This is not an article about the election. I am not here to explain to you as the reader why you should vote for Obama. I don’t even find myself aligning with either party this election because I agree with some views (and disagree with other views) on both sides of the political spectrum.
When I first saw the “Obama 2012 Presidential Campaign” and the “Republican Victory Center” listed in the booklet of service learning, I was perplexed, as I know many people were. What did politics have to do with service? I thought our service requirement was build to help in-need communities? (I even made an aggressively democratic joke saying, “This is hardly community service. And even less so in the case of Romney.”) I knew that I didn’t want to affiliate myself with a campaign that I don’t strongly align with. I think it was this case of confusion that lead me to the idea that I should go see both of the parties’ presentations. A learning experience never hurts, right? Plus, I wanted to see what all the hype was about, for there was a lot of talk surrounding the two political campaigns’ presentations at our service fair.
There differences between the two presentations were surprisingly enormous. I first arrived at the Obama 2012 Presidential Campaign after sitting through the High Jump presentation block (which is a really inspiring organization if you are interested). An energetic, somewhat quirky young lady named Lucy entered room 306 around 1:50. A vast majority of the students at Latin are democratic, so the crowd what big and excited to get a chance to be a part of the campaign. The lady began by talking about Iowa and the swing states. She said that Obama had Illinois in the bag and that the focus in Chicago should be on pushing the individuals in Iowa to vote for Obama. She also talked about Obama’s interest in getting the youth and the poor motivated to vote for him because they were generally as demographics with democracy. Maybe it was the 10 minute time constraint, but what Lucy didn’t get around to too much was how to help out. The presentation left the audience with a sense of excitement, but no real answers as to the type of service or how we would even get credit for the hours we volunteer (I know that’s only relevant to the Freshmen and Sophomores).
By now, I had a baseline for comparison between the two. I walked into 305, the adjacent room, 20 minutes later to listen to the Republican Victory Center give their spiel. It wasn’t nearly as crowded, but still was a main attraction at the fair. The talk was run by a middle-aged man who said he had self-identified and voted as a Republican since the age of 18. As I sat in the room and listened, I began to pick up a vibe of perceived futility that the presenter was laying down. I could tell that what Lucy said in the Obama 2012 Presidential Campaign rung true for these Republicans: they couldn’t take Illinois from Obama. The man, seemingly without a name, continued to tell the group how easy it is to help out. All you needed to do was download an app and go door to door asking if they support the job Obama has done over the last 4 years (it was the ad hominem logical fallacy, for those past and present Nazi Mind students, in the clearest form I’ve ever seen). Once again though, the presenter didn’t provide much of a solution (how we would get our hours from this, how we should support Romney if they ask about his campaign, etc.) He made it sound too easy.
One of the more interesting things I noticed during the day was how quickly people became seen as Republicans and Democrats. As each new person entered a room, many people turned to see who had come in, and, either consciously or subconsciously, immediately saw the enterer as a Democrat or Republican. I even overheard a certain Senior say, “I am just going to go the Obama room, so I can laugh at it.” Comparing these two presentations almost seemed like an experiment for a Political Science class in college.
While I wish I had gotten the chance to see Alderman of the 46th ward speak, the unfortunate truth is that the neither of the two presidential campaigns gave good solutions for our service opportunities and reasons why we should help them out.
What does that say about both campaign? Isn’t government’s umbrella goal to find solutions to the problems of the citizens? When I thought about it, though, it wasn’t so perplexing that the both major campaigns (sorry Libertarian Party, Green Party, etc.) got four 10 minute blocks during the service fair because serving your country is an important part of a campaign and a person’s affiliation with a national identity. I truly believe that whether one went to room 305 or 306, the nationalist inside of them would be honored to help out and important chapter in American history.]]>