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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 18, 2012 6:30 AM

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Beware slogans

Former Gov. Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican candidate against President Obama in the general election in November. This early probability is justified by the fact that Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, decided to suspend his candidacy campaign. The question is, now, should the American people believe his promises?

What have we learned from previous election campaigns?

During his presidential campaign in 1968, Richard Nixon, knowing that the American people wanted to end the war in Vietnam and win the peace in the Pacific, pledged that "new leadership," with him as president, was needed in Washington. He offered to do that during the first six months in office.

Likewise, during his campaign in 2008, Obama promised hope and change in Washington and to shut down Guantánamo.

What history tells us is that Nixon never had a plan to end the war in six months — that his secret plans to end the war was a campaign strategy. Obama found out that he could not close Guantánamo Bay without the U.S. Congress's approval — Congress had the power, not the president.

My point, refreshing your mind, is to say that presidential campaign is completely different from the reality.

When the elected president assumes office, he has to work with Congress and cannot always respect the promises made because the Congress has to approve (Obama and Guantánamo Bay).

In certain cases, the promises made are just a campaign slogan designed to meet the population's desires.

Some Americans don't bother to vote because they know that all the promises are merely slogans — discouraged to enjoy their civil right to vote. Sometimes, the candidate makes us believe that everything is easy at the White House and that the presidential candidate or the former president merely chose not to make right decisions.

What I want the electorate in our community to understand is that the next president should not be elected for what he has promised but for his ability to deal with unexpected things: globalization's influences, international security, terrorism, crime against humanity, financial crisis, and many others.

Put more weight on factors such as competence, honesty, ideology, and experience. These, will help you make a right choice and to avoid previous mistakes. Vote for the person you believe in and not for the one who tells you that he is going to make everything possible.

Henri Joel Nkuepo
UI College of Law research scholar

Letter to the Editor

The Penny4nasa campaign, founded in March, is an attempt to increase federal funding for space-science programs. The premise is that NASA is underfunded and "We the People" want to do something about it. Notable figures such as Neil deGrasse Tyson have asserted that if we double the budget of NASA to 1 percent of the total federal budget, we will be able to return to the Moon and go to Mars and beyond, soon. See, NASA's budget is 0.4 percent of the federal budget — even when doubled, would not amount to 1 percent.

This campaign is not asking for much — $850 billion was spent on the bank bailout, which is more than NASA has received in all 54 years of its existence. Think of it this way: For less than the price of the bailout, we have paid for ALL the Moon landings, all the astronauts, the missions to Mars, the Hubble space telescope, the International Space Station, all 10 NASA centers, the Kepler observatory, the Voyager missions … The list could go on, but I digress. In short, NASA is underfunded to do what it needs to do: making dreams come true.

"How much would you pay for the universe?" How much would you pay for a manned mission to Mars? What would you pay for a secure future for your children? How much would you pay for all the technologies — LEDs, artificial limbs, memory foam, water purification, pollution remediation, and freeze drying, and many more — NASA has inspired? How about one penny on the dollar?

Ben Ungs
UI student


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