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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Aiming for the Wrong Target

I was recently priveleged (read: required to for class) to attend a lecture on public relations and specifically those regarding the upcoming election. Two alumni from UMD representing the McGinn Group firm gave a fairly impressive, informative, and interesting presentation. During the course of this presentation, they listed the mainaudiences they were targeting in their publicity campaigns for the upcoming presidential election. They listed 'Security Moms', "Nascar Dads', latinos, African-Americans, and the LGBT audiences. Surprisingly, they didn't list young adults, especially around the college age. I think this is silly. Don't get me wrong, it's easy to understand the rationale. College students and young adults are infamous for low voting records lately. However, I believe that ths election will be different. We have seen a surge of voting campaigns aimed at this demographic. After 9/11 and with the current war, we're becoming more politically aware. I voiced my disbelief to a feloow classmate while leaving the lecture.
"Yeah, but what issues are really affecting us in this election?" he responded with a shrug. My jaw dropped.
After a moment of thought, I discussed it with him. Women's rights issues, for one. Maybe that didn't affect him, but it did affect his girlfriend, right? The pro-choice movement is in fear of Bush being re-elected and furthering his anti-abortionist agenda. Furthermore, it is almost certain that at least one space will become available in the Supreme Court, allowing the president to appoint one or more judges to the Supreme court. The next-president's choice of judges will severly affect the laws and rulings made in the not only the next four years, but the entire life-long career of that judge.
I continued on. The economy was another important factor. How would the next president handle the job market? As soon as we finish college, we begin to look for jobs. How DOESN'T the job market and economy affect us in the next four years?
And let's not forget the war. How will the next president affect the war? Not to mention one of the new campaign hot topics: the draft. The draft is what affects us most of all. We need to vote. We need to have a say in whether we're going to be shipped off to the army.
A note about the draft. As I'll remind people many a time, I'm not a government and politics major. I'm not some political super-geek. I just tells it likes I sees it. Both Kerry and Bush have openly stated being against a draft.
Sadly, this is bullshit.
I spoke to an unnamed relative today who occupies a unnamed position in an unnamed department of the Department of Defense. Without getting into specifics, I trust his opinion. I asked whether he thought a draft was likely. He told me what he thought. He thought the draft was pretty much inevitable. Here's why.
We are currently in a war. Troops are needed to fight this war. Right now, Bush is instituting what's known as a "backdoor draft." For instance, military tours (service time) are being extended. Army members signed up for a tour period of six months, for example, are being kept on tour for over a year. Army members are being pulled out of retirement. This is Bush's current way of keeping troops in the war. This is also pissing a shitload of people off. If this 'backdoor draft' is ever abandoned, which many people will fight to have done, then "there's only one other way to get the people for the army we need." as my unnamed relative put it. A draft.
I asked if it was more likely that there'd be a draft with Bush than with Kerry. He said at this point yes, but he also reminded me that Bush is privvy to a bit more information about the war than Kerry is, what with him being the President of the United States. He went on to say that Kerry may also chsnge his opinion of the war should he get into office and is privvy to more information.
Pretty much, what I gleamed from it is, as long as we're still at war, the draft is almost inevitable. Less likely with Kerry, but still a good chance.
And personally, I don't feel any better about any of this.

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