Election Harrassment

“As a nation, we have succeeded, not because we struggle with one another, but because we somehow have learned to recognize that the single issue that will always call us to arms is one that requires the defense of each other – a defense against the aggression that strikes at the heart of the American experience and endangers our freedom and ability to self-govern.”

This is the introductory paragraph to votesmart.org, an up-and-coming website designed to protect the American public from the harassment of the running parties, spin doctors, pollsters and even the candidates themselves. If you would have asked me if this sort of site was necessary years ago, I wouldn’t have seen the point, but college life has—unfortunately—opened my eyes to the sad truth that these things do happen, that there are people out there so blindly dedicated to their cause that they are willing to put a fellow American’s comfort at stake, if only to feel as if they have served their own selfish purpose of promoting their candidate.

I’m speaking chiefly of Barack Obama’s force of vacuous protégés whose campaigns I’m sure most of you have seen at various places around campus. I dare say that a majority of students have been victimized by their senseless frenzies of ranting and raving. Another word for this is called ‘bullying.’ Dictionary.com defines a bully as, “A blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.” From the treatment I received Monday and in previous days, I believe it to be a highly accurate phrase that explains the behavior of these people.

Let me explain. I had an exam in my worst class set to be taken at 3:30 p.m. So, I got ready, catch the bus up to campus with ten minutes to spare. I had intended on using those ten minutes to squeeze in some last-minute-studying. The first thing I see when I walk into the Student Services Center is a table encouraging people to get their pictures taken with Obama. No big deal.

As I progress further, this girl stops me and asks me if I know where I will be voting. I didn’t know at this point, but I intended to look it up; I still had a week left to do some research. So, I say yes to avoid the hassle, and as I go to rush on to my room downstairs, the young male head of the campaign (I’m sure you all know who I’m talking about) steps in front of me to block my path, invades my personal space and stares down at me with a raised brow and snidely asks, “Oh yeah? Where?”

I have never in my life been accosted like I was then, and, in truth, it was none of their business. I would suppose that their point is to raise awareness about voting and make sure everyone knows what they need to know to vote. I actually find that to be a noble cause. But it’s a fine line to walk, and for a stranger to assert himself so strongly upon someone like that is just wrong. It is a despotic thing to do, and it’s time that these people be called out on their disrespect.

So where does this lead us? Well, I would say that it leads people to an enraged feeling reminiscent of that produced by the crazy Christians that protested in the quad last year. It’s the same story: a noble cause carried out in the wrong way. Note, I am in no way supporting what those protestors stood for, merely focusing on the way they went about it.

And how does this make us feel? Well, we feel unfairly abused and harassed.

Is this the message that Barack Obama is trying to send? What I’m getting at here is, by recruiting these people to support his cause, he’s ironically turning people away, as their behavior is reflective in some ways of his own. Barack Obama wants the citizens of America to trust him and believe he can be a good leader, but does a good leader let harassments like these happen? And if so, how many people do you really think would want to vote for him?

I actually spoke to a few members of the group BU Students for Obama, and they were surprised by what they heard. They said that the campaign leader is nothing but a nice guy, a fact I want to and am willing to believe. But what about the treatment I received? Later in the conversation, their justification came out as, “Well, at least it’s better than what the Republicans do.” And curiously, I asked, “What’s that?” Do you know what the answer was? “Nothing.” Tack on a few condescending ‘ha ha ha’s to that and it’s almost enough to make a person utterly despise Obama’s supporters.

Maybe the Republicans aren’t doing as much, but in the end, is that really hindering their case or actually helping it? I’ll leave you to decide. All I know is that I am sick and tired of the election chaos, and that I would definitely give up my time to help support an election process that was more civil and respectable.

That means no menacing, abusive campaigns on college campuses, or anywhere, for that matter, and no ridiculously immature commercials denouncing each other. It’s time for the world of politics to grow up and get real.

Kake Firestone is the Arts & Entertainment Editor for The Voice. She is a junior English major.

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