In 2008, Barack Obama featured one of the most innovative and attractive campaigns ever launched. His fresh-look propaganda, proper cause, even those who were pledged to the red side of the political spectrum were showing their support. College students especially were showing great enthusiasm about Obama’s campaign and his election featured one of the highest young-voter turnouts in history.
Fast-forward to 2011 and nearly four years of his run in the president’s seat and things look quite different. Students who once were avid Obama supporters are less excited for the upcoming campaign, myself included. Right now the talk of the nation is who will oppose Obama but less media attention is on Obama’s campaign for re-election such as what his slogan will be.
This phenomenon is due partly because of us. In 2008, like many students, I was an enthusiastic fan of Obama and supported many of his seemingly life-changing promises. Although I couldn’t vote due to the fact that I was an international student on a visa, one of my dreams has always been to be a permanent resident. One of his focal points in his campaign was easier paths for an immigration reformation that didn’t only apply to those illegally here but also applied to those in the queue waiting for the chance of a visa. Excited about this, I naturally jumped onto the Obama bandwagon my senior year in high school.
I idolized Obama. He seemed like the perfect beacon of hope, similar to a superhero, and after much damage done by the Bush administration, he was the one to turn things around. Obama was going to repair that damage and give us the promises of economic progress, more energy efficient methods, stop the wars in the Middle East, efficient health care and to turn America back into the kind of nation it was before.
The Obama campaign team has said that is not too worried about the lack of student enthusiasm and support for the reelection campaign. They created more ways for students to get involved such as using Tumblr to allow students to ask questions or suggest proposals to Obama. I don’t think this is enough though. They need to address what students care about these days such as the Occupy movement and create a playoff system for college football (remember President Obama going on ESPN and suggesting that?) to appeal to college students nation-wide.
As for me, even though some immigration reform has been done, it has not been as effective as it should. This issue should be revisited. Undoubtedly, Obama is a clever and charismatic spokesman who thrives on being down to Earth. Therefore, he should be able to relate to us as he once quoted to say that he was “in our shoes” as he was not from a rich family. This combined with four years not yet enough to fix the damage done by the Bush administration should appeal to the college crowd once again. Maybe not at the same level of enthusiasm as 2008, but we’ve seen what he’s capable of. Perhaps we’ll see better things to come if we just gave him more time. Perhaps it’s too early to tell, but the talks on the upcoming election will rise and the campaign step it up once the GOP primaries are over. We must also remind ourselves that our government works through three branches, and not a single man.
Marko Ocampo is a third-year nursing science major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.