By: Benham Dayanim  | 

Dukakis: Time for a Change (Vol. 54, Issue 2)

Walk down any New York City street at any time of the day or night and count the homeless who beg for money or sleep on sidewalks or in subway stations. That's one reason to vote for Mike Dukakis. Take a look at your next college tuition bill and wonder how you're ever going to pay for it. That’s another reason to vote for Mike Dukakis. Stroll down the winding streets of Jerusalem’s Old City to the Kotel and think about how nice it would be if Israel’s staunchest ally joined tiny Costa Rica in recognizing the “City of Gold” as the official capital. That's a third reason to vote for Mike Dukakis. Finally, think about how badly the environment has been neglected and even deliberately abused during the last eight years, what kind of world you want to bequeath future generations, and even in what kind of world you would like to live just a few years down the road. That’s yet another reason to vote for Governor Michael S. Dukakis on November 8.

Michael Dukakis offers the intelligent, concerned voter, whether liberal or moderate, an alternative to another four years of environmental and economic neglect, legislated morality, and patchwork, directionless foreign policy. In addition, he offers to the college student hope that there is relief around the corner and to the Jew reassurance that America’s traditionally strong relationship with Israel will intensify and that American Jews need not fear the imposition of an official religious morality.

Governor Dukakis has consistently recognized the impending dangers to our global environment. Unlike his Republican opponent, George Bush, he is no late convert to the cause, vigorously protesting “I am an outdoorsman!” to the national television cameras. Governor Dukakis has been the first Massachusetts Governor to attempt to rid Boston Harbor of its centuries-old pollution. However, his program budget was slashed by the administration whose Vice President now piously proclaims his love for the environment. Dukakis opposes all offshore oil drilling, a practice that disrupts the entire coastal ecology wherever conducted and that has been advocated by both Reagan and Bush most recently in California. Dukakis also proposes a specific plan of action to deal with the festering problem of acid rain and has consistently supported such environmental protection laws as the Clean Water Act, renewed just this year. Even Bush’s running mate, the otherwise abysmal Dan Quayle, supported this legislation while President Reagan, with Bush’s wholehearted agreement, attempted to veto its renewal. On the economic scene Dukakis has offered a series of detailed proposals to once again make college tuition affordable [ED: Please see accompanying article], provide health insurance for those who currently have none, and increase the availability of housing for the homeless. The need for such programs is clear. Ask any college senior who has been here for four years how many people he remembers seeing begging on the street when he was a freshman, An honest answer will prove shocking. Universal health insurance simply requires businesses of a certain size to provide it for their employees. This will cost some money in the form of price increases to consumers, yet the need exists and Bush’s alternative would merely add the currently uninsured to the government chuck wagon with no indication where the necessary millions will be found. Dukakis’ positions on the immense budget and trade deficits need little explanation. He does not echo past Republican promises to eliminate the budget deficit in four years, but rather to substantially reduce it, a serious offer from a thoughtful man, The trade deficit and increasing foreign ownership in the U.S. are not matters of little concern to him or his running mate, as they appear to be to their opponents if their statements and track record serve as a guide.

Another little-debated yet extremely important factor in this election is the Supreme Court. With all three liberal Justices facing probable retirement during the next term, a Dukakis Presidency could make the difference between the continuation of the precariously balanced middle-of-the-road Court or an activist, extreme conservative bench. The “Christian Nation” concept of intrusive government frequently praised by President Reagan and endorsed by many of Bush’s most vocal supporters could come one step closer to reality with the nomination of one more Robert Bork. History teaches that it is never in the best interests of any minority to allow a mindset where the religious values of the majority are imposed upon the populace by the government.

The issue of most concern to YU students and alumni probably lies in the area of American-Israeli relations and the possible influence of Jesse Jackson on a Dukakis administration. Disregarding the merits of the topic for the moment, however, it is necessary to point out that the surest way to increase Jesse Jackson's influence in the Democratic Party is to not vote for Michael Dukakis. A sitting Democratic President can much more effectively repel any attempts to usurp his position than can a demoralized and divided opposition party. Irrespective of the Jackson issue, Governor Dukakis has presented the most favorable foreign policy agenda toward the State of Israel of any major party candidate in this decade. He has stated his firm intention to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, effectively precluding any future United States pressure to cede the eastern half as part of a peace agreement with the Arabs. Furthermore, he has displayed more respect for Israeli sovereignty than have the Republicans through his announced policy of allowing the parties in the region to work out their own agreement with no coercion from the U.S. as to specific concessions. The only direct American role lies in security guarantees for the Jewish State and a willingness to assist in the arrangement of any talks should they be desired. His top Middle East policy advisors include such dependable friends of Israel as Representative Mel Levine of California; neither Jackson nor any of his staff has been at all involved with foreign policy formulation in this area, and top. Dukakis aides have repeatedly insisted that they will not play a role in the future. Perhaps the noticeable lack of enthusiasm and support displayed’ by Jackson in the campaign thus far should be attributed to irritation over neglect by the Dukakis campaign. Even should some late signs of affection become evident, this would most likely result merely from an understandable aversion on the part of Jackson, to being blamed for a possible election defeat.

The presence within the Bush campaign of both prominent Nazi collaborators and supporters of the P.L.O. should disturb Jews more than the easily identifiable and thereby preventable theoretical danger posed by Jackson. Seven Eastern European fascists had attached themselves to the Bush campaign, only resigning when accounts of their past affiliations became public. Bush noticeably refused to denounce them or their past activities. (Sounds vaguely like Jackson and Farrakhan, doesn’t it?) Furthermore, the chairman of Bush’s New Hampshire campaign and possible Cabinet member during a Bush tenure, New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, is an Arab-American actively involved in Arab organizations who remains to this day the only Governor to refuse to condemn the infamous United Nations “Zionism is Racism” resolution.

Many other reasons to vote for Michael Dukakis include his understanding of the modern, complex world in which the East-West conflict is not the most important issue confronting many Third World nations. He opposes legislation to create a 90-day sub-minimum wage that would effectively reduce salaries earned from summer employment. And he understands the need to judiciously choose those weapons systems we can afford and not simply approve every new gadget conjured up by the Pentagon. As Dukakis says, “We cannot have national security without economic security.” When each and every one of us exercises our responsibility to vote on November 8 for the leader of our nation, we should bear in mind the nature of our choice and vote with our heads and with our hearts. VOTE MICHAEL DUKAKIS.