Posted tagged ‘College Democrats’

Religion or Civilization: Why Democrats should support the war in the Middle East.

October 6, 2009

islam1In 2003, when US marines first invaded Iraq,   I looked on with familiar sadness as death and destruction were brought to me live via CNN, Fox Noise, MSNBC and others. At the time I thought the old PBS line  “This program is made possible with support from viewers like you,” should be shown as  fitting reminder to the American people that each  of us were morally responsible for suffering caused by the actions of our military, and that by being apathetic or voting for a hawkish pro-war Republican we were saying that the cause of wrenching Iraq from the hands of a brutal , rogue dictator was worth the price it would be paid in human tragedy; that above  the scars of war ten, fifteen, or thirty years from now a beautiful civilization would spring forth once again between the Tigris and Euphrates and that this would be worth the fatherless children, amputated lives, and bitter hatred toward the sources of that  anguish. Feeling that such a radical social transformation was not possible I opposed the war with a deep indignance, considering it to be the Vietnam of my generation.

Five and 1/2 years later with extremist violence in Iraq still on-going and U.S. withdrawal sure to leave an explosive power vacuum we must ask ourselves that same moral question that we did in Vietnam. Now that we have come to set the stage for Iraqi westernization, how are we to act if our leaving will eventually mean that over 700,000 people, and a handful of American soldiers in comparison  have died as a direct result of our invasion. As Sen. John Kerry so wisely put in his youth ” how do we ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam.”  Are we to let so many Iraqis die by our hands in vain? How will history judge us if we do not continue fight this fight, more importantly, what will be our history?

Let us make no mistake, the gauntlet is off and there is no going back. It is not unreasonable to say that the scourge of Islamic extremism is now an ever present danger in every nation on Earth. At the heart of this campaign is dark form of cultural and religious extremism equivalent to the Catholics during the crusades and the National Socialism of the early 20th century. Radical Islam yearns for world domination and the imposition of wacky religious laws that are based on twisted distortions of the Quran. They feed of of the economic stagnation of many Middle Eastern countries to breed hatred toward Israel and the West. We must push forward with all we have or not push at all. The Islamic extremists are right about one thing, there is a conspiracy to secularize the Middle East and to subvert Islamic theocracies, and I think it’s about time all Democrats got on board. Barack Obama and his army of lets-all-just-respect-each other-and-talkocrats need to buck up and defend the fort.  If sending in 40000 more US troops into Pakistan and Afghanistan means that we make headway against the rising tide of Islamic Extremism, then I say that this is a moral cause not unlike fighting Hitler during WWII, or with  much irony, Catholics during the crusades. While we are there, perhaps we can pass out copies of  The Origin of Species.

A friend and fellow Democrat told me something promising today over lunch, he said that when he goes home to visit his cousins in Pakistan, he finds that more and more of the people around him are Atheists.  Rejection of religion is the only rational insight to have when you see hoards  of barbarians blowing themselves up in the name of some socially reproduced  delusion called “god,”  or in Arabic “Allah.”

The question one must ask him or herself  when considering  whether the U.S. involvement is warranted must go beyond pretensions of pacifism, or blind faith in the milk of human kindness. The question is one of a combination of ethical judgment in the spirit of Jeremy Bentham, and practical wisdom of Winston Churchill. Bentham argued that “that which is ethical  minimizes pain and maximizes pleasure for the largest number of people.”  Churchill continuously warned British prime minister Neville Chamberlain of the danger the rise of National Socialism posed to Europe and the world many years before  the ruthless Hitler violated the Warsaw pact by annexing Czechoslovakia. If Chamberlain and the isolationist United States had heeded his call for action the world could very well have avoided a long and brutal war which caused human suffering on a truly unimaginable level. Alas, this is the argument for the neoconservative doctrine of  pre-emption, a dangerous ideology which must measure the need for intervention with the imagined need for intervention, or the call for war in the name of military-industrial, or other economic reasons.

As this doctrine is dangerous to our democracy, and yet still the threat that militant Islam poses to the world is very real and very frightening, we must point to  the larger philosophical driver for the reproduction of militant Islam in the first place- religion. It is without hesitation that all of us, in good conscience and clear thought , cannot deny that at the heart of this conflict is human religiosity and that it should be fitting that  the place where the three major world religions were born is also the place that they should die.  Now this sounds harsh to the cultural and moral relativist ear of the average Democrat,  but we must remain objective and realistic about what drives , and has been the driving factor behind the scourge of war throughout human history.  Behind nearly every dark story of the suffering of war is a leader or movement which claims to be divinely ordained. Hitler claimed to have been acting under the authority of an Aryan Jesus, and even visited the head of the Palestinian army before embarking on a brutal campaign of ethnic genocide.  Mahmood Amadinejad and his theocratic overlords have repeatedly claimed divine authority in their campaign to engage in a proxy war using the Palestinian  PLO and Hamas as fronts. In WW II we had emperor Hirohito of Japan, who claimed divinity by inheritance. In Ireland we have Protestants and Catholics, in the Middle east we have Shia and Sunni. When confronted with proof of evil in tangible human suffering throughout modern history, religion answers back with nothing but dangerous superstition. It is time to wrestle our world from the hands of myths wrought in human fear. Religion is the poison which allows otherwise moral and decent people to be manipulated into purveyors of the inhumane.  And if we oppose the war in the Middle East because we are disgusted by the  endless parade of human suffering we must also oppose the core ideology which  begot  its existence.  Thus as a Democrats , We should support  the war because occupying the middle east, and installing leaders who support our interests will help facilitate the spread of  western secularism to the Middle East, which will serve as an antidote to the emergence of dangerous Islamic Theocrats, and Caliphate ideology in the future. In short, the less religion is accepted in the  Middle East, the more stable, prosperous, and peaceful it will be.

Democrats have too long  straddled the fence on this all-too-important issue, we have walked softly and now it is time to show those lunatics just how big our stick really is. Barack Obama should follow the advice of his Pentagon advisors and send in more ground support. And you, as a Democrat, and especially as an Athiest or Agnostic Democrat should stand in full support, sad that while we are temporarily increasing human misery,  in the end it will serve as a great first step toward a New World Order in which religion will be considered as quaint as burning witches. Over and Out.


Barack Obama’s Inauguration: Stories From The Mall

January 20, 2009
Millions on the national mall awaiting the inauguration of President Obama.

Millions on the national mall awaiting the inauguration of President Obama.

(Washington D.C.) – Today I along with a few other College Democrats joined the millions of Americans from every state stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. Within 5 feet were people from Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, California, Kentucky and a multitude of other states. Even more impressive were the people from the Bahamas and the Netherlands.

Every race, color and creed was visible on the mall. After arriving around 1am there were plenty of people who were rich, poor, tired and eventually just a huddled mass. All of them telling us how they came with friends from South Africa and as far away as Australia. Everyone sharing stories about how Barack Obama’s election has personally touched them in a way no election ever has.

Singing songs together in unity to stay warm, loudly cheering for President Obama when he appeared on the jumbotron and quietly listening to pastor Rick Warren when he spoke to everyone.

Whether you were there in person, saw it at home on your television, saw it online at work, or listened to it on the radio this was a moment for the history books. From Los Angeles to New York to the forgotten corners of the world everyone will remember this moment. What did you make of this moment?

St. John’s University has a record-breaking Blood Drive

December 23, 2008
Chris Puntarelli of the College Democrats is among the first to donate blood.

Vice-President of the College Democrats Christian Puntarelli helps with the record breaking blood donations at St. John's in 2008.

According to a recent St. John’s University press release, this year was the most successful blood drive in the history of the university. 1,639 pints of blood were donated from across the Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and Oakdale Campuses.

The blood drive was organized by St. John’s University led by the Vice President for Community Relations Joseph Sciame and Community Relations Associate Kevin Ryan, J.D. and cosponsored by a number of student organizations including the Physician’s Assistant Student Association, Muslim Students Association, Indian Students Association, Spanish Honor Society and the Lambda Phi Sorority.

This shows the high level of activism and engagement the students of St. John’s have expressed in 2008. From registering over 700 students to vote this year and making trips to local food shelters to feed the hungry, St. John’s has continued to lead in serving the community.

For more information:

College Democrats of St. John’s University to Host CDNY’s 2009 Convention

December 3, 2008

Last night it was announced that the College Democrats of New York (CDNY) Executive Board ruled to host the 2009 CDNY Convention at St. John’s University. Allow me to be the first to say thank you. Many schools applied to host the convention, and all of the schools were excellent contenders. It is with great humility and responsibility that St. John’s University accepts this task.

Many people, organizations, and schools came out and supported us, and to you all I say thank you; without you this would not have been possible. Let us work together to make this year the most influential and important convention yet.

 President-Elect Barack Obama has said:

This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change.  And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.  It cannot happen without you.

Let us work together to make sure that change can finally come to New York State. This election season gave us a Democratic majority in both the Senate and the Assembly, but we have much more work to do. Change has not come yet. As Mr. Obama has said, Change is a means; not a goal. There are elections in 2009 here in New York City that will see results that will be felt from Long Island to Potsdam. There are elections in 2010 to decide the Governor of our state and our Congressmen and Women. There is a future ahead of us that is beyond any of our comprehension. With this in mind, let this Convention foster new leadership, ideas, and relationships that will guide our state in the years and decades to come. Allow this convention breed the new, young, leaders of our Democratic Party so that one day, Change might come.


Again, I would like to thank everyone for all the support we’ve gotten; even from the people who might not have had St. John’s University as their first choice. I hope to see and hear from everyone around the state in the weeks and months ahead to make this a successful convention.


Thank you and God bless you.  



-Nick Roloson

President of College Democrats’ St. John’s University Chapter

College Republicans: Democrats lack infomormation

October 25, 2008

It seems as if the College Republicans here at St. John’s just don’t know when to quit. The last we heard of them at the Constitution day debate they said guns were insurance, yet when asked if that insurance was worth the lives of students lost at Virginia tech, they didn’t answer.

Recently at a Habitat for Humanity forum their president said owning a house is “the American dream.” Sounds good right? Well immediately he said that not all people can live that dream and some people “have to suffer.” Wow.

This time we have their President James Pickel talking to the Torch, our campus newspaper. Here’s a quote for you.

“There is a stigma against being a young Republican,” he said. “Much of the broad shift in college students [towards liberal beliefs] is due to a lack of information on what conservative ideals really are.”

Now he’s making it seem as if college students, and all Americans don’t know what conservative ideals are. Now after 8 long years of a conservative President I’m pretty sure most Americans understand what those ideals are. Barack Obama himself addressed these ideals at the 2008 convention:

For over two decades, John McCain has subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Democrats however have that fundamental belief: I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.

Your voice, their vote: City Council to vote on term limits

October 21, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008. That is the day when the city council will vote on a bill which would extend term limits and allow Mayor Bloomberg to run for another term. It will also allow some on the city council to run again.

In another recent development Peter Vallone has sided with the billionaire mayor. He claimed it was a decision he had to make and did it for the best interests of New Yorkers. This despite a new Quinnipiac poll showing 89% of voters say term limits should be decided by referendum. While 51% of voters are straight out opposed to extending term limits.

A friend of College Democrats and all New Yorkers Dave Kerpen will be leading his group New Yorkers for Our Vote to Count to city hall on Wednesday at 5:30pm to rally and show the city council that the people have spoken.

As fair and balanced as I try to be, this is something where the people have voiced their opposition to this turn of events. I encourage all of you to join Dave and tell the City Council where they can put this bill.

Better Know a Member

October 16, 2008

Today we’re here with Andy Sookram the Secretary of the College Democrats.

Chris Puntarelli: So Andy what do you do as secretary?
Andy Sookram: What do I do? Everything. I am a key component of this organization, that’s what I’m told.
CP:What brought you to college democrats?
AS: What brought me to college democrats?
CP: That was the question yes
AS: Brian standing on a table during student orientation during July 2007. I was looking for a pre law organization and I found college dems instead and Brian sold the organization to me.
CP: What are your future ambitions in the organization?
AS: I’m thinking…. I mean I’m already part of the e board, probably go higher, vice president, maybe president I don’t know time will tell. I need to see if the time is right in my life. The future is unknown.
CP: When we go to events you’re usually the only brown person out there. Do you think that the college democrats are reaching out enough to minorities?
AS: This is a tough one. In terms of our campus?
CP: In general
AS: I think they want us brown people. Us brown people don’t really find politics that interesting, because the families think we have to be bigger and better things such as doctors and pharmacists.
CP: recently Ian Rivera said that brown people are only doctors and pharmacists, would you like to address that?
AS: that is true, the majority of them that I know have desires and ambitions to become those things.

CP: So what do you do besides cd?
AS: what do I do? I have to choose my words wisely now. …… besides college democrats I do…… I enjoy watching sports, hanging out with friends and enjoying life.

CP: What do you think of the recent debates?
AS: I think that you know, both candidates still didn’t answer a single question. I think that Obama had to prove that independents voter that he’s the best candidate. He went into detail in his programs both domestic and foreign while McCain has been blabbering around and criticizing his campaign instead of what Obama does, which is lay out his plan. I don’t know what mccains healthcare policy is. How is he going to fund those things?
CP: do you like Barack because he’s also dark skinned? (more…)