John Kerry was in Iowa yesterday, speaking at ISU, urging students to get out the vote in the upcoming mid-term elections. The quips below from the Des Moines Register highlight Kerry’s ability to connect with the youth. Obviously students at ISU were thrilled to have Kerry there speaking on issues. I witnessed a similar phenomena when he was speaking at Pepperdine University in Malibu recently.
Scott Bents attended Iowa State University in the 1990s, during a time of economic prosperity and political apathy.
Now a graduate student, Bents, 31, said he would never have imagined what unfolded Monday on campus: Students swarmed around Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to hear him speak about the environment, activism and the war in Iraq.
“I think it’s changed,” Bents said.
Monday kicked off Political Action Week at ISU, a series of lunchtime speeches from local, state and national leaders on an array of topics, from whether students are treated as second-class citizens in Ames to the role of religion in politics.
Students stood in a line Monday for free hamburgers and potato chips before Kerry, a Democrat, spoke. Many lifted cell phones to take photographs of the former presidential nominee while he spoke.
Mark Mba, a graduate student from West Africa, said he believes students are too apathetic and will not mobilize for change unless their way of life is threatened.
“People are living comfortable lives,” said the 23-year-old Mba. “If you know there is nobody threatening your ability to get online, to socialize and have a good time, you don’t care about people who are dying in other parts of the world.”
Kerry tried to rally students to get involved in the political process. He also expressed concern about the direction of the country under the Republican administration.
“If young people – too many who know better – refuse to vote, we’re in big trouble,” he said.