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Vote Today for Ted Kennedy’s Successor

Since this is the last week of classes, you undoubtedly have many things to do today. Nevertheless, please take a few minutes to go to your polling location (Kresge Auditorium for most students who live on campus) and vote in the special election primary to choose the next US senator to represent the state of Massachusetts.

On Saturday, I went door-to-door canvassing for Alan Khazei, one of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination today. (If you want to find out more about why Khazei is awesome, you can read his endorsement by the Boston Globe, by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC, or by General Wesley Clark). A remarkable number of the voters I encountered did not know that there is an election today, Tuesday, December 8. (A November poll found that ninety-three percent of Democratic voters did not know the date of the special election primary, and seventy-three percent were unable to even identify the month in which the election would occur). So, if you had no idea that there was going to be an election today, you are not alone. Since U.S. Senate elections are important, this is an unfortunate situation. The Senate seat in contention was previously held not only by Ted Kennedy, but also by John F. Kennedy, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster. Once informed about the election, no one that I met did not care about it. In fact, people were surprised that they did not know about it already.

So, change your Facebook and chat statuses to: “Vote today for Alan Khazei for U.S. Senate. Change your status to this message,” (or, in support of whoever you think is the best candidate). And most importantly, if you are eligible to vote in the state of Massachusetts, go vote!

Rachel Sealfon G

Yes, You Are Part Of the Checks and Balances

On the one hand, I agree with Craig Broady (December 4, “Things that Are Political and Paradoxical”) that unfettered cynicism about government is destructive, and that we should acknowledge that none of us personally knows the best solution to every policy issue facing our government. On the other hand, I object strongly to his conclusion.

Mr. Broady wrote, “There exist checks and balances within the government. You are not part of those checks and balances.” Yes you are! Yes we all are. To rely too much on the checks and balances within government is to abdicate responsibility for what is done in our names. Also, at times in history — including very recently — one branch of government has failed in its duty to check the excesses of another. It is only the pressure of public outcry — the ultimate check and balance — that has any chance of correcting such situations between elections. This is why freedom of speech and freedom of the press are so precious.

As a middle-aged citizen interested in the long-term survival of our unique and worthy, if flawed, governmental system, I implore younger citizens to apply their critical thinking skills to our government at least as much as to their studies and their work. By all means, speak loudly in support when you believe the government is doing right. What is crucial, though, is to speak loudly in protest when you believe our leaders are doing wrong.

Riley Hart

MIT Administrative Staff