Convention Talk And Coffee: Citizens Gather At The Barge

Jennifer Reynolds

By Jennifer ReynoldsMaroon-News Staff As the Presidential election approaches, the prevalence of political sentiment has become even more prominent. This reality was clear last Saturday afternoon at the Barge where the Republican Community Convention took place. Amid patriotic decorations and Republican posters, this mock political convention was intended to voice the views of the conservative element at Colgate, as well as to express their position of support for President George W. Bush. Several speakers took the microphone to share their views while audience members listened. The event was not limited only to conservative speakers. Senior Bob Filbin, a self-proclaimed Independent who is supporting Senator John Kerry, talked about why Democrats should support Bush if he does win. He expressed concerns about the nature of political discourse that has emerged during this election cycle. “Civil discourse in this country has deteriorated to slander,” Filbin said. “It doesn’t move our country forward at all.” When discussing the anger of Democrats about Bush’s actions regarding the war in Iraq, Filbin was distressed about the polarization in the country. “The Bush administration can’t be blamed for acting in a manner that part of the country sees as right,” he said. “But you cannot love America by working in a deconstructive manner.” Filbin’s main message was to work together, despite differing political ideologies. “We are free to voice our opinions, but we must be brave enough to respect other opinions,” he said. “Patriotism, friendly intentions and better actions will make a better America.” While some articulated the need for understanding between liberals and conservatives, others embraced a more slanted view. Junior and Communications Director for the College Republicans Brian Heneghan talked about the war on terror. He criticized liberal politicians, academics and the media whom he believes are, without founding, against the war in Iraq and Bush’s actions against terrorism. “If you ask me, more than anything, did we need permission to defend America?” Heneghan said when explaining how the Republicans were attacked for going to war. Heneghan finished his speech with a sort of rallying call for Republicans. “Liberals may have the media and the universities, but we have the truth and ourselves,” he said. The convention was attended by various members of the College Republicans and students who wanted political exposure along with free coffee. A similar event will be held this Saturday for the Democrats as part of the effort by the Student Government Association’s and Colgate Activities Board’s efforts to raise political awareness for the critical election facing the country.