Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What the Election Means to my students

Last night was an historic election to be sure. Rather than give my thoughts about what happened, I thought it best to ask my students to reflect carefully on what November 4th, 2008 meant to them. I asked them to watch both Barack Obama's victory speech in Grant Park, and John McCain's concession in Phoenix, and then carefully reflect upon the last 20 months of campaigning. Attached to this, in comment form, are their thoughts. After they have their say, I'll try to add some of my own reactions.

Now, without further ado, the students who were part of that 18 percent.

44 comments:

Austin said...

Although the crowd in Grant Park was ecstatic at the appearance of Barack Obama and his family on stage, his speech, however, seemed to have a somber tone to it. It was almost as if Pres.-Elect Barack Obama got a fresh wake up call when he saw on CNN the prediction that he will be the next President of the United States. I got the impression that all of this finally sunk in and he realized just how hard his job is going to be for the next four possibly eight years. John McCain's speech was one of respect to his opponent and gratitude toward his supporters throughout the past 20 months. Despite what you make think of Senator McCain, the language he used and his willingness to do whatever possible to with Barack Obama in rebuilding this nation shows his level of character and integrity to be quite high.

Geoffry said...

To me the greatest part of both speeches was the credit and respect that both McCain and Obama showed for each other. It takes a lot to stand up in front of millions of viewers and be civil to the defeated and to the person that defeated you. I thought McCain did a very good job of silencing the boos that rang out in his crowd of supporters. It is understandable to me how they feel, in a way i feel the same. I wish McCain would have won despite how many on campus feel about him. Throughout the campaign i seemed to identify more with McCain and his ideals and attitudes as to how things need to be handled. Although identifying with McCain I have a great deal of respect for Obama and hope that he is an amazing president that can show the nation through the hard times that lie before us. I hope that he can make due on his acceptance speech promise and earn my full support. I support him as our president but simply holding the office does not make me stand behind him 100%. There are many issues that are held dear to many Americans and i hope that my fears of an Obama presidency and a democratic congress prove unfounded. I hope that we can achieve the bipartisan support that both hope to achieve through this election. That we can unite as a nation behind the real and pressing issues that we face, and not linger on promoting and pursuing the issues that cant potentially be the downfall of this great nation. I hope Obama listens to those that didnt vote for him and seriously considers the reasons why so that we may be united as a nation. I also hope that McCain with the help of congress addresses issues from both sides but fights for those that voted for him because our concerns and opinions should not be silenced. I think Obama said it best "we are and always will be the United States of America", through the bad times and the good im sure that this nation will live on, and the people will continue to pursue the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Geoffry Willhardt

Anonymous said...

Professor Parker,
William Durham here from POLS 206 and I did not see the blog post you were talking about so I emailed my thoughts to you. After I went back and watched both speeches I reflected on a couple of things. First, it is refreshing to have a president that is as smooth as Obama. His eloquence and efficiency is a breath of fresh air. No offense to Bush but he is not what I would consider smooth nor is McCain for that matter (not taking away from them as politicians). I just expect a bit more professionalism out of my presidents. The army that Obama mobilized and then deployed to get people involved was epic in proportions and hopefully a prelude of things to come. Second, it reminded me that everyone has to be involved the entire time, not just leading up to the election and the few short months after the election before the excitement wears off. We as a country have to try everyday to create what we want and where we want to go. Third, I am reminded that change is a slow process but the only constant. Coming from women not voting to blacks not voting to now where we have our first African American president or could have had our first female vice president. I guess what I am trying to say is I am proud, for the first time in a long time, of America and proud to be an American. This election has reaffirmed, for me anyway, all the fantastic possibilities that this country has been, could be and will, with a little luck, be again in the future. Finally I was impressed by McCain's speech and integrity. I am not a huge McCain fan and can say I am happy that he did not make it into office, but with his speech last night he moved up a couple of notch's in my book. For him to come out and show such support and respect for Obama and pledge his support to him was an act of fine showmanship and grace. More grace than I have seen him have in the past.
Altogether it has been a pleasure and honor to be a part of this election and political climate and I look forward, with hopeful eyes, into the future

Anonymous said...

Breann Herbert
Both candidates gave amazing speeches. I was impressed with the way that John McCain took the news of Obama winning. His speech was one that I thought was a great way to reach out to the American people and rally them in support of Obama and letting them know that they are going to be working together as a team. When I saw Barack Obama and his family on stage I felt as if a weight was lifted off the country and that things are on an up hill climb. His speech was a motivational speecth to America letting them know that he knows how hard these next four years are going to be, but he is up for the challenge. I can not wait to see what the nex four years will bring. I am excited and for the first time feel as if I made a difference to help better our country.

Darren Winchell said...

I thought the Mccain had a very gracious defeat. His tone was powerful and supportive for Obama and for his country in the future even spite of not getting nominated for president. I thought Obama kept his streak of giving strong speeches alive when he spoke in Chicago. Both speeches were positive and give Americans something to look forward to.

Gina said...

With respect to the question, "what it means to me"

What this election means to me is that people across the nation are taking action over complacency. Maybe things aren't the best right now in our current world but with the promise of a new leader that shares a healthy new vision, things will get better. I've heard a lot of skepticism from many viewpoints and have considered them all but overall people are resonating with Obama. Here is this man that came from humble beginnings and now he's going to be our commander in chief. He exemplifies what it means to achieve the American Dream. If you want it and you work for it you can get it, all the while being cool and collected. What he has accomplished this in election and the way that he has accomplished it is amazing. The incorporation of technology to reach voters that perhaps wouldn't have looked twice at him says something. Though he may not be experienced as some have pointed out, he appears to have the gift of connecting with people from all walks of life. His intelligence, calm demeanor and humble beginnings make me feel safe to know that things are going to get better. I mean after the comment Obama made on that windy and damp day in PA, "John McCain's ridden shotgun as George Bush has driven our economy toward a cliff, and now he wants to take the wheel and step on the gas," I was sold... Just kidding. How thankful I am to be blessed with the opportunity to take part in and witness history. On a final note, it would be improper not to mention that even women were represented in this election, which too was a titillating first. What an exciting road that we have paved for our children...

Heidi Johannessen said...

I'm not a part of the 18%, seeing as I'm from Norway and not a U.S. citizen. But I have paid attention to the campaigns since this summer, when I knew I was going to Bozeman for a semester. After seeing McCain's concession speech, I had more respect for him than I had earlier in his campaign. He showed himself as a true patriot who puts the country before himself, and who intends to do whatever he can to get the U.S. out of their economic crisis, even though it will not be from the White House. In Obama’s speech there is a lot of optimism for the future, but also realism. He comes off as a president for the people, and he says more than once that he intends to listen, especially when the people disagree with him. He also based a lot of his speech on beliefs that are as old as the Nation, and that these beliefs have finally come into their right. The notion of change is carefully described through an old woman’s life, which is a good way of showing how much has changed in the last century, and also how he wishes to affect the United States in the future, as a truly united country.

On another note, what has affected me most during this election is how the whole world has been waiting for the result. All my friends back in Norway liked Obama more than McCain, and most of them have used words as "relieved" when Obama won. Let's just say Bush was not a hit in Norway, and people have feared that McCain would be four new years of Bush, no matter how unfounded some might think that notion is. When we were watching the election, we were 15 international students from different countries in Europe, and only one American (this is probably because most Americans had found other places than the dorms to watch the election :p), but all of us were just as interested in the results as the one American was. So even though you were all electing the new President of the United States, the World was watching just as intently!

Daniel said...

After watching the speech by McCain, I felt gracious that he was not happy with the decision, but he accepted it. He did not feel like he was cheated out of the position and no matter what, he is willing to serve this country in whatever capacity. He will remain a senator from Arizona and thus will be under Barack Obama. That takes a lot of humility to not be ashamed of the results and still want to put the ideas of America first and hopefully he can still help makes the best decisions for us.

After seeing Obamas speech, he was very humble that so many Americans came out and voted for him to lead this great country. I am certain that throughout this campaign, he knew he was going to win. But maybe not by such a margin as he did. This was more the ideas and hopes put together so many months ago, of them coming full circle. It was very important that he did not come out and start gloating or rubbing salt in the wound.

I think that if he did, there would be a lot of people still arguing and trying to prove that one was better than the other. Even a day after the election, I did not see very many people so bitterly divided, and that makes this such an important day in American history. It shows that we can have our differences, but that we can still respectfully disagree and still save face and swallow our pride and put America first, which no matter who leads our country, we are still a nation the world looks to. They want us to be steadfast and solid in our beliefs and this shows we can accept other ideas and still go to work the next day and not try to hurt or kill someone because of their ideals.

Daniel Fochs

Phil Weiss said...

The last 20 months has had me thinking a lot more about politics than usual. Everywhere I looked, people were talking about the campaign. Now it is all said and done and in a few months we will have a new president. What does it all mean? Change I hope. Obama has his work cut out for him and I think his acceptance speech showed that. He was of course happy, but I could almost here him say, "what have I got myself into." I think Obama will do great things for our country and he is in a great position to turn this economic crisis around. McCain's speech was great. He took the loss like a gentleman and is still eager to help our Nation. He knows that now is not the time to quit, he seems like he will try to rally republicans to get behind Obama for the next 4 years. McCain might have his work cut out for him as well, he got beat pretty soundly but I believe that he wants the United States to be a better place regardless of who our commander and chief is. Good luck to both Obama and McCanin, it was a hell of a race, one that I will always remember.
Phil Weiss

Danielle Mermell said...

To me this election meant a lot in terms of the urgency for a new change of direction and leadership for the US, and both speeches acknowledged this well, but I was still somewhat amazed at McCain's concession speech. He was gracious enough to accept Obama's win, but his crowd still booed and hissed (and they do have every right to). Looking back at McCain's campaign speeches and Obama's, the amount of negativity in McCain's crowds shocked me. People yelling "Off with his head!", and "Terrorist!" just seemed so childish. I felt his crowd, even if they meant to or not, had evolved into the pitchfork and torch carrying villagers of some Frankenstein movie. McCain himself seemed gentler and more positive when he spoke, but I feel if he and Obama work together like Obama has suggested, this presidency could work and the disappointed mobs might change their minds about Obama.

Julia said...

The power in Barack Obama's speech was palpable. I was moved by his call to service and was impressed by his committment to unity, that we are one people, and as Lincoln said "We are not enemies but friends, though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection." This could never be more true, that our divisions must not break our will as a people to fix the monumentous problems before us. We must live up to our ideals like we haven't in a long time.
As for John McCain's speech, I was happy he went about it the way he did, saying that "He will be my president" is a good model for the fact that we must move away from the dirty tactics that we have seen in the past few months (and in politics in general for that matter). The promises of good will and unity are needed now more than ever, and though there is no doubt in my mind that he only wants the best for this country I do not believe he or Sarah Palin knew what was right for our nation.
I can only hope that this committment to bipartisanship is not just another talking point of both parties, but somthing that will be utilized to bring the changes we so desperately need.
One last note, I thought it was very smart of Obama to say that this is not going to be an easy road to change, that it will require a lot of work from everyone.
I have a lot more respect for our system after this election and I was proud to be a part of it on so many levels. I can only hope that our place in the world will be one of respect and admiration, and I think the Obama win is a step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Watching both speeches that night left me with a feeling of pride I havent felt in the last eight years. Obamas speech didnt press on the historical landmark that America has reached, but instead on his plan, wich I though was very important. For me McCains speech was honest and full of his personal integrity. Especially when he quited the booers. His sense of country really is stronger than his party ties. And while I'm extremly glad Obama won its easy to see McCain is a good guy(im not sure about that Palin charecter though) And in reflecting on the last 20 months is it any wonder Obama won? Obamas campaign was targeted to the average American people while McCains was targeted to the Mavericks of America.
Brendan Miller-O'Neil

kathleen.huse@myportal.montana.edu said...

You didn't hear it so much during the campaign, but it comes out now in full force---race. Never from Obama himself, but from every single other person in the media (hey they need sensation) and even from John McCain (an essential point made in his eloquent concession). Before Tuesday night you could barely get anyone to touch that topic with a 39 1/2 foot pole, now they rant about it wholeheartedly. One only hopes that it wears off (at least in media coverage) after a few days.
Anyways, the important part of this, as I see it, is what it has apparently done on the world scale. All of the sudden everyone likes America again. Was it because he spent so much time touring Europe, becoming the "international celebrity" he is? Or because he "finally represents American diversity" in our global leadership (specifically the position of president) as the world looks to America to solve this global crisis?? Is it because he promises to get out of Iraq???? (let's hope congress can stop him from doing anything rash there)
All I can say is I welcome any boost to our international image and popularity, and hope the marriage stays just as exciting as the honeymoon.
(and isn't Michelle just the perfect little Jackie O)

Anonymous said...

can i just say that Obama had fantastic advisors and an amazing campaign manager, not to mention he is a truly great public speaker- but hey so was hitler---whoa whoa just kidding, but yeah- i said it- its out their in the world.....

jamiw@hotmail.com said...

I have to say thank god the elections are over. I was so relieved to see a president be elected. I have never been much into political science, but from taking this class, and the intensity of the elections, it was much more interesting. Voting was difficult because my mom voted democrat while my dad voted republican. While watching the presidential speeches, I was very pleased with how well McCain responded. I thought it was professional and than he knew that Obama would truely do a great job. On the other hand, Obama also had a great speech. I feel like America is ready for change and I am hoping that Obama will do it for us. My hope would be for both Obama to pull through with his promises and show the change that America needs.
jami w

recklessabandon said...

This presidential race was a historic one. It was good to see the respect McCain and Obama have for one another, and I think it was good for the American people to see. The biggest component of McCain's campaign was his love for his country, and I think this came out very well in his speech. Even in defeat, he was gracious for all his country had done for him. He believes in the promise of America, and I like how he urged the people of this nation to offer Obama our "good will and earnest effort" as he faces the task of fixing our economy. No matter what camp you're in, it was a victory for the race war Tuesday night. The fact that America elected the first African American president in history speaks volumes for how far we have come from the days of slavery. I really like how Obama spoke of McCain's sacrifice for this country and that he has been fighting for this country on the ground and on Capital Hill for many years. Obama said it wasn't his victory, but the people's victory. Obama campaigned with "Change", and time will tell if this can be achieved and what will become of our country's legacy.

Kelsey Lindquist

kelly said...

The election in some ways is a closing point to the past several years of campaigning. Moving into another way of government, something that will be very different then what we have seen in the past 8 years, as I had started watching politics more closely in the past 10 years.
Having seen McCain previously in interviews,he was the Republican candidate and seeing him during the campaign. Was like seeing two different men. I am not sure wither this is because of who he had hired as part of his campaign staffing or if it was due to other reasons. The best speech I had seen during the past year was when he, John McCain, gave his concession speech. It seemed to be his old self, which I respect. Though I was not keen on his base of supporters booing when John mentioned Barracks name, he did an good job of settling them down.
I believe John McCains strongest point in his speech was when he said " to leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country then we inherited. No matter our differences we are still Americans."
Barrack Obama's speech was awesome. In it he was very eloquent, emotional not only for the people watching him their in Chicago, the rest of the U.S. but around the world. As far as I can remember he has had one of the best acceptance speeches that I have seen. Barracks speech covered parts of history from the founding fathers until today. The tying in of the 106 year old woman who voted today who started life at start of a new century, seeing how the progression of how racial views have changed as civil rights were fought. Then by seeing Barrack be elected into the presidency as a historic moment in this election.
This moment in history will also open up the doors for more minorities to become more involved with the American political process and voting.
It was good to see that both McCain and Obama came to terms talking with each other both mentioned that bipartisanship is what the country needs, especially if Barrack and the Democratic party want to get bills moved through congress to get the changes started. How well Barrack does will shape the way American politics are done.

Anonymous said...

I guess I will start out by staing that I am quite conservative in my views and that I was a supporter of the McCain administration since the begining of the republican primary. I am dissapointed that he didn't make it into office but that doesn't mean that its the end of the world either, i'm sure Obama will do a fine job as our next president. I am just going to state a few things about the Obama acceptance speech and McCains concession. First off it seemed strange to me that Obama almost sounded somber at his acceptance to the presidency and I can only conclude that if he thought his campaign was tough, well thats going to be holiday compared to his job starting in January with the tough situation our country is already in. Second of all, listening to McCains concession speech made me proud that I cast my vote for that man and that he seemed very honest and sincere with his remarks regardless of the loud and seemingly upset crowd in Arizona. If only he spoke this way during his whole campaign and did not fall to usiing smear tactics against his opponent - maybe it would have been a closer election. Last and most important is how amazing it is to be in the era, and actually watching it unfold, the first african american elected to President of the United States is just amazing and shows how far this country has come in such a short time. Even though I didn't vote for him it is still probably one of the biggest events that will happen in my lifetime and I am proud to be part of the generation that could finally see past the color of some ones skin.

Greg C.
POLS 206 3-4 pm class

Maria said...

After viewing the two speeches I felt renewed relief that the elections are over and that I no longer have to listen to the two candidates argue and point fingers at the other’s past mistakes. Both candidates over used these tactics and even though both congratulated the other on a job well done their tones seemed too rehearsed to contain real honesty. I believe that they mean what they say, but it is difficult to take their word after their antics in the past year.
Also I wonder about their families; they must give up their husband and father so he may take this position of prestige and power. As both candidates pointed out their families keep them going, but the two men, in turn, slow their families down and it seems that if I were in their position I would find it hard to wait for the time when life could return to normal.
Overall I feel that the country has gained a hardworking, diligent young President who promises to go far, whether he can accomplish that we must wait and see. Yet I also feel sorrow that two young girls will lose the father they once knew and must live perpetually in the lime light for a majority of their young lives.

Maria Pomeroy POLS 206

Kristi Knaub said...

Kristi Knaub
POLS 206

After a long 20 months, it was hard for me to believe that the election finally came to a close. This is the most involved and informed I have been in a presidential election, and I feel it is one of the most significant and honorable in our nation's history.
Watching John McCain's concession speech increased my respect for him. He bowed down graciously, a difficult thing to do after such a hard fought election. I thought he handled the boos from the crowd well and made a valiant effort to get the message out to his supporters that they need to back our new president.
Wathcing Barack Obama's victory speech was inspiring and made me feel so proud of how far we've come as a nation. His eloquence and smooth nature made me confident in him to be the next president of the United States. He offered his respect toward John McCain and was the picture of a graceful winner. While Barack Obama has a heavy workload set in front of him, his speech indicated that he was aware of the many obstacles he will have to overcome, and I appreciated that. He asked for our help and our unity, which showed me how in touch he is with the people of our country.
This election means a great deal to me because I think it truly signifies the racial boundaries we have finally overcome. After so many lessons about slavery, the civil rights movement, and racial prejudice in the history of our nation, I can finally believe that we have overcome those atrocities. Obama's reference to the 106 year-old black woman who experienced the full progression of rights for African Americans in the U.S. and never thought she would see the day of a black presidency put all of our history in perspective. I think that as a result of this election, we will start to regain some of the respect of America from other countries that has been absent during the Bush presidency. This election will be looked back upon as a pivitol moment in time, I am proud to say that I voted on the right side of history.

Anonymous said...

On Tuesday night, both senators John McCain and Barack Obama communicated great respect for one another, something that seemed lacking throughout the campaign. Along with an overwhelming and unmistakable love for this country, McCain's speech gave me the impression that he felt confident in Barack Obama. Furthermore, while McCain felt that he would be the best president, in his defeat he acknowledged the importance of unity in this nation, and the importance of bi-partisan support for Obama. In Chicago, Obama's speech demanded strong emotion from all who watched. While Obama still has much to deliver, the nation can be sure that change will come. Not only did Obama recognize the challenges ahead of him, but he congratulated his supporters for getting out there and making a difference. As Obama said, this vicotry does not belong to him, but to all those who beleived in him and did something about it. This proves not only that every vote does count, but also that this generation can be trusted with the future of our country. The sense of hope fostered in Obama's speech is one that all Americans can be sure of. Regardless of one's partisanship, both McCain and Obama clearly displayed a willingness to work together towards improvement that any voter can look forward to.

Allie Connelly said...

The speeches by both candidates were both well done. John McCain did a very good job supporting the opinion of the people and urged his supporters to respect and support Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. Given the nature of many republicans that voted for McCain in the fact that many really disliked Obama, it was very important for him to show his support for Obama. While McCain was dispointed in the outcome, he showed how greatful he was for his supporters and his experience during the campaign.

Obama also had a very powerful acceptance speech. His respect showed for John McCain and his contributions to the country seemed to really show that he did respect McCain despite their political differences. I think my favorite line from Obama's speech was him talking about "earning" the support of people that did not vote for him. It was good to hear that although he is the next president of the United States, he is not arrogant enough to think that everybody is automatically going to bend to his will. Obama showed his deep understanding that the nation is politically divided but he is all of our's president. He made it very clear that he would not only be acting on behalf of his political party, but on behalf of the entire nation. This is very encouraging to see. I am hoping to see a more united federal government not divided by political parties, but brought together by a desire to help our country in this time of need.

Honestly, the campaign for me was stressful. My family was politically divided and I was stuck in the middle of it all kind of being the nuetral voice, friends with both sides. Every other day would be a phone call from my mom or one of my brothers complaining about the other's political views and bullheadedness. I was relieved when it was over. Although interesting to follow and cool too see so much involvemnt among all age groups, I am happy that it is all over and we now know who the next president will be. Both candidates impressed me by their speeches and no matter which way I voted, I feel confident for the future of our country.

Karli said...

This election was important to me because it was the first presidential election in which I was able to vote. This meant I finally had the chance to represent my opinion for the next president of the United States. Some people argue that their one vote doesn't really count, but in the whole scheme of things, every vote amounts to the whole. If we didn't get out there and vote, who would represent our age group? After watching the speeches of Obama and McCain after the decision had been calculated, I felt that both men did an extremely good job of supporting one another. Obama spoke about how he planned on having McCain's support in changing the nation. McCain spoke to his supporters, encouraging everyone to back up Obama. No matter who the president is, the nation will not be as successful as its potential without the support of the entire nation. We need to work together as the United States of American in order to fight for our country's beliefs and experience the largest change possible. This election was set up to be historical from the beginning. Before any of the results were announced, we knew that our country would be experiencing a new era, either with a female vice president or a black president. I look forward to seeing the changes up ahead and hope that Obama will be able to stay true to his word and turn this country around.

katey barber said...

After the last several months of political rivalry, outrageous political ads, and putting each other down, I thought the speeches of both candidates finally showed that they held respect for each other. On the one hand, McCain very graciously accepted defeat. After suffering such a loss, I can imagine it would not be easy to speak on national television about how you truly respect your opponent. It was nice to finally see some nice words come out of each of the candidates mouths. I would hold much more respect for each of them if they spoke about each other through the entire campaign the way they spoke about each other in their speeches. However, I know that "trash talking" plays a large and most of the time important part in presidential campaigning. Obama, by no surprise, had an amazing acceptance speech. It was actually fun and very interesting to listen to him. Normally, I hate listening to presidential speeches, but both of the candidates handled the outcome amazingly, and I hope Obama can deal with the problems America is facing with the same confidence and courage as he did during his speech. To my surprise, they both stated a clear intent to work together, (democrats and republicans). They both know that partisanship needs to be layed aside when we have the interest of the country to look after. This year's election was very significant in that it was my first year to vote. This will be a year I will never forget; the first year I got to vote was the first year an African American was elected. For all of the people who aren't supporters of Obama, you have to admit that it is a very historical year and the change in our country from fifty years ago is very obvious. I'm very excited to see what happens in the future presidential elections. Maybe this will open the door for a wide variety of candidates.

angela robbins said...

Like many others, I saw two quite respectful men give speeches Tuesday night. They each gave great acknowledgements towards the other through assurance of support. McCain was gracious in his loss and I have greater respect towards him for encouraging the nation to step behind Obama as a united country. I really appreciated him saying Obama will be his president too. That statement alone rallied many strong republicans to support Obama and the country they love. Obama also gave a powerful speech. He spoke of the difficulties to come and his enthusiasm to get to work. I respect how level he remained and how he stayed calm and collected even though he has just experienced one of the most exhilarating moments of his life. All in all, I think both speeches were executed quite well and brought nearly everyone to common feeling of peace. I think we all are eager to see what Obama actually does. I am sure I am not alone in hoping that, for the sake of the nation, Obama makes wise choices and listens to both sides as he has said he will.

Teresa Keserich said...

I've skimmed through the responses of the other students. I don't think I need to reiterate Obama's speech was full of motivation yet realistic and McCain was gracious in his defeat, subduing the boos from his supporters...

I took this class on a whim as it was one of the few open courses that fufilled a core. I've found it more difficult than my 400 level art history class. As far as the last 20 months... in all honesty I didn't pay attention. My news comes from John Stewart and Steven Colbert. Some may find this ignorant or insulting. I'm fine with it. That's the beauty of being American... I have a choice.

I choose to focus on my study of art and design. In the last few weeks my attention was given to seventeenth century Italy and the politics surrounding Bernini's multiple commisions from Urban VIII. When I could I did my best to read up on current issues.Did I vote... yes, but only on the canidates I felt qualified to vote for. At the end of it all I'm a cynic. In terms of politics it is not my interest, and I make the choice to be informed about the context of a particular issue. The world won't end tommorrow, and American won't end whether Obama is an outstanding leader, mediocre or downright terrible... We might be better off or worse because of it... but America will still be here. So to sum it up, thanks to the SNL presidential bash... On track, stay the course, a thousand points of light. Stay the course.
:)

Teresa Keserich
pols 206
teresak2@gmail.com

Marguerite said...

I believe both speeches were done nicely and with respect to each other. McCain impressed me through his commitment to work with Obama to try and achieve goals that will help our country. Obama however impressed me more through addressing both, his celebration, then approaching the fact that we now have the hard road ahead. The idea of we all have to work together hit home. Now that the election is over does not mean we can all turn our heads, we must still work together to make the changes we hope for.

Ray said...

I really liked McCain's speach. I think that it was a real good point that we can only fix things in the future, and we shouldn't dwell on the past. It was also an excellent point about how we need to work together to do the best things possible for this country. On election night, I read an article about what Obama's advisers are saying his plan is as president. The artical mirrored what McCain had to say about working with everybody and fixing the future, not dwelling in the past. I think that the extreme left and the extreme right work very hard to polarize this country, and it does no favors for this nation. This became particularly apparent during Bush's presidency, and it is good to see both sides looking to work together and work to create plans that are supported by all Americans. Obama saying that he was president for all Americans, and he wanted to hear what both sides had to say was particularly encouraging. I really hope that this country can start to work together again, rather than fighting over every issue.

Anonymous said...

After watching both speeches, one of the biggest things that stood out was when John Mccain said "I do not know what more we could have done." I think the fact that the young voters turnout was higher then before surprised him. He was counting on them not turning out. Barack Obama's speech had a congratulatory feeling about it. He stated that
this election is proof that everyones voice is heard and has say in how this country should be ran. Both speeches also touched on how huge this election was for African Americans. After so many years of ill treatment and being treated like second class citizens, an African American has achieved the highest office the United States has.

Ricky Padilla (ricardo.padilla@myportal.montana.edu) said...

Christians and Politics

Since I became interested in Barak Obama and his plans for America 13 months ago, this year’s presidential campaigns have had quite the impact on my life and on a number of my relationships. I am a Christian who believes that following Jesus and his teachings are the best way to live my life. Over the past couple years, I have questioned the religious right’s monopoly on Christianity and I now believe that Jesus is neither a republican nor a democrat. This year for the first time, I tried to look at an election through the lens of the teachings of Jesus, without letting myself be pulled one way by my conservative friends and family. I voted for Barack Obama.

The fact that my wife and I voted for a democrat has shown us the ugly side of some of our conservative Christian friends and family. Many of them believe (or imply) that we are out of line and need direction back to the Christian faith. Some of them are just plain angry and disgusted with us. But what this election has meant for me is that when I open my mind to different (hopefully more biblical) ways of being a Christian in politics, it can greatly upset people of the very political and foundational beliefs of the religious conservatism that I grew up in (even though I'm not claiming to be right, just looking for a better way.)

alicia06 said...

As I watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech I was excited and looking forward to our future. I felt like he was very personable and like he was having a conversation with the american people. It was interesting because usually I feel as if politician's cannot be personable. I enjoyed watching the crowd as well because they were so excited and it was historic. As far as John McCain's concession speech I felt sad for him. He was very professional about the situation and was strong enough to congratulate Obama. I liked that Obama congratulated McCain as well. It was interesting and I feel anticipation for America's future after all this.

Sammie said...

This election ment a lot to me being it was the first election I was able to vote in. Looking back over the 20 months it's amazing to see how things have happened. It was nice to see in both of the speeches that they were very respectful to each other. I really hope they work together in the coming years, because that will be best for country.
Obama's speak was very good. Especially with all the people at Grant Park, you could just feel the emotion. I feel this emotion was felt all over the country. The way he gave his speech reminded me of listening to Martin Luther King Jr. The way he got the crowd involved. I hope he can get the nation involved in his new policies. This was a great election to be apart of, and I feel I was a part of history.

Daniel said...

McCain's speech was in classic form of the "Maverick" by saying that we should support Obama in the future, i found this very 'Country First'. Obama's speech was very much like the other speech's of the Pres. Elect: well-worded, moving, rhetoric. I hope that with the Dems in the White House and in both Houses of Congress, the 'change' we see is not only good for %52 of us, but for every American

Daniel Bradley POLS 206

Anonymous said...

I believe this election was a powerful example of America's distaste for its present situation, as well as, its past experiences with the Bush administration. Obama brought a message to his campaign that connected with many Americans. Even without the economic crisis there is a need for reorganization of decision making, truth behind political decisions, and consideration towards America's future. McCain would have been a worthy Presidential candidate if he hadn't proceeded Bush. The acceptance speech by McCain made me realize how much I had overlooked his personal candor because of my focus on Obama. Although, it hadn't changed my mind for whom I voted for, it made me disappointed that McCain was no longer a major presence in American politics. Obama's acceptance speech reinforced my belief in a better future. His realization that change didn't come automatically with his win, but rather his win was a proof that Americans still had hope in our country's potential. This election, in a way, proved me wrong. It reinforced my belief in our country's ability to be great and my pride in our citizens' will to hold accountable those against improvement.
Brianne Barber

Anonymous said...

Dear Professor
I thought that this was a great day to be an American. Both canidates were so gracious in their speeches. It was also interesing the things Obama talked about. He talked about how things would chnge but mabe not in his term. He thanked his family and made this speech very personel. Then he talked about voting through the years. I have listened to many other speeches from presidents and I found his speech to be the one that made you feel ok that he was our president. Even though he had won he made you comfortable that things were going to be ok. McCain did well with his speech and did not make it a pitty speech which some who have lost in the past have done.

Kristine said...

I was very impressed with both candidates speeches. It was a refreshing change to hear Obama speak so eloquently and effortlessly after suffering through eight years of "Bush-isms". I was particularly pleased with McCain's speech. It showed his obvious respect and reverence for his opponent, and gave the sense of togetherness between the two men. I am pleased with the outcome of the election, and the final speeches raised my level of respect for both men.
Kristine Talbert POLS 206

Anonymous said...

When it comes to McCain's speech, I thought he was very respectful and humble. He even tried to quiet the booing when his supporters were upset about the results, I thought that was very cool. I thought that Obama's speech was..great as all his speeches are. He also seemed to be very sincere, and hopeful that all of America would support him, when he said "I will be your president too,"... I am happy with the results, glad it's over, and wish that everyone would just accept it now. I keep hearing this and that about how they still hate Obama or they're "still NObama"..it's over, and I suppose I wish everyone would accept it, that's all.

Anonymous said...

I have to say first that this election is the first that I have voted in. It made me proud to be an American to be able to put my vote in for such an important position of government. I feel that both McCain's and Obama's speeches also made me proud. Both candidates have proved to be intelligent, hard-working, proud Americans.
McCain's eloquent speech not only recognized Obama's election as president as an historic event, it also recognized how Obama has been able to reinvigorate the democratic party and inspire many people by engaging them in the campaign process in various ways. Obama has won the confidence of America and McCain calls upon his supporters to bridge the gap and support Obama as the President of the United States.
Obama did recognize McCain for his service and contribution to America and congratulated him and Palin for their achievements during the campaign, but the bulk of Obama's speech was about change. Obama spoke of inspirational ideals: patriotism, responsibility, looking after ourselves and others, and that all things are possible. "The true genius of America is that we can change." He invoked realism by reminding Americans that it will not be easy and there may be set backs, but he promises to listen and heal divides by keeping in mind the motto "Yes We Can." Obama also painted a vivid picture of wanting to unite the United States of America and not think of America as red states and blue states. We are all Americans and change has come to America with the election of Obama and Biden for President and Vice President.

Rachel Grieco - POLS 206

Tyler said...

I was extremely impressed with the professionalism that John McCain showed with his concession speech. He commended Obama for his acheivment and told the American public to support the great nation that both candidates love. I was very happy about his support that he gave and respect him very much. I thought that Obama's acceptance speech in Grant Park says alot about what is to come in the future. Obama aknowledged McCain's service for the United States and their acheivements. I feel that Obama is sincere in what he is promising America and will be a very good president. He was not as excited and enthusastic that I thought he would be, but very down to earth and calm. He will be a good president.
Tyler Naval
POLS 206

Tyler said...

At the start of all of the campaigning, I really had no enthusiasm for politics in general. I had never voted in any type of election, despite having the ability for a few years now, and was perfectly content letting things be sorted out without me. However, as this election progressed, I found myself more and more drawn in until I was completely avid about voting. The final speeches by McCain and Obama left me with entirely optimistic thoughts about this whole process and almost all of my original apathy has diminished. because of this election, my views have been changed for the better.

Tyler Wright

Anne Howard said...

I have to admit that at the beginning of this election, I contemplated not voting at all because I could not imagine either of the candidates leading our country. As the election went on I realized that what I had to do. This election seemed horrible to me at times, because of all the criticism, and the fighting. But in the end, even though the man I hoped would win didn't, I realize how amazing it is that our country has not only nominated, but elected a black man as president. We've taken a big step. I think that people were blinded at times, to the change Obama promised, and the image that has been painted for us of Bush by the media. I was also very stunned at how genuinely gracious McCain and Obama were in Their speeches, about the other candidates. I think that Obama has a lot to offer American. Obama now deserves our support and our respect, not because we necessarily voted for him, but because he is now the leader and representative of our country, and we need to be behind him as he leads our country through the next four years.

Carolyn Biolo said...

Reflecting back on the elections the past few months I realize that it was the first time that I actually informed myself on issues that mattered to me, and made my decision to vote based upon my own values and beliefs. In the past election I was definetly swayed by my parents and their poplitcal stance on issues and voted according to them. On tuesday night, I was sitting in my sisters hotel room watching with her husband. After watching John McCain's speach I thought that he had done a great job of being a proud, respectful loser in the presidential race. His speach was very dignified and he showed great appreciation to his supporters along the trail. Obama's speach was amazing. My sister and I both thought that we felt it was crazy to think about how we are witnessing one of the greatest moments of America's Hisory. I thought that Barack was very composed and almost unrealistically calm. I thought it was cute when he mentioned getting a puppy for his litte girls. It was really neat to see the two families join together on stage, to congradulate their father, grandfather, brother, uncle..whichever, it shows that they have strong families values, which I think are important strong characteristics for the men in charge of our nation.

Tricia Stutterheim said...

Despite McCain's defeat, I must give him credit for his, what appeared to be, supportive final speech. I have high respect for anyone who can face a loss with a sense of self-respect and dignity. However, throughout the last 20 months/so, I am still amazed at the talent and charisma of Barack Obama when it comes to addressing the public! I wasn't always able to "watch" the debates via internet due to bad connection, but was still able to hear then through online radio. If I were to chose the better candidate based only on communication "skills", undoubtedly Obama would have my vote. He is concise, passionate, prepared, and very deliberate with what he wants to tell the American people. Granted, McCain desperately tried to appeal to the public with clever arguments for "Joe the Plumber"....but it just wasn't enough! America wanted "Change", they wanted someone to lead them who could better their tomorrows and give them security for what lies ahead. Obama articulated so well to the masses not only in his speeches and debates, but also through his dedication and support to a new stronger campaign.
No one can deny that this election made global history! Im anxious to see all that unfolds in our country over the next four years.

taylor holmes said...

McCain's speech although gracious and full of humility in no way moved me to the extent that Obama's did. Throughout the Obama campaign Barrack's eloqouence showed with every speech he gave. The speech truly moved me and gave me a sense of accomplishment personally. The night itself was nothing i expected it seemed that it was over before it even began. But the speech in grant park where that huge crowd waited for the acceptance and the elected president seemed like the best way to cap of the night. Even McCain supporters must have been moved by the speech and at the end of the day McCain benevolence andd kindness truly shined although he still drew boos from his crowd in Arizona. All in all great way to cap of the end of two hard fought fronts on either side of the campaign trail.