President Obama came to visit Colorado State University on August 28th. He was here in 2008 and I just barely missed him. He was a senator running for president back then. I was a scared freshman, and the Oval was outside of the comfortable bubble I had created for myself (dorm room, classes, Lory Student Center, and Corbett dining hall).
This time around I was determined to see him. My President Obama adventures began around 10:30 am on August 27th. That’s when I just happened to walk by a girl handing out tickets on my way to carry out a completely different mission (Print flyers for the first meeting for the CSU Range Club). She was just setting up so I didn’t even have to wait in line to get this shiny blue ticket.
Behind the scenes photos:
Behind these curtains you can find metal detectors and a weaving maze on metal barricades to organize the line of people.
The next stages of this adventure to see President Obama’s speech did not quite go according to plan. First off, I should have realized that the people I passed at 10:00am (some people camped out all night) were clever, instead of scoffing at their time-wasting ways.
Secondly, I should have brought my ticket to school with me this morning instead of leaving it in my lunch box (yes, I am such a logical thinker). My poor boyfriend, Reid, was napping (he works nights now), and I woke him up to bring my ticket between classes.
Third, I should have brought sunscreen and a hat and a parasol and a sunshade and a fan and about 8 gallons of water! It was approximately 5,000 degrees and standing in line in direct sunlight in that kind of heat is probably what death feels like (if you died in the desert of heat stroke and dehydration), especially if your not even sure if it will all pay off.
Fourth, I should have left my backpack with Reid when he brought the ticket instead of lugging it with me to the back of the loooooooong line (My estimates say it was at least a mile long).
Map courtesy of Google Maps
- Blue box indicates location of speakers
- Red box indicates security
- Black line indicates direction of line (Where it ends on East dr. is not necessarily the end, this is just where I lost track of it.)
- Yellow star indicates where I got into the line
- Orange star indicates where I left it
*Please Note: Colors have no correlation to party.
After 30 minutes of waiting in line (I moved probably 20 feet in that time, at least I made it to some shade), I was told that IF I made it to the front they would probably send me to a separate line to check my bag before sending me BACK to the back of the line.
I had nowhere to take my backpack AND my phone was dead. The extremely nice woman in front of me in line told me she would save my place in line if I wanted to run home to drop it off. She gave me her phone number and told me to call when I returned in order to find her. She joked that she would be hard to find, about 10 feet away from our current position in the 45 minutes it would take for me to return.
There was a squirrel in this tree. I thought I got it in the picture but it must be a vampire. (squiracula)
So I left my place…
…chugged a bottle of the free H2Obama (witty)…
… snapped this photo of the Elvis selling Obama buttons. I also saw a man selling Baronco shirts (Barack + Broncos = Baronco?)… and rode my bike home.
I was so hot when I got home that I felt defeated and like I never wanted to return to that horrible line. I resigned my self to homework for the night.
My sister, Erica then told me that she had green priority tickets, which gave me a second wind (with priority tickets you don’t have to wait as long in line). I called my friend that was saving my spot in line to tell her that I wouldn’t be returning and thanked her for her kindness. We decided to meet up at Wild Boar Coffee, a coffee shop across the street from campus.
Images inside the Quad:
A few highlights from the opening speeches:
John Hickenlooper, Governor for Colorado, states, “Barack Obama has your back. Do we have his back?” He then goes on to say “President Obama has more emotional depth than anyone I have ever known, and we are lucky to have him as our president.”
Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, asks, “ Who will be the champion for the middle class? Obama, or the other guy who stands for the top 2%.” He also informs us, “It’s Barack Obama that helped you get into higher education.”
CSU Sophomore Haley Damm-Hamblin introduces the president. Her speech represented her background as a young woman going to university and why this election is important to her.
Finally, Obama takes the stage, and he got me just a jazzed as he always does when I hear him speak. One of his major points throughout the speech was the importance of voting. He encourages us to vote saying, “Your vote will decide where we go from here,” and “You choose the path to get to the future.”
When he says that in the next few weeks his opponent will share his agenda, the crowd boos, to which he says, “Don’t boo. Vote. That’s the best response. Vote, and get some of your friends to vote.” He mentions an online voter registry, GottaVote.com, which he emphasizes the spelling and apologizes to English professors 😉 . He then says, “Young people came out in record numbers four years ago.” and “Understand your power. If you’re going to get cynical, wait till you’re older.” (hahahaha)
A great moment was when Obama listed all the things WE accomplished in the last four years and a guy yells, “You helped!” to which Obama replies, “I helped a little bit” Hahaha Classic.
He puts the power in our hands, “If we win Colorado, we will win this election. If we win Fort Collins, we will win Colorado.” and “America is counting on you and I’m counting on you.” Pressure’s on! President Obama is counting on ME!
Another key point in President Obama’s speech was the power of education. He tells us that Mitt Romeny calls us the lost generation but we are not because Obama believes in us: “I believe in you. I believe in the American people. I’ve seen the passion of this generation.”
He goes on to say that he and First Lady, Michelle paid off their student loans about 8 years ago. He says, “We know what its like.” He emphasizes his commitment to higher education saying that we shouldn’t be making it harder for students to pay off loans than it already is. My question for you: Should we keep college affordable or borrow money from our parents (as Romney suggests)?
A third point emphasized in his speech was ObamaCare, Obama explains that “We passed this law because I care.” ObamaCare has provided 7,000,000 young people with healthcare, given woman access to health care such as birth control, mammograms and pap smears, and has made medicine more accessible to the elderly. “Some of us can’t afford the healthcare we need sometimes, no matter how well we plan.”
A particularly funny moment in my opinion was the reference to the “Romney-Doesn’t-Care plan,” the health care system we will be left with should Romney be elected.
President Obama also discusses the economy and jobs. Obama says that tax cuts should not be given to those who have already succeeded (if success is measured monetarily) saying, “Tax cuts should be given to the middle-class, small business and students not to those who have already made it.” He wants to “build the economy from the inside out.” “It’s about the middle class and students.” (Hey that’s me!)
Obama tells us that his opponent believes, “Renewable sources of energy are imaginary,” Obama asks, “Do we want to be forever dependent on foreign oil or do we want to pursue renewable, clean energy sources?” and that “Renewable energy is the future.”
Obama explains, “Here’s the bottom line, Colorado. If the other side has their way … it wont create jobs.” and “I want to make sure taxes are not raised a single dime on first $250k of income.”
A few other great points from Obama include, “Help every American have a chance to better themselves.” “We don’t need to refight the battles of the past, we are moving forward, we don’t go backward!” Obama is not going to leave any Americans out in the cold, that’s what we’re fighting for.
He questions why people who love each other can’t get married. His response, “The history of our country is not about how many people we can exclude.” and “Ignoring inequality doesn’t make it go away.”
Obama on veterans: “We’re going to have to serve them just as well as they’ve served us.”
He includes some inspirational ideas such as: “You gotta get on board. Its time for change!” (which was responded to by the crowd with a resounding, “Yes we can!”) One of his themes was that he hasn’t finished what’s he’s started, “We’ve got more work to do!” (To which the crowd began chanting, “Four more years!”). And he tells us, “We are greater together than we are on our own.”
He exited to a little Bruce Springsteen, “We take care of our own.”
(My dumb ole video of the motorcade from Wild Boar Coffee after the speech. Sorry I didn’t follow the limo. I was looking at it but my hands didn’t cooperate.)
“Will this be an America where no matter where no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, no matter what your last name is, you can pursue happiness?”
As a young person, I feel that Obama understands me. As a student, I believe that Obama appreciate me. As a Natural Resources student specifically, I recognize that Obama values me. As a woman, I know that Obama supports me. I am grateful that I can look back on today as a piece of history that I participated in, and I hope one day this piece of history will be considered the day everything changed.
*UPDATE: Today is a new day and the Rocky Mountain Collegian (CSU’s student newspaper) has some interesting articles and things to say about Obama’s visit, that I would like to address.
This article compares Obama’s 2012 campaign with FDR’s campaign in which he has re-elected for four terms due to the creation of the New Deal. These government programs forced Americans to rely on the government for their basic needs. I disagree with this comparison. While Obama did mention that he wants to finish the work he’s started, the programs he has introduced are not forced on every American, they give chances to every American. The choice to take these opportunities is left up to the individual.
An article by Caleb Hendrich with the title, “Don’t Boo Get Out and Vote,” discusses why Obama is focused on getting more votes. Apparently, historically the greater the turn-out of voters the more likely the Democratic party has been to have a victory in both the executive and legislative branches. An interesting point.
While the editorial rejoices in the 13,000 people showing up to support the democratic process, their view is that the fate of the nation does not ride on one day in history or the results of the election in November. They want to encourage people to monitor the government in order to ensure that what is promised also is put into effect.
At the time of Obama’s speech there was a smallish (comparatively) gathering of Mitt Romney supporters who met at the corner of University and Meridian Avenues. A report in the collegian quotes one of their number in response to the idea of repealing ObamaCare, ” The idea that the government can force you to buy something scares me.” My response to you sir: “Where do you think roads and highways, public schools, wildlife protection, national monuments, public transportation, public libraries, open space protection, wetland protection, etc. etc. come from? Your tax dollars, that’s where. You’ve been forced to “buy” things your whole life. Even if you don’t use these things every day or they will not benefit you directly, you have to pay for them. ObamaCare simply creates an opportunity for some people in the same way all the other public service we know and love do.
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Did you catch President Obama’s speech? What do you like, or dislike, about Obama’s campaign? Romney’s? Are you registered to vote? (Register here)