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21, UR English junior

Elliott Chun 

21, UR English junior

City: Why didn't you vote for Kerry?

Chun: I feel like the top priorities of this country for the next four years should be focused primarily on the war on terrorism and economic growth and relief. And Kerry's programs, raising taxes for corporations and small businesses, I feel that is going to be detrimental. By raising those taxes, corporations will have less money to offer domestic jobs. They'll be forced to export jobs.

Small businesses make up seven out of 10 jobs in this country. If they're forced to pay higher taxes, then they're not going to be able to allocate their money to employees or to growing their business. So, basically, the economy's going to go to pot if we raise the taxes on the corporations that employ the people.

When it comes to the war on terrorism, I feel Kerry has no clear plan. He wants to win the favor of the other countries. How? And he wants to cut funding for military while Bush wants to increase military pay by 4 percent, which will help the military keep its top officers and recruit a lot more soldiers.

City: Do you think that some of the international disdain leveled towards Bush places the US in a precarious position when it comes to terrorism?

Chun: I think it places us in a tough position in terms of how we handle the war in Iraq from here on out. If the Bush administration does a good job trying to restore the peace in Iraq, I feel if other nations see that, the international support will improve. But if our country is trying to get out of there, we won't be able to help Iraq with the restoration, and we'll see even more international disdain.

City: There have been a lot of discouraging reports coming out of Iraq.

Chun: Right. The number-one thing for people to realize is that peace is not going to be achieved overnight. Changing from a dictatorship to a democratic government is going to be chaotic. People in Iraq don't know how to handle themselves in a democracy. So of course there's going to be looting. There are going to be power struggles by the insurgents. But I feel the Bush administration is doing all it can right now to handle the situation, and it's just going to take some time.

City: What Bush messages really hit home for you?

Chun: My family actually owns a small business. So the small-business favoritism of the Republican Party plays an important role.

When my grandpa immigrated here from China, he started a small restaurant in Honolulu. After he passed away, my dad kind of took over as a hobby. He basically uses his experience as an attorney to expand the business. And we've opened several other stores. My dad is also VP and general counsel for Alexander & Baldwin in Hawaii, and they get involved in a lot of shipping and real estate.

City: Do you feel as estranged from liberals as they seem to feel from Bush supporters?

Chun: Sort of. A lot of Kerry supporters seem very anti-Bush and very pro-Kerry. I'm not a complete advocate of Bush. I think he has a lot of faults. He's not the best president we've ever had. So I'm not completely separated from the Kerry supporters. I agree with a lot of what they're saying. But I feel like, here at the University of Rochester, in a very liberal atmosphere, it's difficult. As a student here who's seen as a Republican, I definitely have to watch my step. [He laughs.] Often times I find myself arguing one against nine.

City: What do you think are the biggest differences between the two sides?

Chun: I think the focus on morals and the economy. The Republican Party is very focused on the strength of the economy and this war. And a lot of people have problems with the moral issues involved with that. This world is not a perfect place. The Republican administration is basically the best way to balance the good and the bad.

City: You mention the economy, but it's been fairly clear the economy has struggled under Bush's watch.

Chun: I like the tax relief Bush is proposing. Relief for corporations and small business is eventually going to help their lowest-level employees.

City: So you're talking about a trickle down.

Chun:Exactly.

City:Were there any issues where you felt there was some common ground between the two sides?

Chun: That's a really good question. You battle so much on campus you don't ever really come to a peace agreement. To be completely honest, nothing comes to mind.

City: Did religion play any role for you personally in the election?

Chun: No. Not at all.

City: Were you concerned by the US's failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Chun: Basically, that's one of the reasons why I don't like Bush. The fact that he lied about the weapons of mass destruction is horrible. I feel he lied. I also recognize that every president in our history has lied to the American people. In this election, we're basically just choosing who we want to lie to us next.

Bush did lie. But it's also a fact that Saddam's regime was horrible. I personally consider his regime to be a weapon of mass destruction in itself. I mean, the genocide and cruelty they inflicted on innocent Iraqis: It had to go. If Bush just said we were going in there to get rid of Saddam's regime, I would have supported it.

City: Do you think Saddam played any role in 9/11?

Chun: I wouldn't know. Though I think those are more conspiracy theories than fact.

City: Are you concerned at all that Osama bin Laden is still at large?

Chun: I'm less concerned than I was before. I feel America is safer because the Taliban regime has been taken out, even though Osama has not. He is running, and he is hiding. The fact that his regime has been basically disassembled makes me feel a bit better about it.

City:So it wasn't a concern to hear Bush wasn't spending much time thinking about bin Laden?

Chun: It did kinda make me question a little. But I think that also may be a matter of his, I guess I would say, horrible rhetoric. The media definitely plays on George Bush's rhetorical mistakes. He's not some horrible caricature the media has made up. He's not out there to basically screw America over.

City: Where do you generally get your news?

Chun: CNN. C-SPAN. I read a lot of CNN.com. Basically, the TV in my room is always tuned to some sort of news channel. I get a lot of information through the College Republicans.

City: What's your opinion of how CNN and other mainstream outlets have covered the news in the months leading up to the election?

Chun: Everyone needs to read these things with a grain of salt. You have to understand that everyone issuing the reports has their own biases. You have to read these articles objectively. Don't ever be afraid to disagree with what you're reading.

City: You've talked about the importance of solving the situation in Iraq. If it came down to the US needing to run a draft to solve it, how would you feel about that?

Chun: I haven't really thought about it, because I only really see that happening under the Kerry administration. Bush is increasing pay for the military, and that's going to help retain soldiers. I feel as though, over time, the situation in Iraq is going to improve. I don't think the draft is ever going to be an issue.

Speaking of Red Voices, election 2004

  • 21, UR English junior

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