“Getting sloppy drunk because you’re relieved just isn’t as much fun.”
In a post covering Wesleyan’s reaction to Election Night, I remarked on differences between Wesleyan’s celebration of Obama’s reelection this month and its unabashed euphoria following his election in 2008. “This was satisfaction and warm relief,” I wrote; “it wasn’t outright jubilation and madness in the vein of what took place on campus this time in ’08.”
Not that I have any legitimate basis for that claim. I was in high school in 2008. I watched America elect Barack Obama in quiet with my dog while my parents slept down the hall. (The dog might have been sleeping, too.) I didn’t witness any of the “jubilation and madness” taking place in Middletown.
So I reached out to Sam Barth ’13, a fellow senior and friend, who’s one of the only students to have witnessed both elections unfold from the Wesleyan Bubble. Barth was a visiting prefrosh when Obama was elected, and he kindly sent me his thoughts on the comparison between ’08 and ’12:
No, not in 2000. The article’s from 1992, when Al Gore was the Democratic vice presidential candidate, and the headline refers to the elder Bush, then running for reelection. If you’re confused as to why Gore would bother campaigning in the middle of Connecticut, consider that this was 1992; the red/blue state divide as we know it today wasn’t quite in place, and Connecticut swung right for Bush in 1988 and for Reagan in both 1984 and 1980.
So, on October 30, 1992, the VP candidate made his way to the relatively new Freeman Athletic Center, where he spoke for 35 minutes, “mostly criticizing President Bush, but also highlighting the ticket’s stance on the environment, healthcare, jobs and the Head Start program.” According to the piece, Gore spent the bulk of his speech attacking Bush in light of claims that the president knew about and was involved in the 1986 Iran-Contra Scandal. (Why these charges didn’t play a greater role in the election, I can’t say.)
Not all in the audience were solidly on board, though. The Argus article notes that a few Bush/Quayle supporters were physically ambushed when they registered their dissent:
“I feel like no matter what happens, I will never look back on this with any regrets.”
Eight years ago, Wesleyan students voted in the first presidential election following the 2000 Florida clusterfuck. Intent on getting Bush out of office, most students from swing states dutifully mailed their absentee ballots. But when Jeff Kessner ’07, a Palm Beach County native, failed to receive his ballot in the weeks leading up to the election, he decided to take action: he flew 1,360 miles home for early voting.
“For me it’s important,” Kessner told the Argus at the time. “I made sure that my vote counted.” Later in the piece, though, he acknowledges some degree of selfishness:
“I think it is amazing,” said Amanda Hungerford ’07, a friend. “Jeff was able to put his own disillusionment aside in order to effect change.”
To Kessner, however, it was actually a selfish act.
What we have been experiencing recently is only the harbinger of a future that will be punctuated by more severe weather extremes and increasing damage.—Gary Yohe, Professor of Economics
Wesleyan’s celebrity economics professor Gary Yohe has received much media coverage after releasing a rather troublesome report on Tuesday about Superstorm Sandy and climate change. Yohe, a senior member of the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore), starts his report off with a laundry list of crazy climate events that have taken place globally in the past couple of years. He then claims that this isn’t “the new normal,” but rather “only the harbinger of a future that will be punctuated by more severe weather extremes and increasing damage—all driven as the future unfolds by past and future emissions of heat-trapping gases.” Yohe elaborates:
the changes in the current climate that have been observed across the planet are the products of only about 50 percent of the warming to which we have already committed ourselves with our past emissions. This means that the planet would warm another 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit through the middle of this century even if concentrations of heat-trapping gases were to achieve their maximum tomorrow — not likely, since sustaining a specific concentration starting tomorrow would require an 80 percent reduction in emissions overnight.
Get ready for the Internet to not get sarcasm at all.
Still undecided for the election? After a week that included highly anticipated candidate endorsements from the New Yorker (Obama), the New York Times (Obama), and Brown’s Blog Daily Herald (Matt Romney), Buffy creator and official nerd-in-chief Joss Whedon ’87 is throwing his hat in the ring. He wants you to vote Romney. Sort of.
According to Whedon, the Massachusetts governor is the candidate “with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back back on the path to the zombie apocalypse.” (Speaking of apocalyptic scenarios, Sandy seems to have beaten Romney to the punch. But I digress.)
To those of you still working on things and such: God help you. (Unless you’re Christopher Hitchens.) To those of you living under a rock in the shape of Olin Library these past few days: GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry has a new campaign video! It’s called “Strong,” and YouTube comments are disabled for a reason: it’s mighty controversial. In the ad, Perry decries fights back against the liberal plot to ban Christmas, decrying “liberal attacks on our religious heritage” and declaring, “There’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” He begins by assuring that he’s not ashamed to be a Christian, and then walks up a weirdly sloped hill.
It began as a plea for the evangelical vote. It has ended up as one of the best memes of 2011, inspiring a Twitter hashtag (#XmasWarDiaries), a brilliant Tumblr, and about a bazillion YouTube parodies.
Congratulations to Zach Malter ’13 on becoming the next President of the Wesleyan Student Assembly. Malter wiped the floor with an astounding 659 votes–nearly double of the next highest vote-getter. There were 1,202 votes for an actual candidate, so Malter claimed about 55% of the vote. Congratulations also to Meherazade Sumariwalla’12 who did even better than Malter in the election for Vice President. With 703 votes, she also won with a clear majority (about 65% of votes for an actual candidate). Regardless of the winners, I’m sure every student appreciated the sincere efforts of every candidate.
The election doesn’t end until Friday night, but that doesn’t mean we have to be clueless about who’s likely to win and become the next POTWSA. There’s plenty of indicators that may or may not prove to be true. This post isn’t an endorsement of any candidate, just a look at the numbers. With new limitations limiting the influence of money, there seems to be more emphasis than ever on the Internet. If you haven’t yet voted and want to know who to vote for, click here for the answer.
Wesleying Poll: At the time of writing this post, 311 people have voted. Assuming these have all been students, that’s over 10% of eligible voters. The nature of the poll isn’t really optimal for including Vice Presidential candidates too, but we have presidential numbers:
Zach Malter (36%)
Giant Joint (31%)
Melody Oliphant (12%)
Joe O’Donnell (10%)
It’s funny that some people aren’t going to take the time and effort out to vote, but they did to vote in the poll about voting. As for Giant Joint, I get the impression ze and Wesleying might share some of the same fan base, so don’t start celebrating just yet (unless it’s a belated 4/20).