It’s 8:43 p.m. on Nov. 4, and facebook is abuzz. Status updates pop up constantly, as students declare Obama’s victory, grumble about socialism and the end times, cite Romans 13, and threaten to move to Canada, Switzerland, or Australia.
As news sites tallied the votes and winners emerged, students reacted fiercely and quickly, venting their emotions online. Mixed with the triumphant shout-outs were less exultant comments, but some students refrained from trashing on the new president elect, despite their political differences.
“I voted for McCain,” said senior Jordon Weldon, “but I’m not a hater, and I’m proud of Obama and what this means for minorities and for our country as a whole.”
Freshman Nicole Scheuerman enjoyed the facebook election hubbub. “I love the antics and think they are hilarious,” she said.
Not everyone was so upbeat.
“The general response of Corban students was really immature,” said sophomore Brent Hayes. “Most of the statuses involved, ‘The world is coming to an end,’ ‘I’m moving to _________,’ and my personal favorite, ‘Obama = Antichrist.’”
Junior Megan Wozniak watched the election unfold online, as friends bashed each other’s political statements.
“By putting negative comments on facebook,” she said, “where their Christian and non-Christian friends can see, people not only hurt their testimony, but they affect their relationships with people who don’t agree.”
Junior Bonnie Zlatnik agreed. “It is disappointing that even on a Christian campus, it is not a safe environment to discuss politics without people becoming volatile or nasty,” she said.
“Those status updates are very ignorant,” said Michael Pargeter, a sophomore active in the campus Democrats club. “All those people see are far right and far left. They see Obama and they say to themselves, ‘Now we are communist.’
“Most of those people have heard buzz words on TV like ‘socialist,’ ‘murderer,’ ‘baby-killer,’ ‘America-hater,’ when in fact, Obama does not support abortion.”
On a campus that leans sharply right, students generally responded to Obama’s win with disappointment and skepticism, though most conceded it was predictable.
“There were no surprises in this presidential election,” Pargeter said.
The results certainly did not surprise freshman Cori Lydic, who thinks Obama won because of “the way he candy-coated all of his speeches to make it seem like he is going to create a world of rainbows and unicorns, instead of addressing the issues at hand.”
“People wanted to make history,” said junior Tristan Leiter. “I don’t think they know what Obama really stood for.”
Some students chalked the Democrats’ success to weariness with the Republican Party.
“People are tired of dealing with the same old presidential scene,” said sophomore Shelby Fleming.
“Bush’s approval rating being so low was an indicator the Democrats were going to do well in this election,” said Neil Mayfield, president of the College Republicans. “Many people felt that [McCain] would be [another Bush], and thus did not vote for him.”
“By giving the Republicans a bad image,” Pargeter said, “and nearly beaching our country under his administration, W. probably did more to help the Obama campaign than people might think. McCain didn’t lose because of Obama; he lost because of Bush.”
“In the long-run, it may be for the better,” Mayfield said. “It may wake the Republican Party up. What they are currently doing is not right. They need to get back to their roots.”
With the Democrats dominating the House and Senate alongside President Obama, “the Democrats are going to be dictating what will be going on for at least the next two years, and very likely four,” Mayfield said.
“I am slightly sketched out about the Democratic majority in Congress,” Pargeter said. “They can do a lot of good with that, but they can also do a lot of bad.”
Ultimately, despite all the grumbling and gloating online, the debating in line at the coffee shop, the political mudslinging and election landslides, America has voted for change.
“What is done is done, and we just have to trust God,” Leiter said.
Wozniak agreed. “Trusting in the Lord to protect and keep his children extends, or at least should extend,” she said, “to every facet of a person’s life—including politics.”
“God does not identify Himself with a certain political party,” Hayes said. “America has spoken, and I understand that most students are disappointed; however, I do not believe the correct response is bashing our president, complaining about our country, or name-calling.
“With President Bush, we saw what happens when the majority of the nation does not support [the president]. We’d all be better off if we supported our nation, prayed, and waited to see what happens in the next 4 years.”