Letters to the Editor

The real Sarah Palin

Last Thursday, my friend Andrew Clark wrote a column detailing the effects Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could have on the presidential race (“Picking apart Palin, McCain’s wild-card VP,” p. 4). While he did note some vulnerabilities, for the most part his piece extolled Palin’s virtues as a true conservative, a fresh face and a compelling choice for middle America. I know people will agree when I say these claims couldn’t be farther from the truth.

To be fair, I agree that Palin unites the Republican base. But since Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had already pulled in most conservatives simply by opposing a guy whose middle name is Hussein, I’m not sure why he thought he needed extra help. And unifying the base is the only benefit Palin brings to this haplessly mismatched duo.

Palin’s freshness actually hurts the ticket. Independents admired McCain’s experience but were always wary of his age and melanoma history. Understandably, these folks aren’t reassured by the possibility of a Miss Alaska runner-up in charge of the nuclear arsenal. The selection of Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shows judgment by reinforcing his foreign policy message, but Palin’s addition only highlights McCain’s shortcomings and does nothing to bolster his dubious claims of sound judgment.

Being a New Jersey Democrat, I’m no expert on swing-voter psychology, but I find it hard to believe that Palin’s breathtakingly flimsy résumé will resonate with bread-and-butter voters in Ohio or Pennsylvania. Not to mention the fact that Palin has come down on the wrong side of issues like wasteful spending, political corruption and even women’s rights. We all abhor pork-barrel projects, but they won’t stop under a vice president who was for the “bridge to nowhere” boondoggle before she was against it. Of course we want to end favoritism in politics, but we’ll get even more by electing someone who allegedly dismissed a public official because he wouldn’t fire her ex brother-in-law. And all of us respect female candidates but not ones who would force an impregnated rape victim to carry the perpetrator’s child to term.

The best part is she’s only been a national figure for a couple weeks. After her vicious RNC speech, Sarah Palin has made it clear she wants the focus on Obama, not her. And based on the sordid details already unearthed from the Alaska permafrost, who can blame her?

Matt Ingoglia, Communications director of the College Democrats

Drinking age should be lowered

Frank Broomell’s column about maintaining the drinking age is full of half-truths and balderdash (“Defending the drinking age,” Sept. 8, p. 4). He gives one statistic from the past but fails to give the comparative statistic from the present. He fails to make any substantive point about keeping the drinking age the same.

Let’s start with the first statistic he cites from the Centers for Disease Control study about countries with 18 years old as the drinking age. He said that only “fatalities” increased by 10 percent. Those aren’t alcohol-related fatalities or even college-age deaths – just overall fatalities in the country.

There are plenty of extenuating circumstances to explain a higher fatality rate. From 1982 to the 2006, alcohol-related fatalities in the U.S. dropped by 23 percent. It has nothing to do with Congress passing the drinking-age act.

The biggest reason why the drinking age should be lowered is that people are now more informed about the dangers of drunk driving. There are no significant signs that indicate lowering the drinking age to 18 would further endanger society. More and more people who go out drinking are carpooling and taking public transportation – especially D.C. college students. On a Friday night, F Street is full of drunken kids from Thurston Hall to the Allen Lee Hotel. If the drinking age were lowered, people would still drink, but student safety and health would improve. With proper access to medical care without fear of repercussion, many fatal overdoses could be saved.

Also, at least from experience, people older than 21 are far more mature about alcohol than minors. The current drinking age creates a “forbidden fruit” complex, making getting totally trashed so much more attractive. We were kids in high school. Most of us now have jobs and pay bills. We are adults. We are told so every day by our parents, our teachers and our bosses. Lowering the drinking age would be an acknowledgment of our adulthood.

Riaan Ahmed, Junior

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