Students thirsty for politics

Excitement was high, expectations were vast. The much-anticipated Biden/Palin vice presidential debate took place on Oct. 2, as members of the Castleton community checked out Pub Night, which aired the political debate on the flat TV screens of the Spartan Room.

Thirsty Thursday, as Castleton likes to call it, was atypical. Not only was the theme of the evening “Vote ’08,” there were cupcakes to celebrate the anticipation of what’s to come in America.

On the steps of Huden, stood Castleton student Mike Costello. When asked of his expectations for the night’s events, Costello appeared interested and curious.

“I don’t know, what topics are they talking about?” he asked.

Nine o’clock came with the debate quickly approaching.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and his republican counterpart Sarah Palin attempted to stand their ground Thursday night, as the debate kicked into full swing.

With many Americans questioning Palin’s legitimacy, this occasion provided a chance for her to step up to the plate.

Palin, although visibly confident in her efforts, had some difficulty staying on topic. She hit many of the McCain campaign “talking points” while, at times, avoiding the question asked. She spoke instead, on a topic she felt more competent approaching. One student found the moderator’s responses to her vagueness amusing.

“I expected to hear a lot of talk — talking loud and saying nothing,” CSC sophomore Wyatt Andrews said. “The moderator was pretty good about calling the candidates when they were doing that. It was both hilarious and reassuring.”

The candidates’ conflicting stances on taxes also rose a few eyebrows.

When referring to the tax breaks Obama intends to give to the middle class, Biden rejected the terminology “re-distribution of wealth” (as Palin had phrased it). Rather, Biden suggested, “We call it fairness.” He backed his statements with well-rehearsed figures and statistics.

When the topic of same-sex couples entered into the equation, Palin’s body language said it all.

Visibly uncomfortable with the topic, she reinforced that she is “tolerant.” Though, when pressed, she admitted that any circumstance encroaching upon the traditional man-and-woman marriage would not be acceptable.

When asked why she plans to vote, Castleton student Briana Gagne (also a member of the History and Politics club) spoke of a theme both political parties tried to hit at throughout the evening.

“Things that can change need to change, especially things having to do with people’s rights,” she said. “I think it’s one of those things that shouldn’t matter what side you’re on.”

Palin made it very clear that in her opinion (and McCain’s) that the war in Iraq was not finished, nor will it end when the next president takes office.

From this topic, spawned another: one of an economical matter.

In response to Palin’s statements about war, Biden anticipated their “eliminating wasteful spending” in hopes of salvaging the economy and aiding the middle class.

At one point during the debate, one of Palin’s “folksy” remarks sent the room into hysterics. Amidst the laughter, Katelyn Green joked.

“This is what we get for making Alaska a state!” she proclaimed.

Aside from suggestive facial expressions and minor attitude, the two candidates smiled through clenched jaws and bitten tongues. With their opinions differing on many subjects, with the exception of their mutual “love for Israel,” their opportunity for rebuttal was invaluable.

When asked why he plans to vote, Wyatt Andrews pondered briefly.

“Well, why not vote? ” he asked. “I hope that maybe my vote will make a difference. Even though the Electoral College pretty much guarantees that my vote won’t make a difference. But I’m an optimist by nature, and therefore, I’m going to vote!”

“And,” he adds, “it takes, like, five minutes! So why not?

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