By Ryan R.H. Galindo, Staff Writer
My government teacher in high school once told me that politics is never “black and white.” Rather, it’s more about the “gray” in between. Upon hearing those words, I realized that they pretty much summarized what I thought about the complicated world of politics. There are stances in both the Democratic and Republican parties that appeal to me, but at the end of the day, I am neither completely blue nor completely red.
Despite being purple, I looked forward to the day I would finally be eligible to vote. Yep, I was very excited last January when I turned 18. Moving to Boston in the midst of the presidential election was no less exciting. However, being that my permanent residence is on the island of Guam, a U.S. territory, I am not allowed the privilege to vote for president despite holding American citizenship.
I’m sure Boston is a very politically-charged city; yet, I haven’t seen many campaigns going around, especially on campus (save for that recent Elizabeth Warren campaign recently held at Morse). Or maybe I just don’t see them or I’m not around when they happen. But I do see a lot of Obama-Biden stickers and a couple of Romney-Ryan stickers scattered around. There’s even a Ron Paul placard on one of the windows of Warren Towers. Just this past Monday night, Boston University’s College Democrats had a table set up outside West Dining Hall, pursuing students to register to vote.
Whatever the case, I wanted to know if other students felt the same way—if they felt that the political atmosphere is becoming more apparent and heavy now that election day is inching closer and what they think of the effectiveness of campaigns.
Although College of Communication sophomore Reena Mangubat doesn’t notice any increase in political activity in terms of campaigning, she believes that even if there was, it would be unlikely for her to change her views.
“I don’t think it would affect me much to stop because I’m too busy to stop and listen to what people have to say,” Mangubat said. “It’s not that I’m apathetic. I read the news and keep up with it, so I’m politically aware.”
Mangubat, also a resident of Guam, is disappointed with her ineligibility to vote and is quite annoyed when people who have the power to vote don’t exercise that right.
“Speaking from someone who doesn’t have the right to vote but is an American citizen, I’m really jealous that some people have this opportunity and aren’t taking advantage of it,” she said.
Another COM sophomore Adrienne Todela said that while there are barely any political campaigns or events happening on campus, she thinks that they will increase as soon as the presidential debates roll in; and she’s excited.
“I usually listen to both sides – Democrat and Republican – to get a balance of what each party’s stance on the issues,” said Todela, who will be casting a vote for president this year. “I believe that although voting is a right and not a responsibility…I do not recommend voting with your eyes closed on the issues. If you want to vote, go do research, watch campaign rallies, watch the conventions, go to each campaign’s social media sites, and many other things.”
Like Mangubat and Todela, fellow COM peer Jun Tsuboike is not easily swayed by campaigns and deems them ineffective.
“I definitely think there is sort of that ‘pulling people to your side’ effect, but it’s rather unfortunate. You can’t really look at a slogan on a poster or a commercial and decide who you want to support,” he says.
“I think campaigns are great at getting people interested in politics, especially for the elections that are coming up, but it’s ultimately my own research and conversation with other people that determines my political stance,” said Tsuboike.
It seems that campaigns are only effective to some extent and that the only way to determine your political perspective is with introspection and personal scrutiny of one’s values. And I couldn’t agree more.
Red, blue or purple? You decide.