Sep 30, 2008

To the Desk

by Alex Towers and Mitchell Malcheff

The University of Maryland is running a campaign to inform the student body, as well as encourage them to vote. However, their major difference from Liberty is that they do not have a major platform time like convocation to disseminate the information. Their web site contains links to various voting information resources, with the bulk of them having a bias in favor of the Democratic party. Generally speaking, the age group that has the lowest turnout to the polls is the 18-30 demographic. Senator Obama has been vigorously campaigning to capture that collective vote. If a school with a more liberal political view can do this, then why not Liberty?

Virginia’s electoral vote is not secure. On a recent Today show, they were focusing on Virginia as being a battle ground state, and Governor Tim Kaine made comments that the state was in a dead heat for the presidency. Polling maps that they were showing made it clear that Virginia is one of the few key states that will define the presidential race. The show also mentioned that the growing D.C. suburbs in NoVA are going increasingly democratic in their views, stating that it’s that section of the state that defined the last gubernatorial race, turning it out to be democratic. Obama is vigorously engaging the young college vote in Virginia, by going after the first time voters. We need to coalesce our evangelical vote with the estimated 15 percent of veteran votes for McCain. The university knows that we may be the influence on not only our area, but the nation. Liberty students have a voice here or at home.

The election party in Vines won’t kick off until late afternoon and will showcase election results. The point is to have a positive and attractive atmosphere where students can actually come with their friends grab some food, socialize and watch election results all while listening to local and student bands.

— Alex Towers

I am writing this in response to a published article from the editor in chief of the Liberty Champion. I feel that your characterization of more than 10,000 Liberty students was both unfair and unjustified. By lumping us all into a category of apathy, you seem to have a very low opinion of this student body. Let me illustrate. I don’t have Facebook, and I have never watched the Hills. I don’t go to Tan State nor do I currently participate in intramural sports.

I am neither comatose and I would characterize myself as very informed and interested in this country’s political proceedings. I seem to fall outside of your category of apathetic, comatose, perfectly-tanned, volleyball-playing Facebook addict. I know I cannot be alone as a part of a diverse student body. I agree with you that Liberty may be sending a conflicting message, but their move is not without precedent.

In 2005, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., proposed “Democracy Day.” The legislative bill would have made the first Tuesday of every even-numbered year a national holiday so that all eligible voters could cast their vote.
Although the bill was tabled, the move makes sense. We live in a country where voter turnout hovers around 60 percent. Perhaps a day off is the motivation needed to raise that number. To say that an entire student body is apathetic about voting an entire month before a vote seems presumptuous.

I also disagree with the idea that Liberty is walking into the voting booth with us. How is Liberty telling us to vote by cancelling class? It is no secret that we attend what could be termed a politically conservative school. So whether or not they are outspoken about their political views makes little difference. Ted Kennedy, who has a voting record that leans far left of center spoke to Liberty University students in the 80s and both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been invited to speak. Just because they did not accept does not mean that the school should take the blame.

If the cost of the defense of Christian conservatism is a day of cancelled classes and the cost of hiring a few bands and food vendors, I fail to see the harm. No, voting should not be rewarded. It is a privilege that many around this world go without.
However, there are two ways of looking at Liberty’s decision. One, the administration may indeed feel that students would not vote if they had to go out of their way. Two, the administration is aware of the pressures and time constraints that are placed on students and the voting booth. If you believe that Liberty is characterizing the entire student body as apathetic and take offense to it, are you not doing the same in your column as those who you are accusing?

— Mitchell Malcheff



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