TO THE EDITOR:
I've noticed that several organizations on campus have hosted debates between the College Republicans and the Young Democrats, with stand-ins representing presidential candidates George Bush and John Kerry.
My question is, why? Are we really still unsure of where these candidates stand on the issues? Neither has proposed any plan for campaign finance reform, universal health care, an end to corporate welfare, a viable resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, et cetera.
Why not invite representatives of third-party candidates to present viewpoints that haven't been repeated ad nauseam?
To my ears, the Democratic and Republican platforms are merely echoes of the prevailing corporate agenda in Washington, while third parties actually have their own voice. Why not give these voices a microphone? Don't student organizations owe it to their members to present all their options in these debates?
We all know that the Commission on Presidential Debates uses criteria designed to exclude third-party candidates from the televised debates, providing a major disservice to voters. Why should our student organizations follow this model, when they are led by young, forward-thinking and hopefully open-minded individuals?
On Oct. 18, CIVIC and Project Democracy co-hosted a debate between four platforms, including the Carolina Students for Nader and the Tar Heel Libertarians. This event demonstrated that our student organizations need not be tools of the two-party system.
As concerned and informed citizens, it is our responsibility to challenge the establishment where it does not work for us, and the most critical current example of the establishment's failings is in the disappointingly similar candidates offered by the two-party system.
I hope that, in the future, our student organizations will reject the bipartisan strategy that they have favored so far for these debates, and opt for a more inclusive format worthy of their members' time.Christine Chimienti
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