Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NewU: Young Dems Rally the Vote, Reps Protest

The NewU's take on the Cindy Sheehan event which I blogged about previously - which apparently Cindy Sheehan couldn't make due to the flu.

Link to article (includes photographs of the event)

Young Dems Rally the Vote, Reps Protest
Politics: Actors, advocate parent and assemblyman urge voting across partisan lines.
By Stella Cho
Staff Writer

While the Iraq War, upcoming California propositions and voter participation were central topics at the Young Democrats of UC Irvine’s “Get Out and Vote Rally” on Oct. 30, Assemblyman Steve Young’s campaign for the 48th District seat in the House of Representatives was the driving force behind speeches, inciting protest from campus Republicans.

The noon rally at Anteater Plaza was held in conjunction with the Orange County Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America to encourage UCI students to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

This sparked much opposition among Republican students on campus, who expressed their disagreement with posters that read, “Friends don’t let friends vote Democrat” and “Screw this B.S. I’m voting Republican.” An older man held a sign reading, “Another veteran, Christian and Republican opposed to the war!”

Nonetheless, when Young approached the microphone, he thanked both parties for coming out and expressing their support or opposition.

He continued by asking the audience to meet and thank the student protesters after the rally. Apathy, Young said, was the bigger enemy.

“Be we Republican, Democrat [or] Socialist … it is time to be Americans first,” Young said. “We are so divided, the rhetoric is destroying us. What is the goal of America for the next 50 years? We’re trying to run a country without a vision. Remember that ‘He serves his party best when he serves his country first.’”

Young said that America should “let the Arab world solve the Arab problems” and alluded to “a solution that could get [America] out [of Iraq] in three months.”

Picketing Republicans like Brock Hill, a fourth-year political science major and president of the College Republicans at UCI, disagreed with Young’s plan for withdrawal.

“My personal position is that we need Congress to finish the job and Democrats aren’t letting this war work,” Hill said. “No one wants troops killed, but we need to finish the job, whether it is for weapons of mass destruction [or another reason].”

Actor Ed Asner and his wife Cindy were present to encourage the community to vote for Steve Young, whom Asner referred to as “the selection.”

Asner animatedly said that “wicked forces” were “demonizing” Michael J. Fox by alleging that he exaggerated symptoms of Parkinson’s disease for political reasons, referring to comments made by Rush Limbaugh in the past weeks about Fox’s condition.

Asner also alleged that Republicans tried to get people to sign papers to change their party affiliation under the guise of showing support for universal health care.

Asner shared Young’s abhorrence for voter apathy.

“It is meaningless if we don’t practice and we can’t find the time to remember [to vote],” Asner said. “You are a political force in America. If you care about it, vote. Consider the power you can exert by voting, … [get] off your butts and vote on Tuesday, Nov. 7.”

Also present at the rally were Tim Carpenter, executive director of PDA, and Mimi Kennedy, chair of PDA and an actress who plays Dharma’s hippie mother on television’s “Dharma and Greg.”

“Our country is interfering violently in the world right now,” Kennedy said. “Yes, we have conflicts to work out, but not with violence.”

Cindy Sheehan, PDA national advisory board member and peace advocate, who famously protested outside of President George W. Bush’s ranch in Texas after her son was killed in the Iraq war, could not make her scheduled appearance at the rally because of the flu, but she did a short Q-and-A on speaker phone.

“We should all vote for peace ... work for peace and support people who are doing that,” Sheehan said.

The Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyers Guild was also present at the rally to promote their projects to counter efforts to recruit young adults for the military. A common myth about joining the military, according to the NLG, is that it will help pay for schooling.

“Most of [the students] do not receive the benefits for several reasons,” said Ellen Radovic, a lawyer and a member of the NLG. “Some factors include how well you perform and the payment of $1200, which – even if the person decides not to go to college or doesn’t qualify – they don’t get their money back.”

An on campus polling place is located at the Cross-Cultural Center. The closest off campus polling place is at Bethel Korean Church, located at 18700 Harvard Ave, Irvine, CA 92612 or at University High School.

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