Obama visits Texas, speaks on community development

Thousands waved howdy to President Barack Obama when he made his first stop in the Republican-heavy state since his election into office. The president spoke on community development as part of a volunteer team
effort with former President George H. W. Bush at Texas A&M University’s campus in College Station
Oct. 16.

Freshman political science major, Stephanie Taylor, an intern for Congressman John Carter, was invited to the event.

“I liked the message of (Obama’s) speech and the encouragement he gave,” she said. “However, it didn’t sound very different from all of his other ‘motivational’ speeches.”

Taylor said the audience was receptive to Obama’s ideas, but there were some who disagreed.

“The protests paint a picture of the freedom of speech Americans are allowed to have,” she said.

Taylor also added that most of the protesters were older citizens.

“Young people today seem to not care about anything going on in government. However, in order to maintain the freedoms we have, it
is highly imperative for our generation to become actively engaged in the political process. Thomas Jefferson emphasized that a people who are well-informed are a people who can trust and operate their own government,” Taylor said.

But some students stood ready to make a difference.

“This is the first chance we’ve had to be this close to the president to tell him we don’t agree with what he’s doing and his health care plan, or anything he’s done so far in office,” said Kylie Waylock, a student at the University of North Texas who drove hours to protest at Spence Park were near where the president spoke. “Obama has ignored us … and we’re tired of this.”

Waylock and two other students from the University of North Texas wore lab coats as a sarcastic response to a previous presidential speech on health care where administration assistants handed out lab coats to doctors in the audience.

“We’re wearing these because if his plan passes and is nationalized, we’ll have a bunch of people running it that don’t know what they’re doing,” Waylock said. “Medicare is bankrupt. Medicaid is bankrupt. Cash for Clunkers never worked out. Social Security is bankrupt. And they want to take on health care; it’s impossible.We can’t afford it.”

Waylock, like many other protesters, believes the government health care strategy is a step towards socialism, and will be “more negative than positive in the long run.”

Others, like Dan Caniree, disagreed.

“This is an event meant to encourage volunteering, so it seems ridiculous that (people) are protesting an event that encourages helping others,” he said.

The A&M graduate stood proudly in the swarm of protesters.

“Everybody is saying ‘you’re going to make us a socialist nation by giving everyone access to health care,’ … but I know lots of people that don’t have access … and they’re hurting a lot. Socialized health care is a good thing,” he said.

Caniree’s sign read “Volunteering = Socialism.” Also standing with him was Tyler Atkinson from Amarillo whose sign read “Boba Fett hates people.” Atkinson’s poster was an ironic stab at conservative talk show host Glenn
Beck’s accusation that ‘Obama hates white people.’ However, politics wasn’t the only topic of interest — especially in regard to religion.

“I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover, and I know God has the best health care for everyone. If we’ll live according to His word, we won’t need a doctor,” Rusty Fischer from Silsbee said. “The whole country is sick from the
top of their heads to the tip of their toes. This is God’s way of judging America.”

He believes Obama is “leading our country down the wrong path,” and if not fixed, America will lose its freedom.

“The Lord says blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and sin is the reproach to any nation,” Fischer said. “When the Spirit of the Lord leaves this country because of sin and iniquity, then our freedom will vanish.”

Author: Crystal Donahue

A senior from Lago Vista, Texas, Crystal enjoys hanging out at the lake with friends, eating ice-pops, having conversations over hot chocolate with marshmallows, going on random road-trips and watching Gilmore Girls with her mom. She is double majoring in mass communication/journalism and Spanish. Post graduation, Crystal plans on getting her master's and working abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. Having served in various positions on The Bells, Crystal is now the editor-in-chief. She enjoys feature and sports writing.

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