Politics no Less Dirty Than Poker

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By Leonardo Surdo, Staff Writer Poker is a game that rewards coercion and deceit. Imagine fourpeople sitting at a table enjoying a rousing game of “Texas Hold’Em.” Two players have really lousy hands, while the other two arecarrying a “full house” and a “flush.” The latter naturally thinkthey have an advantage over the others, although they are clueless asto what the other players are holding. The players with lousy handswill make the most of what they were dealt, and in some cases “bluff”their way out of it.

Political elections have become a poker game. As we get closer andcloser to November, I am reminded of how few politicians choose todebate about the real issues. Politics, in theory, is about matureindividuals negotiating over the fair allocation of resources, andhopefully, coming to a compromise. In reality, however, it is moreconcerned with publicly humiliating or destroying your politicalopponents.

The Bush administration are experts in coming up with cleverstrategies to outwit rival parties. Oddly enough, the Republicanscan’t find anything demeaning on Ralph Nader, so they are overtlypumping millions of dollars into Nader’s campaign, hoping to get himon the ballot in several states. I think this is genius. Nader ismore of a threat to the Democratic Party than he is for theRepublican one. According to a recent Associated Press column,Democrats argue that “Nader’s presence on the 2000 ballot cost Gorethe presidency.” The state Democratic Party in Florida is now suingto keep him off the ballot. The Conservatives know some people aredisillusioned with both parties, and because Nader has virtually nochance of winning, his only accomplishment will be to continueseizing votes that would normally go to the Democratic Party.Likewise, because of the fact many voters are sticking to the”Anybody but Bush” mentality, many democrats view Nader as the”spoiler” to their preferred party.

It is important to re-emphasize the point that both parties, aswell as the media, have yet to find anything that would debaseNader’s character in any manner. This proves he is a person ofintegrity, but not without impurities. His initial “nice guy”approach has resorted to name calling and pointing the finger at hispolitical counterparts. It is reported, for example, that Naderrecently called democrats “gutless, spineless, clueless and hapless,”and while this is childish and counterproductive, this pattern is notlimited to the Green Party. One can recall how Schwarzeneggar calledhis liberal counterparts at the Republican Convention “girlie men.”The endless correlation between appointment and gossip boggles themind, especially since scandals always seem to break out duringelection time.

Prior to Governor Schwarzenegger running for office, the averageAmerican was clueless of his fondness for women’s breasts or thesuspicion that his father was supposedly a Nazi. Liz Marlantes of theChristian Science Monitor says, “The aggressive maneuveringdemonstrates that, despite George W. Bush’s promise to ‘change thetone’ in politics, the nation’s partisan warfare is continuing, evenintensifying, spreading from Washington to the States.”

But for the moment, politicians on Capitol Hill are digging upundisclosed defects from their opponent’s younger days. Did Kerrytruly receive two Purple Hearts after getting shrapnel in his thighand a bullet in the arm after only a few short months? Did Clintonreally inhale? These are past, almost insignificant scenarios, whichare heightened to the extreme in order to avoid the real issues likeeducation, unemployment and healthcare. Shouldn’t the voters demandmore from their hopeful nominees? It is my aspiration for youngadults to educate themselves and get more involved in the politicalprocess. People shouldn’t allow unsophisticated diversion to get inthe way of a better tomorrow because, as Malcolm X once said,”Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

– Leonardo Surdo is an English junior.

– This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of TheDaily Aztec. Send e-mail to letters@thedailyaztec.com.Anonymous letters will not be printed – include your fullname, major and year in school.