Candidates still avoiding major domestic issues

With a little more than two weeks left until Election Day, the mudslinging saga continues between the Democratic and Republican camps. Bush supporters are throwing this time the dirt in John Kerry’s direction.

In the spirit of “Fahrenheit: 9/11,” Kerry opponents have crafted their own documentary. The film, “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal,” chronicles many controversial facets of the senator’s Vietnam War experience and the testimony he made before Congress in 1971.

But unlike Michael Moore’s theater release, the anti-Kerry film is slated for broadcast on 62 television stations around the country. Many of them have been identified as network outlets in key battleground states, including Florida.

As a result, the Democratic National Committee plans to fight the media company that wants to televise the documentary. They are expected to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission citing in-kind contribution to Republican incumbent President Bush’s campaign.

Indeed, the outlet by which the documentary will be shown is significantly different from how Moore’s film was released. Channel surfers will be forced to watch the anti-Kerry film as opposed to the moviegoers who purchased tickets and viewed “Fahrenheit: 9/11” on their own volition.

However, many leaders of the Democratic Party did support that anti-Bush summer release. So would this not be an unfair attempt to smother dissenters? What the DNC must realize is the doubtful likelihood this film will take away from the Democratic constituency. At this stage, many registered ballot casters already know for whom they will vote.

In addition, the span of time between now and Nov. 2 is decreasing and the release of “Stolen Honor” can be seen as yet another desperate attempt to win over the ever-present swing voter. But undecided votes cannot be gained by such trifles. Kerry and Vietnam, Bush and Vietnam, even Ralph Nader and Vietnam, have little to do with the urgent concerns affecting the national landscape.

At best, this election has been a disappointing one in regards to the parties’ foci on disputes and 30-year-old war records instead of issues like the draft, medical insurance, an increasing AIDS/HIV epidemic and the downward-spiraling economy.

With as many pressing subject matters as these, this election season should have spent more time on debating about how to improve the people’s quality of life.

LEDGE Magazine good initiative for HIV/AIDS awareness

The disease that continues to afflict black Americans more than anything else is AIDS/HIV.

In 2002, blacks accounted for half the percentage of all AIDS cases and more than half the percentage for all instances of HIV.

Oddly enough, many college-age students have become victims of this lethal epidemic at a rising rate.

Consequently, the Black AIDS Institute will launch an AIDS/HIV awareness magazine for distribution throughout HBCU campuses beginning later this month.

LEDGE will help serve to curb efforts in reducing the incidence of AIDS/HIV among members of its new high-risk, group-black college students.

Student reporters from various HBCU campuses will provide articles about the disease’s impact on black women, what R&B singers are doing to help out and topics concerning student sexuality.

After observing the mounting numbers of students afflicted by AIDS, this publication will be just one of the many tools needed to wage war against the epidemic.

But LEDGE must be aware of the fact that the same run-of-the-mill rhetoric that has been consistently hashed out about this disease cannot become the leading voice of this publication.

A more novel approach should be taken since it is obvious, according to the recent numbers, that past initiatives such as seminars have not gotten the job done.

However, the people behind the creation of LEDGE should not settle for the mere impact of a magazine that will publish only once a semester.

A consistent stream of substantive messages from well-planned programs should bury students.