Scare tactics permeate campus politics

By Laura Keslar
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Everyone ought to vote. After all, if you don't vote, you are tacitly supporting rape - or so says Cameron Diaz. And if you vote for the wrong person (read: George W. Bush), then be prepared to be drafted into the military.

Yes. You heard me right. A draft. Something America hasn't heard supported in popular circles since the end of Vietnam. But this time, the draft isn't solely being discussed as a conspiracy by weird fringe groups; this time, a conscription has been proposed in both houses of Congress that would require both men and women between the ages of 18 and 26 to serve in the military regardless of their educational status.

So that means both you and I would be eligible for the draft, if these bills are passed. And we all know that President Bush, if re-elected, will not veto either of them. After all, has he vetoed any bill that has come to him?

I guess it's time to pack the bags and head to Canada. Either that, or don't vote for Bush. Yes, that must be the solution. A vote for Bush is a vote for the draft.

Oh, wait. Only believe me if you believe in big fat men who eat all your cookies and milk (no, not Michael Moore - I mean Santa Claus) or chain e-mails circulating the Internet.

After all, these two bills in Congress have more chance of seeing the light of day than the Linux geek next door has of ever scoring with a girl. The bill in the House has only 14 co-sponsors, and the bill in the Senate has garnered no support whatsoever. And the sponsors of both bills haven't even been pushing their legislation. In fact, the bills have been languishing away in committee for almost two years. How are they, then, to be expected to ever reach the floor of the House, much less the president?

Not only that, but neither bill has received any support from the Republican Party or the Republican president. Of the 14 people supporting the bill in the House, none of them are Republicans. And the sponsors of both bills, Charlie Rangel from New York and Fritz Hollings from South Carolina, have upper-case Ds following their names.

And the Bush administration has adamantly opposed the idea of a draft. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has denied the necessity, and Vice President Cheney has called it "hogwash." The very idea that the republican power structure supports a draft is ludicrous. It's simply not going to happen, even if President Bush is re-elected; to propose so is nothing more than an attempt to scare up a reaction against Bush. Clearly, it is not Republicans supporting the proposal.

Yet, regardless of the accuracy of the claims of a draft, everyone seems to be screaming that the sky is falling.

On campus, the Young Democrats have a sign propped up against their tent on the Mall that says, "Vote Bush and win a free trip to Iraq," and Project Democracy representatives have been busy in classrooms and on the Mall circulating the idea that the re-introduction of the draft is a possibility based upon the results of this election.

Off campus, even Rock the Vote and Dan Rather have implied that the draft is coming back, with Rock the Vote disseminating an e-mail and airing a commercial indicating the likelihood of the return of the draft.

But even though the rumors of a draft have been denied by almost everyone - Republicans and nonpartisan groups alike - these groups have maintained their positions and perpetuated what has become the new urban myth of the current election, spreading fear of a Vietnam-esque conscription.

Why? Well, in the case of almost all the groups involved in the perpetuation (minus Dan Rather, who must be trying to commit professional suicide) of the myth, it's to mobilize the youth and educate them. And with the YD sign, who is going to deny that its purpose is to cause students to vote for Kerry - or at least, not for Bush.

As much as their goals are admirable, must these groups really resort to scare tactics to motivate students? Instead of feeding college students lies and half-truths with the intentions of educating us, why not give us the plain, unadulterated truth? I promise, we are grown-ups. No need to spoon-feed us with non-issues.

The draft isn't coming to a college campus near us. And students are worried about it - why, again? All because an e-mail warned us. So, when again did we start believing chain e-mails? I thought we gave that up along with our belief in the Easter Bunny.

Laura Keslar is a pre-pharmacy junior. She can be reached at