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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    An Obamarama Rally

    I attended an Obama rally at Eisenhower Park, right down the street from Hofstra University, just hours before the third and final installment of the 2008 debates. I was interested to see if the hype I’ve been reading about in articles and watching on television really lived up to the real thing. Would this Obama rally truly be an event about a real vision of “change”? Or would his supporters turn out to just be sheep flocking to a popular call.

    Of course Obama was nowhere to be seen, which was understandable with the debate set to take place shortly after sunset. I was hoping that maybe someone of somewhat elevated importance might appear. But as one savvy observer pointed out, this was an unlikely scenario as there was no bag check, or entrance fee for that matter. However, there were some figures who looked notable at the rally, even though I cannot recall their names. At the time, it didn’t seem worth the energy to actually take my notepad from out of my backpack and scribble down information about the slew of speakers that flooded the stage of the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater in-between musical sets. The were mostly Obama organizers and campaign members, as well as Nassau county officials, and representatives of various labor unions that I’ve never heard of.

    After I had listened to the barrage of podium pounding speeches, I realized that there was more than one motive at stake for the man chanting, “Obama! Obama! Obama!” repeatedly into the microphone. It wasn’t a question of if this man supported Obama but why he supported him. Two words came to mind. Job security. These politicians were not only proponents of Obama fandom but also of democratic dominance of both local and national offices. I wouldn’t call their energetic support of their comrades cronyism, but their allegiances were clearly shouted. “Vote democrats down the line on November!”

    Still, there’s something to be said about a political rally for a candidate that can bring people of all ages and races together to support a common purpose. Whether you agree with Obama’s ideology or not, you have to appreciate the enthusiasm he’s sparked amongst those who previously turned a cynical eye to the realm of politics. The Obama organizers know this and use it to the upmost effectiveness. At one point for example, one of the speakers asked, “For how many of you is this your first political rally?” I had expected no more than a quarter of the hands to go up, however more than half of those present, including myself, found themselves waving their arms up in the air.

    The long lasting pro-participatory effects from this campaign are a positive step in the right direction for future elections. Too many Americans have sat idly by for too long not utilizing the potential power that the system allows them in regards to having their say in government. I have to assume that the Obama craze (again, whether you agree with his views or not) has inspired many of the first time voters this year to register. Some people argue that they don’t like either of the two choices for president, but one of the great things about democracy is that if enough people believe in a candidate, then they can change the status quo. This is being seen with Obama’s success and will be proven if he wins next month. Hopefully this new wave of civic participation will continue to grow so that maybe one day we can evolve into a democracy where there are many more choices other than just the two that people complain about.

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