“Fired up!” yells Abraham Jenkins. “Ready to go!” respond UCI's Barack Obamamites. In the midst of their chant a faint “Romney!” is heard from the obnoxious kid holding the long board. Dude, it’s an Obama rally. Did you not get the memo?
The rally hype began a week ago, with posters plastered around UCI. Obama’s vectorized face looked straight into the eyes of students debating whether to attend the Thursday rally at noon or grab lunch instead. The candidate's worried stare seemed to say "make the right decision, kiddo." Printed below his portrait were the words, “It’s time to unite the country.” But would all this blatant advertising entice students out of their notably apathetic shells?
John Lennon’s “Imagine” could be quietly but distinctly heard through the audio system at the UCI Student Center. Obama supporters wearing shirts with “Yes we can” printed on them hollered at hungry students headed towards the food court. Volunteers on stage waved signs over their heads shouting “What do we want? Change! When do we want it? Now!”
Scott McLaughlin, a graduate student from UCI jumped on stage and started the "Fired up" chant again. Obama supporters from the presidential hopeful's Santa Ana offices enthusiastically responded, but the student crowd was too busy stuffing its collective face.
Abraham Jenkins, regional field organizer, took the microphone, and his presence quieted the crowd.
Jenkins is "tired of having a president that can’t pronounce 'nuclear.'” Not to mention Bush's distorted motto: “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you? Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” McLaughlin joined Jenkins, praising Obama’s propositions for providing inexpensive health care and making education affordable. Did he say affordable? We’ve heard that before. But it's enough for these two to have Obama's back.
Jenkins and McLaughlin aren't alone. Madeline Oliver, president of Young Democrats, has been inspired by the candidate. Jennifer Annie who believes “America is of the common people” does as well. So does Erik Christianson, a Veteran of the Army, who is against the war.
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“Fired up,” the chant starts up yet again and I find myself wanting to respond. But I don’t.
Maria Krish comes on, unexpected by the organizers. She was a resident of Hyde Park, Illinois during the time Obama represented this low key community. Nowadays, Hyde Park has become a place of great pride with their former representative gaining ground for the Democratic nomination. “Look back at his record,” said Krisch. According to her, Obama supported bipartisan collaboration and environmental reform since 1996, which made him a leader in Hyde Park. And that is why Krisch supports Obama.
Two thousand miles away from Hyde Park, Obama seems to have gained some attention at UCI’s Student Center. Whether it was the chants or the message, Obama’s people are left with the anticipation of students making it to the polls.
Bob Marley’s “Get up, Stand up!” plays in the background, and sure enough students trickle away with their empty plates in hand. If only Romney’s single supporter would do the same.