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'Why You Shouldn't Vote' Event At DePaul Is 'Bunch Of Garbage,' Pols Say

By Ted Cox | November 7, 2016 5:38pm
 U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky told DePaul students that not voting
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky told DePaul students that not voting "makes absolutely no sense at all."
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

DEPAUL — North Side politicians rallied to get out at the vote at DePaul University in the face of a debate Monday evening on "Why You Shouldn't Vote Tomorrow."

"It's just stunning to me," said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) to about three dozen students at a get-out-the-vote rally on the DePaul quadrangle Monday afternoon. "It makes absolutely no sense at all."

"It's just a bunch of garbage in my opinion," said Alex Hanns, political director of DePaul Democrats. "it encourages people to sit out the vote in one of the most important elections in our lifetimes."

The "Why You Shouldn't Vote Tomorrow" confab, however, set for 7 p.m. in the DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., begged to differ, bringing together "six distinguished scholars, activists and artists from around the country" to make the case for "anarchy and the question of the ethics of participation in the electoral process," according to the online event page.

"Though the next day’s election is billed as The Most Important Election Ever," the event promotion conceded, "we will have a reasoned conversation about the senses in which 'the lesser of two evils' is not really a choice, the possibility that voting is a distraction from true political participation and action, the concern that the electoral process is part of the 'bread and circuses' meant to keep the ruling class perpetually in power, and the claim that any vote within the system is ultimately a vote for empire, capital, hegemony, violence, racism and oppression."

Schakowsky, however, said real issues were at play and cited suffragettes and civil-rights protesters who fought hard just for the right to vote.

"This is your country. Do you want to breathe clean air, leave your children a planet that is sustainable?" Schakowsky said. "Not voting at all is a vote for Donald Trump."

The handful of Democratic politicians who led the rally made no secret of their preference for their party colleagues.

"Tomorrow is a game-changer," said state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). "There is a fork in the road."

She drew parallels between Republican presidential candidate Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner, saying their agendas are "very similar."

When it came time to lead a march to the nearest early polling place, however, most of the students in attendance said they had already voted. Schakowsky led a handful down the street to cast their votes.

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