Political Divisions Say About Its People
by Nicholas Lau
November 5, 2012
A college campus is the best place to follow an election. There are
voter registration drives, presidential debate watches, mock debates,
and forums to encourage students to discuss what it means to be an
informed voter, and how to make the best decision for the next four
years. Meanwhile, the College Democrats and College Republicans, clubs
for politically-minded students of each party, have been working with
full-force to mobilize the student body to vote on Election Day.
Personally, I have enjoyed participating in all this, even though I
won’t be voting on Election Day. I believe that the political culture of
a country is a good reflection of the people living in it, and this
election has provided a new way to get to know America.
During the first presidential debate, hundreds of students at my school
got together to watch the live broadcast. Several campus organizations
sponsored the event, at which they passed out clickers for students to
record their opinions to various questions about the candidates and the
The students began by recording which candidate they would vote for if
the election were held right then. About 60 percent of those polled said
that they would vote for Governor Romney, with the remaining 40 percent
for President Obama. The survey also asked them why, and the main
response was that they were unhappy with how the Obama administration
had handled the economy.
I have been told that these results might be unusual on most college
campuses, since universities tend to be more liberal. I wouldn’t know.
My college is in the South in a region that is fairly conservative,
where it’s not a surprise that the student body leans towards the
The Obama supporters are generally minorities, women’s rights activists,
gay rights activists or charity groups. White males at my school tend to
fall behind Romney. In my American Government class, the professor asked
all the students whether they differed in their political view from
their parents – well over 90% of them shared their family’s sentiments.
Through joining many of my American friends’ conversations about their
political views, I have come to realize how their upbringings have led
them to very different opinions on key issues; like abortion, for
Most of the Obama supporters would argue that even if their faith
condemns abortion, the Constitution requires them to keep their
religious views separate from political decisions and not to impose
their beliefs on others. They have been raised to believe that
individual liberty is sacred. On the other hand, most Romney supporters
argue that life begins at conception, which their Christian faith has
taught them and is a belief held by several faiths, and abortion should
be banned in order to protect human life.
am conflicted, being a Christian myself, on whether I should impose my
views on others. Back home, abortion is legal and is not really a
debated issue, so it wasn’t something I’d had to think about before.
The more I talk to my fellow students about their views, the more
conflicted I become. The liberals showed me the value of separating
church and state, of expanding individual liberties, and of sharing
wealth with the poor. The conservatives showed me the importance of
preserving our Christian values, of reducing taxes for all, and of
safeguarding individual initiative.
I am split on many issues, and may never be able to decide – and will
never need to. But from following the elections I learned something
valuable about America. I learned that the political landscape is highly
divided among people who have been raised to believe in one party or the
other, which leaves the power to decide an election with a minority of
people in the middle … the “undecided voters.”