Students feel election is historic, not all happy with Obama

Published 11:42 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday was an exciting day for 18-year-old Lurleen B. Wallace Community College freshman Alisha Stoudemire, who witnessed her vote help to elect Sen. Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president.

Stoudemire, who is currently completing general studies courses en route to a career as an ultrasound technician and physical therapist, said she looked forward to casting her vote because she knew that, either way, the election would be a small piece of history her 1-year-old daughter would study in classrooms down the road.

“I was anxious to cast my vote because I know that either way the election went it would be one for the history books,” she said. “We would either have our first black president or the first female vice president in the White House and I will be able to share this moment with my daughter when she studies in school.”

Stoudemire said her decision to vote for Obama was not driven merely by race, but rather more by the views and future plans expressed by the president-elect.

“I really liked a lot of his views,” she said. “There was a lot of mud-slinging going on during the election and Obama was really laid back. He simply called for the American people to come together as one nation and vote for change. That is was we did. Yes we can.

“Some people are saying that he will not be able to ‘walk the walk’ now that he has won the office,” she added. “I disagree. I fully believe that he will be able to handle the issues facing our nation.”

The Associated Press reported that exit polls showed young voters were supporting Obama by a more than 2-to-1 margin, with his greatest support coming from black and Hispanic young people. The preliminary results are similar to those from polls conducted before the election.

Overall, about two-thirds of voters younger than 30 supported Obama. And the overwhelming majority of black voters and about three-quarters of Hispanic voters in that age bracket said they voted for Obama. Many young voters said Obama being black was a non-issue.

Thomas Sport, a 20-year-old student currently taking general studies courses at LBWCC’s Andalusia campus, said he cast his vote for a straight Republican ticket, but he plans to support the presidency regardless.

“I will stand behind him because he is our president now and I will always support America,” he said. “I just thought someone who served the country as much as McCain should have had a better shot at winning the White House.

“It is done and over with,” he added. “He has obviously been put into the office for a reason. The people of America have spoken and I will stand behind their voice. I will never turn my back on America. Maybe he will follow through with what he has said and turn the economy around.”

Randall Castleberry, a 30-year-old computer science major at LBWCC, said he voted for Obama because he felt a strong connection to the message conveyed during the president-elect’s campaign efforts.

“I felt Obama had a strong message to convey to our country,” he said. “He did a good job of making us aware of his plan and how he plans to execute that plan. He stated clearly that he stands for the American dream that all people are created equal. He excited the people and a historic number of people, especially in the 19- to 30-year-old range, went to the polls to cast their vote and elect for change. His vision is clear and I think he will do well for the American people.”

Michael Bishop, an 18-year-old LBWCC student completing general studies en route to a degree in mass communications, said he voted for McCain because he did not support Obama’s views on abortion and the military.

“I did not vote for Obama because, as a Christian, I could not in good conscience vote for someone who does not share my values,” Bishop said. “Me being a military brat, I did not think his views of our efforts in Iraq was well suited.

“When it comes down to an economic plan I agreed with Obama,” he added. “I think that if Obama does some of what he has said he will do, then he will be a good president. I am kind of scared of where American morals may go, but they have been in the drain for quite some time.”

Zack Davis, a 21-year-old nursing major at LBWCC, said he voted for McCain because he felt the Arizona senator’s economic plan to create more jobs and build a greater independence from big oil companies by investing more in alternative fuels would be the best for our nation.

“Many of the things he said during speeches reminded me of (Franklin D. Roosevelt) and how he wanted to handle things during his presidency,” he said. “I have mixed feelings at this point. I am proud we have come so far in America that we can look past the color of one’s skin and we have made history by electing our first black president. We have shown that we can judge someone by their character and not by their skin.

“I still do not agree with his views on various issues including health care,” he added. “I do not think it is wise for our nation to rely heavily on the government. We were given the right to pursue happiness and I feel we should rely more on ourselves than our government.”