Why I Am Voting

 

By Kiran Misra

When I first watched this video, the question “Who benefits from this exploitation?” haunted me for days. I thought about it when eating at Bartlett, when debating in my Human Dignity class.

“Who benefits from this exploitation?”

I know who does. People like me, who have remained politically inactive for years, who have remained neutral in situations of injustice. People who, by doing so, are implicitly choosing the side of the oppressor. Oppressors like those who exploit the workers in Immokalee. And I didn’t want that to be the person I chose to be. Not any more.

I donated to my first political campaign, volunteered for my first political campaign, and will vote for my first political campaign this year because I believe in the power of a campaign and, hopefully, a presidency built on the stories. Stories have immense power, to hurt and to heal, to empower and unite us.

I see myself in some of these stories, the sacrifices my parents made as immigrants to this country, the fears I have about living in a place where the humanity of society’s most vulnerable is debated instead of protected. In other stories, I don’t see myself, and that’s okay, because the Sanders campaign isn’t just about people like me, it’s about celebrating and serving the diversity of this nation. And I don’t need a policy to directly benefit me to want to vote for it, because I know it will help so many others.

It’s easy to like a video on Facebook or to talk with my friends who share similar political ideologies about why we all are behind the same candidate. Voting is harder. Voting is brave. Because voting is a way of saying, “you’re wrong,” to all the people who say my individual vote will never make a difference. Going to the polls is a way of saying, “I’m going to spend my one and only precious vote on a candidate who might not win because I have hope in the power that this radical empathy can have,” even though I’ve been told I am being overly idealistic and naive. Voting is saying “I can’t remain silent any longer,” it’s saying “I choose to care.” And that’s brave.

Being able to not vote is an enormous privilege, because if you can choose not to vote, it’s only because your humanity, dignity, and future aren’t contingent on who gets the nomination. It means you’re safe no matter who wins. Not everyone is that lucky. And I am voting for those people, too.

Every vote does matter. Too many people fought so hard and sacrificed so much to guarantee this right for it not to matter. Sanders is leading the Illinois polls and now it’s just about showing up. Voting takes less than an hour and for people like me, who’ve procrastinated and haven’t registered in Illinois yet, same day registration is possible every day until the primary is over. Let’s prove we’re better than all the people who spit out the word millennial like its a dirty word, who see our generation as self-interested and myopic. Because this vote isn’t just about electing a person, one person can only do so much. It’s about having a say in the issues our country chooses to care about for the next 8 years. And that’s worth an hour of my time.

 

Kiran Misra is a third-year in the College. She is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

 

 

 

Check out our UC Dems “Campaigning” Page!

Be sure to bookmark our website’s “Campaigning” tab for live updates on events, volunteer opportunities, and ways you can get involved on all the local, state, and national races in the Chicago area. The Illinois Primary falls on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 – (Note: this is the Primary for ALL races, not just Presidential)

Also feel free to email Robin Ye at robinye@uchicago.edu if you know of an event and would like to help spread the word.

We hope the website can be a useful resource!

 

 

 

 

UC Dems Exec Board Election Results!

UC Democrats Executive Board Election RESULTS

Thank you to all who turned out for our election on February 22, 2016!

Congratulations to the the UC Dems Executive Board for 2016-2017:

  • President – Rachel Neuburger

  • Executive Director – Mikala Cohen

  • Treasurer – Mary McNicholas

  • Events Director – Daniel Jellins

  • Communication Directors (2) – Hadiya Hewitt & Sonia Schlesinger

  • Political Director – Nico Aldape

  • Secretary – Ryan Thornton

We’ll have more info about our wonderful new board members up very soon. Stay tuned!

Typical Musings from Dems Meetings

By Rachel Neuburger

The UC Dems meet on Thurdays at 6:00 pm in Harper 145. Come out tonight to hear from Daniel Comeaux (BA ’14), a UC Dems Alum who now works at Civic Consulting Alliance!

Last Thursday, the UC Dems met in Harper to chat about the state of the 2016 presidential race. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle where headlines, soundbites, and punditry inundate us from all corners – media social, traditional, and virtual alike – it was nice to take some time to go over the results, think about the implications, and to evaluate how the way we consume the news and the people who provide it to us change campaign narratives. What follows is a summary of a few of the things we discussed.

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We hope these two continue to duke it for the rest of the school year!

First, we looked at this table of the New Hampshire primary results:

Trump 35.3% 10 delegates Sanders 60.4% 15 delegates
Kasich 15.8% 4 Clinton 38% 9
Cruz 11.7% 3 O’Malley (!) 0.3% 0
Jeb! 11% 3
Rubio 10.6% 3
Christie 7.4% 0
Fiorina 4.1% 0
Carson 2.3% 0
Gilmore & Co. 0% 0

A few interesting points, as Mike Allen and various other news sources have written: First of all, pollsters predicted wins for Bernie and Trump in New Hampshire; these results show that the era of the pollster has not come to an end, as so many people have repeatedly predicted. The political milieu lives to fight another day! People are still voting for O’Malley. Gilmore is still running for president. As the New York Times so delicately (and, as much as it pains me to say it, condescendingly) put it, Trump voters actually exist

Then there are the drop-outs: Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina. We pretty much agreed with what a lot of us were reading online — that Christie contributed quite a bit to Rubio’s breakdown (down, down goes the rising star of the GOP) without actually doing anything constructive for the field or pushing the political conversation in a positive direction. He received only 7.4% of the vote in a state where he had the endorsement of a major newspaper. In New Jersey, his approval ratings are their lowest ever. We wondered if we’ll see him on the national stage again — will the tough-talking governor with prosecutorial experience be as appealing four years from now?

And, of course, we are faced with the sad fact that it is 2016 and in a field of nine candidates, only one is a woman. Farewell, Carly.

Journalists have been talking about the two “lanes” of candidates within the GOP field: the establishment lane (Kasich, Jeb!, Rubio) and the anti-establishment “outsider” lane (Cruz, Trump, Fiorina). Within these lanes are questions about appealing to evangelicals, moderates, independents, members of minority groups, and a whole lot of other demographics. What we learned in New Hampshire, though, is that intra-lane competition is far from over, and will continue until the very last days of the contest. With Kasich vying for the nomination like never before, Jeb Bush suffering from (some) highs and (mostly) lows that seem to come on a daily basis, and Rubio as rising star, then bruised gaffe-sufferer, and now up-and-coming South Carolina contender once again, the victor of the lane will not be resolved without an extended fight. Will a strong establishment contender (with the financial and communications backing of more traditional GOP-goers) arise to fight back the Trump/Cruz crazy? Who knows. Is the answer to this question very, very important to whomever wins the Democratic nomination? On this, we were unanimous: without a doubt.

Regardless: on to the South!

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Trump gestures towards rivals Rubio and Cruz during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston
Le Sigh

 

Rachel Neuburger is a second-year in the College. She is from Chappaqua, NY

A Primer on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

timeline20of20israel20palestine

Timeline of land transfers between Israel and Palestine

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is characterized by its deeply rooted polarizing nature. The themes of nations, homelands, and ownership are all enveloped in the conflict. The background of the conflict resides in the United Nations Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel on the 14th of May, 1948. Many Jewish Zionists had been moving into the territory of Palestine in an effort to live in the land of the “Chosen People” and in 1948 the wishes of the Zionists were granted. On that same day the Arab League declared war on Israel and invaded the new country from all sides. The result of the war was 15,000 dead, the West Bank annexed by Jordan, and the Gaza Strip taken by Egypt. These areas were not under Israeli control until the 6 Day War occurred in 1967. After another Israeli victory, control over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, populated almost entirely with Palestinians, was handed to Israel.

Consequently, in 1987 the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) occurred as a response to Israeli occupation of lands that Palestinians primarily lived in. The result of the uprising was the Oslo Accords peace deal in 1993 which granted a Palestinian governing body in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip called the Palestinian National Authority. This deal was opposed by both radical Palestinian groups like Hamas and radical Israelis alike (one of whom assassinated the Israeli Prime Minister Rabin). In 2000 tensions boiled over and the Second Intifada occurred. Around 130 people were killed and in 2005 Israel agreed to pull all soldiers out of the Gaza Strip. Immediately following the disengagement of Israeli soldiers in Gaza, Hamas took control by winning 44% of the Palestinian parliament in 2006. Hamas refused to acknowledge the right of the State of Israel to exist, prompting Israeli sanctions and blockades of resources to the Gaza Strip. Rockets are still launched from Hamas controlled territory in Gaza into Israeli lands.

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The areas in most dispute

            One of the many prominent issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today is the creation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and whether or not they are legally allowed to be there. After the Six Day War and in the 1990s, Israel began to reestablish communities that had been destroyed in the 1948 invasion of Israel. These settlements and communities exist within the West Bank territory that has been delegated to the Palestinians. In 2009 around 300,000 people lived in the West Bank settlements. Many countries and transnational organizations like the EU have called out Israel for allowing the settlements exist. The argument is that the settlements damage any prospect for a peace talk between Israelis and Palestinians to occur. Israel backs up its own settlements by citing various Geneva Convention articles and resolutions from the UN Security Council. In 2009 Obama declared that the US would not accept the legitimacy of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Almost eight years later and the fundamentals of the conflict haven’t changed. While attention has turned towards Syria, Iraq and the advent of ISIS, the longstanding conflict is still a formidable problem.

 

The West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel

The West Bank Settlements in 2013

 

Simon Cohen is a second-year in the college. He is from El Cerrito, California (Bay Area).