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Rejecting bi-partisan spirit

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I wish Ian Ronderos to know that I do not consider him, or any other member of the College Republicans, to be racist. They are all by rights good people doing the best job they see fit. I do, however, wish to register my displeasure regarding the club’s decision to not participate in the Rock the Vote voter registration campaign.

I am a lifelong South Bend and 2nd congressional district resident. For most of my life, this district was represented by Tim Roemer, a Democrat and Notre Dame alum. Roemer served a long and successful tenure before retiring prior to the 2002 election. His success was related to, among other things, his ability to cross party lines, appealing to Democrat and Republican, rich and poor, urban and rural.

Roemer’s successor, Chris Chocola, faces one of the toughest elections in the country this November. From a pragmatic standpoint, I can understand why Ronderos and the College Republicans do not want to increase votes that would theoretically go against Chocola. I, however, am deeply upset by this philosophy’s inherent rejection of the traditional Hoosier spirit of bi-partisanship.

Chocola was elected to represent the entire second district of Indian, not simply the residents who voted for him, nor only those who would likely vote for him again. Likewise, Mitch Daniels, the Republican candidate for governor, is running for the privilege of leading the entire state, not just the state Republicans. Whether they like it or not, the job of our 2nd district congressman and our Indiana governor is to represent everyone, even those residents of “heavily Democratic districts” as Ronderos describes the Transpo bus route neighborhoods.

I have participated in several voter registration drives this semester and through them I have met people from all walks of life and of all political persuasions. These citizens have all demonstrated to me a unanimous common thread: they all desire to have their share in electing our representatives regardless of party affiliation. The College Republicans’ insistence on ignoring the very people who would elect their candidates makes me wonder what they have to fear by helping to make sure every 2nd district resident has a voice.

Perhaps they are afraid that the traditional Hoosier bi-partisan spirit of Joe Donnelly, the Democratic candidate for Congress and a double Domer, would bring a welcomed breath of fresh air to this district and, with it, unemployment for their candidates.

Bob Masters



Sept. 21