Vote for real solutions Tuesday; vote for Kerry

Now is the time for us to change the future course of the United States by electing John Kerry.

The issues in the race are defined. The debates are over. The only thing left to do is vote. President George W. Bush’s campaign has run on attack ads, fear-mongering and dividing the U.S. electorate over issues that have nothing to do with national security or the economy.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry’s campaign offers us hope and real solutions to the crisis in Iraq, the war on terror and the exploding budget deficit.

We know Kerry believes the United States can do better for our middle class. Bush believes continued tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and unprecedented levels of corporate welfare are the answer.

Kerry believes we need to ensure Social Security is there for us in the future; Bush wants to privatize it. Kerry stands for ensuring that every woman maintains her constitutional right to planned-for pregnancies; while Bush believes the role of government should be to eliminate abortion.

Kerry is for maintaining the separation of church and state founded in the Constitution, while Bush continues to blur these lines. Kerry is for expanded funding of potentially life-saving stem cell research, which Bush opposes. This is not news; these are the candidates’ stated positions.

National security has been spoken of by many as the most important issue in this race. I agree. This is not a partisan issue. As one who supported Bush, served as an intelligence officer in Iraq and is now an outspoken advocate for Kerry, I urge you to elect a commander in chief who will base his policies on truth, not propaganda; one who will work with our friends and allies; and one who will not blame the U.S. intelligence community and our troops for his administration’s failure to plan.

Kerry believes in building strong alliances, because the only way we can launch global intelligence operations to pursue and eliminate the threat of global Islamic terror is to work cooperatively with the community of nations. Bush’s administration has led us down the lonely road of isolationism and rash conventional military action.

In the past three years, we’ve seen Bush squander the opportunity of unprecedented global unity after Sept. 11, 2001, push away our traditional allies, lose Osama bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan, launch a misguided war in Iraq, violate the Geneva convention and play to the special interests of his own wealthy, corporate supporters.

Taxes were cut while our troops drove unarmored Humvees in the explosive-laden streets of Afghanistan and Iraq.

No-bid contracts to Halliburton were pushed through in a bad appropriations bill, while overcharging by Halliburton has failed to be fully investigated and corrected.

Our troops have made tremendous sacrifices, while the president refuses to ask the government to balance its budget. The deficit has soared to unprecedented levels, there is a net job loss Ö and still, this president believes he has made the right choices.

Kerry has already proposed real solutions to help resolve the mess in Iraq and pursue global terror without resorting to a draft. By adding two active-duty, all-volunteer divisions and doubling the size of Special Forces, we can begin working toward resolution of the debacle in Iraq while enhancing our ability to hunt and kill those who would do harm to the United States.

Meanwhile, Bush has already resorted to involuntary contract extensions and the back-door draft of a “stop-loss” policy on our Reserves and National Guardsmen. Those troops can be better used defending the United States.

Minnesota Republicans have openly stated that their goal in watching the polls in Minnesota is to reduce the number of ballots cast by challenging the rights to vote of our students and minority populations.

We cannot let this stand. We must get to the polls Tuesday. Under state law, employers must pay workers to take time off and vote, so I excuse you all from class Tuesday to get out and be counted.

Any student in Minnesota can register and vote here Tuesday. You must have resided in the state for more than 20 days and have a valid student ID card and proof of address.

If you are challenged, do NOT leave the polling place until your ballot has been cast; talk to your election judge, talk to a Democratic legal voting rights team member, or call the Voter Protection Hotline at (888) 424-2004. Your voice must be heard. All Americans have the right to vote, and whomever you are voting for, we will work to defend that right.

The United States can do better for our troops, ourselves and the future. We know how Bush has failed us over the last three years and that he has promised us only more of the same. Now is the time for us to change the future course of the United States by electing Kerry, a proven leader who has the wisdom, ability and conviction to put the United States back on the right track.

Andrew Borene is a University law student. Please send comments to [email protected]