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September 1, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Elections galore

Since the next few months are going to be dominated by three elections, you’ll notice Salient become a lot more political in this last quarter of the year. And no, this doesn’t mean I’m gonna be filling up the magazine with anti-prohibition advocacy, although drug prohibition is still a serious political issue; I mean we will try to focus on every major current political issue to help you cast your votes in the most useful way you can.

The three upcoming elections are of course the New Zealand general election, the VUWSA executive’s elections, and the US presidential election. Sadly, most of you cannot vote in the one election that will have the most impact upon the world and its future, and I often feel that given the globally important role of the US president, there must be some way for us to have our say on this issue. And, for what it’s worth, I’d like to come out here and now as an Obamaphile. If Obama was a candidate in New Zealand’s parliamentary elections, I might not vote for him – he’s far more conservative than me. However, given how fucked the bipartisan US political system is, and given how bad the last few presidents have been, I cannot imagine anyone more suited to doing this job well – and replenishing the USA’s image in the eyes of the rest of the world – than Mr Obama. Perhaps I’m just being naïve, and an Obama presidency won’t stop the rot – but unlike any other candidate, he might at least have a slim chance of doing some good, and it’s worth taking the chance.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand elections will continue to get the most coverage, but much of what the newshounds tend to focus on will be personality politics and shit that doesn’t really matter, so we’ll try to cover actual policy issues in the next few weeks – from reforming the Resource Management Act to fixing Wellington’s District Health Board.

The VUWSA election probably seems the least important, but you’ll soon be voting to elect a group of students to manage $1.5m of your money. Last year’s election was actually quite interesting, because a coordinated group of students ran on a right-wing ‘A Team’ platform: calling the sitting exec ‘muppets’, the A Team promised to reduce the annual levy we pay to VUWSA by reducing clubs’ funding. While some of their advertising was childishly personal, their presence could have created lively debate over the future of VUWSA. Sadly, the left responded with even worse personal attacks: members of Young Labour put up posters accusing the A Team of being ‘sexist’, then hypocritically put up other posters calling one of the female A Team members a ‘whore’. I don’t raise this example to try to shit on Young Labour, but I do think we really need to stress that this sort of campaigning is unacceptable, and to plead with all candidates to debate policy, not throw around personal attacks.

Don’t worry – it won’t all be politics, and we will continue to publish four-page rants about how to get a girlfriend, along with the hand-drawn cartoons people put into the purple box in the Student Union Building atrium. But that voting shit is pretty important, and we do have to think about it.Elections

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Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

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