I vote, but I never endorse. Seems a bit presumptuous for people in media to go around making endorsements. Ideally, media should inform, and the readers should decide.
As such, I feel compelled to put my $.02 regarding the importance of these elections. I have friends that believe that voting is either a waste of time, or an endorsement of the politically corrupt system we live in. Despite this, they're probably going to vote for Ralph Nader again.
OBAMA V. ROMNEY
My friends may be correct about our politically corrupt system (where money trumps character), however, elections do matter and they do have consequences. At the national level, one party believes in this nation's inherent right to wage permanent worldwide war. The other party believes in waging but one "legitimate" war at a time.
I think war is not legitimate ever; for the most part, war is simply about aggression, theft of land and natural resources, and [global] dominance. On this topic, the choice is stark. People should make their decision based on how much war we want for the next four or even eight years.
But of course, there are other issues. The parties have different positions on education, on the rights of women, the rights of the LGBT community, the rights of people of color, the rights of migrants, the rights of the poor and the ecological future of the planet. No doubt, everyone knows where each party stands. Thus, people should know how to vote.
ARIZONA: ADIOS ARPAIO
For those that do not live in Arizona, this is the perfect example of how elections do matter. Arizona is the new Alabama and the old Alabama. Yet, Alabama does not quite have all the quirky politicos we do; Gov. Jan Brewer; Atty. Gen. Tom Horne; (the intellectual author of the anti-ethnic studies HB 2281) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio; Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu; state school's superintendent, John Huppenthal... and the recently recalled and ousted, former State Senate President, Russell Pearce, the author of the anti-immigrant--SB 1070. To send Arpaio packing to wherever Pearce now resides alone would make the entire 2012 elections worth it. And it is possible.
Of course, each state has its own local races that are critical to issues that do matter.
THE TUCSON MINEFIELD
Seems like nowhere else are the 2012 elections most important than Tucson, Arizona. After six years of attacks from the state and local school board, the dynamic regarding the dismantling of Mexican-American Studies (MAS) may change in a big way this Tuesday. And actually, this Friday is another big day in Tucson. On that day, the special master in the historic 1978 desegregation case will make public the plan by which TUSD can be in compliance with the court, which has long determined that Tucson schools remain segregated.
The two events actually are related.
Three seats are up. The three candidates up for reelection all voted to dismantle the Mexican-American Studies department. The vote here is pretty simple; if people don't like the way they voted, then they should be voted out of office. The three are Alex Sugiyama, Miguel Cuevas and Mark Stegeman.
The question becomes who to vote in their place? For a while, there was momentum in lining up behind three candidates that had demonstrated support for MAS; Cami Juarez, Krystel Foster and Betts Putnam- Hidalgo. In this badly fractured community that we live in, people have found something to not like about each one of them.
I won't tell anyone how to vote on this, other than to say that if people would like to see the three incumbents returned to office then this is an easy choice. From my understanding, for MAS supporters, there is at least one other candidate who would be an acceptable replacement. Voters should take the time to research this. Voters should also be cognizant that a leading member of TU4SD, the group that has consistently opposed MAS, strongly endorses Dr. Stegeman and John Hunnicutt.
TUCSON'S NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE
It is quite amazing that these races for the Tucson school board actually have a national significance. If after this election is over and our community has three sympathetic candidates, regardless of what the special master reveals, our community should be in the driver's seat. If this comes to pass, it is our community (perhaps a community coalition) that needs to tell our representatives on the school board what we want and how we should proceed. What we all seem to agree on is that a multicultural studies program is acceptable, but not on the grave or ashes of the highly successful MAS department. MAS must be reinstated, expanded and if anything, exported.
Regardless of how this plays out, of concern to our community in Tucson is also the fate of former MAS director, Sean Arce and MAS teacher, Jose Gonzalez, who are facing what appears to be a blatantly frivolous lawsuit (to get information on that case click here).
Elections do matter; a sympathetic school board will indeed make all the difference in the world... and I would also presume that this world would be better off with less war.