After months of build-up, Super Tuesday is finally here. Tuesday’s series of primaries may well decide the Democratic and Republican nominees for President.
That makes this week an exciting time across the nation, and especially at a school like GW, recently ranked by the Princeton Review as the most politically active campus in the nation. And the evidence of this activism has been plentiful in the last few months. Individual student groups have formed in support of many of the candidates on both sides of the aisle. These groups have been campaigning hard – phone banking, attending rallies, taking campaign trips and more. The amount of energy directed at the primary only increases every day.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I am an avid Barack Obama supporter. His energy, his vision and his commitment to a new kind of politics both inspires and excites me. Just drawing a line next to his name on my absentee ballot last week was a memorable experience, and I cannot wait to see him in action as president. I truly believe that he can earn the nomination and win the election in November.
That said, I know none of these things are guaranteed. Hillary Clinton is strong in many of the primary states, and winning the nomination is highly possible for her. Unlike many of my fellow Obama supporters, I am no Hillary hater. I respect Sen. Clinton a great deal and believe that she has the potential to make a great president. What worries me about her is that she may be too entrenched in a political system that is simply not working. Thinking about the possibility of her winning got me thinking though. What will Obama’s supporters do, at GW and across the nation, if Barack is not named the next Democratic nominee for president?
The possible answers scare me. More than anything, I do not want to see the White House in the hands of the Republican party a day past Jan. 20, 2009, much less four years more.
So I urge my fellow liberals, whether supporters of Hillary, Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson or Dennis Kucinich, to keep in mind what this election is truly about. Barack says it in many of his speeches, and it is imperative that all of us keep it in mind as we celebrate the results of tomorrow and move on to the next stages of the primary. This election is not about any individual candidate. It is not about Barack or Hillary. It is about students like us, and it is about our parents. It is about people our age who are not fortunate enough to attend a school like GW. It is about people.
That may read like idealistic nonsense from a privileged kid who has little real life experience, but I think some truth can be found in it. I spend most of my time working with STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition and leading the chapter here at GW. What I’ve been fortunate to see up close is the enormous capability of a united student movement. STAND has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect civilians in Sudan and made ending the genocide there a national priority.
Just imagine a movement of people, students and otherwise, dedicated to creating real change in our country. If the movement is strong enough, our candidate will only matter so much, because we are the ones who get to decide what issues matter and what needs to be changed. We are the ones who know that the status quo is unacceptable, and we’re the ones who can push our country to do better. We are the ones who should ultimately decide what policies our president should pursue.
It is true that, in the end, I think Barack Obama is the one for the job. But the Obama supporters should not despair if Hillary becomes the nominee, nor should Hillary supporters if Barack secures the most delegates. Because what is most important is that the people who share the same vision for a better America come together behind one candidate when it counts the most.
The writer, a sophomore majoring in history and political science, is a Hatchet columnist.