VIDEO: Washburn students reflect on elections

Chris Nelson

As election day came to a close, two students waited anxiously for results that proved to be a historical event from any perspective.

Naomi Green and RJ McGuire both have been campaigning endlessly across campus for their favorite candidate over the past year.

McGuire, a political science major, has always been involved in politics, but became even more so last fall. He traveled to Iowa to experience politics first hand with a class taught by professor Bob Beatty. He has been voicing his support for Republican John McCain. McGuire originally opposed the war in Iraq, but felt it was important for the next president to finish what was started.

Green, an English major, started the “Students for Barack Obama” group on campus this past year. She is confident that having Obama as president will restore what she thinks is the United States’ damaged reputation.

As Tuesday evening came to a close, it was clear there was only one winner.

“At least Kansas knows what’s going on,” said McGuire about the state going to McCain.

Although the two disagree politically, they do agree on one thing.

“The Obama campaign did an excellent job,” said McGuire. He said the McCain campaign was not nearly as effective as they should have been in order to gain the presidency.

McGuire said the media never fully vetted Obama either, but everything the Republicans did was blown out of proportion, reminding him of a high school popularity contest.

Green is also impressed by the Obama campaign. She said he utilized other resources for campaigning that no one had done before, such as taking advantage of Internet resources.

“Obama has done to voting what J.K. Rowling has done to reading,” said Green. She said he got younger people interested in politics, just like the “Harry Potter” author intrigued so many to pick up a book and read. He saw that the greatest number of people able to vote, who actually weren’t voting, were college students. He recognized this and took full advantage, campaigning directly to them.

His appeal was much more relatable and it was easy for him to argue that McCain was out of touch. Having such an age difference probably had an impact as well, she said.

McGuire said because so many people were frustrated with George W. Bush, they saw Obama as a fresh, new start. He himself did not vote for Bush. To McGuire, Obama isn’t the best new start. He said that historically almost every war has been caused by a bad ending of another war, something that is very crucial at this time. The war in Iraq needs to be finished and finished the right way.

He said that the economy has put a damper in Obama’s plans of change and that Democrats will be disappointed in what he can do.

“Countries don’t feel good about the U.S.,” said Green. She said she hopes Obama is able to fix damaged relationships with other countries, instead of gaining more enemies. The United States is at a crucial point for change and McCain is too war oriented, she said.

Green, a full-time student and mother, spent many hours working to help the Obama campaign, whether it was staying up late preparing fliers or calling voters to remind them to cast their vote and get them a ride to the polls.

“I’m glad that all of the work I’ve done over the past year has paid off,” said Green.

Obama will be sworn in as president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2009.