accomplishing the foregoing.”

Final Tally: YES 4841, NO 626

Taken from the Columbia County Website

“So?” you’re probably asking. “What’s the big deal?” Well, for one, it is a good thing that the referendum passed. Columbia County has long been touted as having one of the best school systems in Georgia, and the money the one-cent sales tax generates will definitely be of great benefit to the county and to its schools. It is also a good thing that it passed so overwhelmingly with 4841 voters for the measure and only 626 against. But, when you consider that the number of voters only accounted for roughly 9% of the county’s registered voters, the figure is pitiful. Reports have indicated that the only people who really voted for the measure were primarily teachers and parents with school-aged children.

The county advertised the measure pitifully. Sparse sign placement, random radio announcements and an editorial in the Augusta Chronicle were all that made mention of the measure. It’s no wonder hardly anyone voted. No one knew about it! If they wanted people to participate, they should have advertised the measure better!

I, for one, did vote. I was among the 5,467 voters who did make it out to the polls. Voting is important, regardless of the issue. Why? Because these kinds of things affect the whole county. A one-cent sales tax raises prices, albeit rather insignificantly, but it can possibly make a difference for some people. It’s important to get out there and vote. That’s the whole point of democracy. People that don’t vote shouldn’t bitch, because they didn’t join the few that DID decide.

Letter to the Editor

Sent to the Bell Ringer, Augusta State University’s student newspaper on 3/21/2001:

Marriot Food Service’s decision to trim its services does a great disservice to the faculty, staff and students here at Augusta State University.

I think that the decision to cut the hot line from the school lunch room was a bad idea. Not only can we now look forward to a more limited menu, Marriot Food Services can look forward to an increased loss of business. Do they honestly believe things will get better for them by doing this?

Students are losing their reasons to eat here on campus. Now, you either have pizza, salad, soup or a sub or you go somewhere else with your money. If that’s all the cafeteria has to offer, how many times a week do you think the average student will eat here? Once, maybe, if they even utilize the facility at all. Cutting the hot food line was a very bad idea. Think the lunch room is losing money now? Wait until they see what it is like when it’s not used at all. Fewer people are using Washington Hall now. Think this is a coincidence? I don’t think so. I think this is definitely one decision that needs to be rethought.

The school needs to look for better alternatives to encourage the usage of its facilities. If our school had some sort of swipe card system, we could simply charge meals to a personal account. Something like this could be hooked up to be used on soda and snack machines, in the book store and in both the Washington Hall cafeteria and the Butler Hall snack bar. The Technology Committee has $266,000 to spend before June 30, 2001. Part of it would be wisely spent on developing a system such as this for the University. Making it easier to use the facilities here will probably increase the amount of money coming in and will increase usage. Universities and colleges our size within the University System of Georgia are using these kinds of systems. Why can’t we?

I know the swipe card system is something that has been under some consideration by the university. The Phoenix even recently ran an article on it. Now is the time to move forward. If more adequate services are not provided to our students, we’re not going to have any reasons to stay here. Getting a system such as this in place is a step in the right direction. Let’s not waste this opportunity.

Apathy Sucks

Originally appeared in an October 2000 issue of The Bell Ringer:

I think student apathy is a serious problem on campus. It’s going to be the death of this university. This school is what we make of it. Students are the lifeblood of Augusta State. We can make or break this university.

This is my first semester at Augusta State University. I have always felt that it was important to have a well-rounded education. I’m currently taking 12 credit hours. I hate it when I walk around and see so many students disinterested in the future of this school. To them it’s just a place to go to class. For me, it’s become so much more. You see, I’ve gotten involved. I’m a member of the Political Science Club, College Conservatives, Model League of Arab States and I am the Art Director for the Phoenix Magazine. Why did I feel it was important to get involved in activities outside of class? I care about this university. I care about how it’s going to be four years from now when hopefully I’ll walk out of here with a degree in Political Science. I care about the quality of my education. Anything that I can do to make this school a better environment for myself I will do, without question. Anything I can do to help this school become a better environment for my fellow students is even better.

Get involved. Please. Clubs and organizations on this campus exist to give students a voice. They give us forums where we can meet with people with similar interests and do things that create a better atmosphere on this campus. Get involved in a theatre production. Join a faith-based organization. Join a club that relates to your major. Just do something. Take a chance and see what else this school has to offer aside from classes. I’m tired of hearing the excuse that “I don’t have any time” or “I hate being at school any more then I have to.” Sometimes, some things are important enough to dedicate time to. I love everything that the Political Science Club has done so far this semester. We’ve held a mock election, a few voter registration drives… We’re out there… we’re educating people about politics. We are a big part of this university, and I’d like to think we’re having a positive impact. I know some clubs do take a great deal of time out of our lives. I work full-time, attend school full-time and I still try to make time for extra-curricular activities. Sure, most nights I’m not home until 10pm or later, but it’s time well spent.

Find something you love and get involved. If there isn’t a club on campus to suit your interests, start your own. I mean, what bad could possibly come from it? Otherwise, the next time you find yourself bitching about how terrible you think this school is, ask yourself, “Have I done anything to change it?” If you can’t say yes, all I have to say is keep your comments to yourself.

The Right to Protest?

Amendment I – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

A lot of things tend to bother me. None moreso, though, then people’s blatant abuse of our First Amendment rights afforded to us in the Bill of Rights. On my way home from work today, I was listening to NPR (FYI, it was All Things Considered). They were discussing the Democratic National Convention and the riots that went on during last nights proceedings. First off, enough is enough. People get pissed off about the simplest things. It’s one thing to protest and picket peacefully, but when people start vandalizing and throwing rocks and getting into fights – a line has to be drawn.

According to CNN.com six people were arrested after a group of nearly 100 demonstrators started launching rocks and bottles towards police monitoring a concert/protest (courtesy of everyone’s fave Rage Against the Machine). Well, apparently, people want to complain now about how the police handled themselves – as if the demonstrators shouldn’t have to take responsibility for breaking the law, causing general mayhem, etc. When are people going to take responsibility for their actions? If you’re going to be destructive, you deserve to be pepper sprayed and shot at with rubber bullets. A bit much? Sure. But the police need to take whatever precautions necessary to protect the general populace from these mobs of protesters. If this includes throwing tear gas or firing rubber bullets into a crowd, I’ve got to say that I agree with it. We have police for this very reason – to protect us from those that would break the law.

According to CNN, “protesters argued they were not given enough time to comply with police demands. ‘There was no way for people who wanted to leave to get out of that event last night,’ said Jim Lafferty, head of the left-wing National Lawyers Guild. Lafferty said he saw police club people who were scrambling to get out of their way and shoot them in the back with rubber bullets as they fled.”

My reply? They shouldn’t have been doing what they were doing in the first place. Meanwhile, you’ve got all of these ACLU lawyers monitoring the situation just waiting to sue LA Police for doing their jobs. How can they condone wanton destructive violence? How can they not expect the police to react with force? The ACLU threatens litigation if people aren’t provided an area to exercise their First Amendment Rights… If you’ll read carefully the First Amendment above, you’ll see that people are afforded the right to peaceful assembly.

Know why we have problems like this? Because people are disinterested in the political system until it affects them. Wrong answer. People need to get out there and vote. You want change, get involved. Protesting does nothing but disrupt the normal processes of life. Sure, it might deliver a message for a moment or two, but your decisions as an involved citizen can change things for much, much longer. Don’t like George W. Bush or Al Gore as a viable president? Then vote for someone else! Vote for Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan or someone else! Just be sure to VOTE. It’s sad to think that less then 50 percent of the population in the United States is voting for our leaders… The more that people get involved, the better things will eventually be. This is supposed to be a democracy, isn’t it?

The First Amendment only goes so far. If you want to protest, protest. But don’t let it get out of hand. If you want to see change, get involved. Work towards changing the system.

That’s my two cents, and I’m stickin’ to it.