It was an eventful two weeks for both Republicans and Democrats as the National Conventions finally wrapped up Friday, Sept. 7. The conventions put an official stamp on the two presidential candidates, Republican Governor Mitt Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama.
“I think the [Republican National Convention] went very well,” WTAMU Student Body President Nicholas Goettsche said. “The speakers were generally very engaging and energetic, and the message was just what I expected. The [Democratic National Convention] also went very well… it was very well put together. There were no major hiccups from any of the speakers.”
Celebrities, politicians and active party members alike gathered together to share tales of victories for their candidate and unveil moments of failure for the other. From Clint Eastwood and his empty chair speech to First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal stories of family and strength, both conventions had their share of memorable moments.
“I’ve actually watched the Clint Eastwood talking to a chair,” Dr. Dave Rausch, political science professor at WT, said. “You have to wonder about that. Why they asked him and what the deal was.”
Despite the good, bad and ugly, both conventions have introduced questions of validity and some wonder if they have any relevance at all in today’s society.
“To the general population, the conventions don’t mean a whole lot because we already know who the nominees are going to be and we have a general idea what the platform is going to be,” Rausch said. “I mean, the Republicans pretty much do the same thing; the Democrats pretty much do the same thing.”
Regardless of this seemingly unimportance attached to the conventions, according to Rausch, there is still some valuable knowledge that can be gained from them.
“If you haven’t been paying attention up to this point…the last six months are all concentrated in one week and so now you get to hear everything.”
Goettsche also stressed the importance of paying attention to the conventions, even if everyone already knows who the candidates are.
“Not only do you get to watch some amazing speakers, but you learn about what each party stands for and their direction for the country.”
Learning what the party stands for is just what to the conventions did not offer, according to senior Plant and Science major Alyssa Evalle.
“I think there’s a lot to be said during this convention, trying to talk about their personal lives and trying to make that connection,” Evalle said. “For me its kind of like, ‘cut to the chase’ because I know that’s your aim and you’re trying to do that just to make us feel good. Talk about more serious issues.”
Despite what people think about the conventions, Goettsche believes that they can learn a lot from paying attention so they can make a well-informed decision on the presidential candidates.
“I think it is much more important for students to become informed on the candidates themselves and the issues they differ on so they can make an informed decision when they go to vote in November,” Goettshe said. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to be an involved and engaged citizen who uses their right to vote. Many men and women have died to protect your right to vote, so please use it.”