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Clarifying Moveon.org

Michael Peters | Tuesday, January 20, 2004

When I opened up the Viewpoint section on Monday and saw that there was an article reprinted from the Ohio State University (like there’s gonna be another Ohio State University) student newspaper, I was, as a lifelong Ohio resident, immediately disgusted and turned the page (as any Notre Dame fan from Ohio can understand). But I thought, “I shouldn’t be this judgmental. Give the guy a chance; maybe your tax dollars are spent on something other than Intermediate Basket Weaving Theory and Intro to Falsifying Insurance Claims.”The article, entitled “Anti-Bush TV ads are weak” was another classic example of either pitiful research or malicious lying. First of all, I should state that he was correct in one part. The ads in question were weak. There is no legitimate reason to compare George Bush to Adolf Hitler (just as there was no reason to morph former Sen. Max Cleeland’s face into the visage of Osama bin Laden as Cleeland’s Republican challenger did in the 2002 Georgia Senate race, but things happen, eh?). The difference is that the anti-Bush ads did not appear on television. They were part of a free and open contest for people to express their opinions on President Bush and were posted just like the other more than 1,500 submissions. But I guess Ed Gillespie’s argument that Moveon.org is responsible for portraying the President as Hitler is consistent with the Bush Administration’s philosophy: censorship good, free speech bad.The article continued to go awry when it claimed that Moveon.org is intended to facilitate hate for the President. When the site was launched, President Bush was just a figment of Karl Rove’s imagination. Moveon.org was actually started during the Clinton Administration in an effort to censure then-President Clinton. The site’s objective was to convince President Clinton to take his punishment, accept censure, and “move on” with governing the country. Not exactly a left-wing conspiracy to hate all things Republican. The fact of the matter is that the site grew so wildly and unexpectedly popular that it never went away. The average American needed an organization like Moveon.org, so it continued its mission, as stated by Moveon.org Voter Fund Wes Boyd (not a millionaire and not George Soros), “To bring the public into the political process and produce a more fact-based election process.” As it happened, this conflicts with the Bush Administration and its philosophies so completely that a natural rivalry was born.Unfortunately, over the course of time, politics in the United States has been more about money than anything else. Fighting this $10 and $20 at a time, Moveon.org and the Moveon.org Voter Fund have managed to allow the average voter to have his or her opinion compete with those being broadcast daily by the major parties. To be sure, the organization has been supported by famous people and some millionaires, but the heart of the organization is still the $20 donation and the volunteer grassroots organization.Even more unfortunately, given the past actions of the current RNC and the Bush Administration, it comes as no surprise that they would want to drag an organization that has threatened the power of individual wealth in U.S. politics through the mud.

Michael PeterssophomoreKnott HallJan. 19