Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Editorial: Rays of hope diminished \ \ \ \ \

In a room full of inky black, there’s a pinprick of light and it might be the light from some sort of progress or it might be the last little beam of fairness in this ridiculous world of ours. I’m hoping for the former but fearing that it’s the latter.

Gore beat Bush by 300,000 votes and conceded the election last night, making that ray all the narrower and smaller.

It’s a damned double bind, and it doesn’t make an ounce of sense. It also doesn’t seem remotely fair, but that’s the way the proverbial chocolate chip cookie of possible pleasure crumbles. These are the little pieces that get swept under the rug, like the abject voter fraud, the subsequent non-counts of legitimate votes and the very real possibility that minorities were prevented from voting. Want to talk about an equal standard for all? Better be willing to enforce one, as minorities weren’t treated equally by any stretch of anyone’s imagination.

No matter where we looked this year, politics sucked like a chest wound. Gore couldn’t campaign to save his life, the American public did(n’t) elect George W. Bush and hell’s bells, we had similar problems here at fine ol’ UMass. The Student Government Association gets elected, then they’re kind of elected, then they’re not elected anymore.

So who really won? Well Bush won literally (he’s going to be the next President), and so did Jeff Howe and Seth Avakian (say what they want, but they’re trying to have a Senate that’s not aggressively against them).
Who really came out in the middle? Gore, who probably hasn’t seen his political career ended, although there are still those looking to push the knife in his ribcage just far enough to pierce his heart. Same with the Senators who got sacked last Wednesday night; most will rerun for office and get their seats back next February or whenever those elections are completed, again barring legitimate legal challenges.

In every competition there’s winners and there’s losers: unfortunately the losers in this case were everyone else, and that includes you and me, as well as men and women of the black silky satin – judges who saw their credibility hit rock bottom as they were used and abused by candidates.

First with the judges. The Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court and our own student Judiciary all got used as pawns by those who either sought or had power. The Supreme Courts turned and returned and overturned and underturned decisions, again and again, before finally saying that while one solution should work, there wasn’t enough time for any to be actually found. A cop-out? Damned straight it’s a cop-out. On campus, Gabe Tavarez’s judiciary made the decision that it probably had to, and while they obviously went way too far in saying that Big Jim Eltringham should be brought up on Code of Student Conduct charges (he shouldn’t be), their decision was probably slightly more fair than most people, including roughly everybody involved and nobody else, really think. The problem with both decisions was who really ended up benefiting, because it wasn’t the rule of law or the people: it was candidates.

Bush got his precious Oval Office and he’d better like it because he’ll be moving on out in four years. Jeff and Seth will probably get their neutered Senate, but they better enjoy that because they only get to abuse them for a few meetings more before it’s election time and we wave fondly as both head off into the Senate on their white mini-pony.

Those were the winners – the true losers were people, common people, from the Gore voter in Florida who punched the whole for Buchanan to the random freshman Senator from Sylvan who lost all faith in a Senate that claims to represent students. While the nation’s economy is suddenly grinding down, our candidates are fighting amongst each other. Car companies are cutting thousands of jobs, but better get a chad counted or not counted, depending on who you support. (Insert the eye rolls at any point here.)

Meanwhile, on campus, the powers that be decided that students should get almost two full days to study – two, but not really two full days – instead, we get a buck and a half. Six quarters and nobody seems to have noticed. A quick call to other campuses around the nation reveals that, hell, even our biggest arch-rival in the world (although arch suggests, I suppose, the ability to not get destroyed on neutral courts) UConn grants two full days for studying. Other schools? U-Montana gives the ranchers out there two days, and a call back home to West Virginia U. revealed a two-day break. Seems slightly fishy, maybe our Student Government might stand up for students who are getting the big short changed stick right to the face, but unfortunately, the SGA can’t. Cause we don’t have one.

It’s a disturbing thing when the people that are supposed to care, the people that are supposed to be concerned, care more for their own petty issues than the well-being of all of us. That’s the nature of politics, nasty little barbs that I study for larks and generally despise in practice. The fact is that with any politics that end up with the good guys losing (all of us) and the bad guys winning (people that care more for their own needs than the needs of those that gave them their office), there’s reason to be a cynic.

So maybe there’s hope in the future, maybe the sun’s rising on a dark campus and a dark nation, but there’s no proof and I won’t believe it till I see it.

Sam Wilkinson is a Collegian Columnist.

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