The Temple College Democrats held a watch party for the State of the Union address in The Reel on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The organization also hosted the Democratic National Committee Deputy Political Director, Steven Walker, who spoke via Skype.
The students sat as President Barack Obama delivered his address calling for tax and immigration reform as well as raising minimum wage.
“We will support the president,” said Dylan Morpurgo, president of TCD and a junior political science major. He cited progress through the Affordable Care Act, repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act among the president’s achievements.
Morpurgo emphasized Obama’s actions on gender and sexual equality as signs of “the compassion the president has” for the American people.
After the President’s address, the students gave positive feedback to the speech. Alaysha Claiborne, a freshman political science and African-American studies major, cited the president’s message on gun control as the most poignant for her. She commended the president’s efforts to give “the victims of such shooting at least a vote.”
Elliot Griffin, a School of Media and Communications alumnae and former vice president of TCD, said the president “tackled some tough issues that [she] did not expect,” such as poverty. She was also outspoken about the president’s call to raise minimum wage.
“The reality is you should be able to support your family,” Griffin said. “In America right now, if you’re working a minimum wage job and working 40 hours a week, it equates with poverty.”
The reaction to the Republican response was not a positive, with some calling it “laughable.” The very atmosphere morphed after Florida Sen. Marco Rubio began his rebuttal to the president’s address.
“I don’t know what they were responding to but I don’t think they were responding to the president” Griffin said. Griffin labeled the senator’s response as “individualized” and not reflecting “the true feelings of the Republican party, let alone America.”
A chapter of the College Democrats of America, TCD also had the privilege to host the DNC director via Skype before the president’s address.
“We have a president dedicated to your generation” said Walker as he talked with the students. He also urged them to stay involved after college, use social networks, and even run for office in the future.
“We don’t just want you to be good Democrats, but good Americans.” said Walker. He ended with a call for the students to be “great, lifelong Democrats” and an invitation to a democratic summer conference in Washington, D.C.
“We serve with two parts: student involvement and spreading the message of democracy”, Morpurgo said. “We have a strong belief in the Democratic Party.”
Omari Coleman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.