At what age did you begin to take a strong interest in politics, and what does it all mean to you?
Brett Little (í09): Students for Barack Obama
When I was 18, I was a part of Teen Republicans at my high school in Fayetteville (N.C.), helping to get students registered to vote, and I actually went door-to-door for George Bush. I started watching the news every night, visited all of the polling web sites as well as Bush and Kerryís personal web pages
Now, since Iíve had four years of political science under my belt for my major, Iím a lot more appreciative in the subtle things that go on Ė the things people donít always pick up on during a campaign. For example, you can look at advertising Ė obviously, since Obama is far ahead in the polls by most accounts, McCain has started to go increasingly negative in his advertising. I started to see it trending that way during the summer. What that really means is that McCain is not focusing on promoting his own policies that would mean something to Americans, rather, heís focusing on things that will tear Obama down. With a little more motivation and effort, most people could pick up on these things, but I donít think that the majority of students care enough about politics because they are so cynical of government. I myself grew cynical after seven years of George Bush, but I think politics mean so much more to me now because there is so much at stake in this election. We can continue the failed policies of George Bush with John McCain, who votes with Bush 90% of the time, or we can go in a fundamentally new direction with Barack Obama.
Ches McDowell (í11), chairman, NC State College Republicans
I was really intrigued in 2000 Ė thatís really the first time I remember watching the big convention speeches and seeing what goes on in a campaign. I got to meet Bush and Gore that year, and it just kind of stuck with me. Last year, I got more involved in the process, so when I got back to school, thatís when it took off. Iím the chairman of the College Republicans, the chairman of College Students for [Elizabeth] Dole and have worked for McCain, Pat McCrory and everyone down the ballot.
IĎve grown from the experience, because Iíve learned how to fight for something and make a difference. Something as simple as making a few phone calls each night can really have an impact. Iíve had the opportunity to speak with tons of people whom I hope have been influenced by the things Iíve said. It keeps me on my toes, and Iím a better person for it.
Eli Harman (í09): Secretary, NC State College Libertarians
When I was around 16 or 17, I started taking an interest in politics because I realized that politics took an interest in me. Politicians were trying to decide what to do with my money, and telling me what I can and cannot do through restrictions that were placed on me. I realized that I had to take at least a passing interest in politics, if only in a defensive capacity. I have to be aware of whatís going on, what people are trying to do to me so that I can attempt to counter that a little bit.