America says Kerry on Bush

by vpundir | November 5th, 2004

I’m running late for a class and cursing the elevator for it’s speed, or the lack thereof, when it halts at a floor. But I don’t mind because as the door opens, a very attractive girl wearing a rather tempting dress enters. We nod at each other, and I struggle hard not to make my stare too obvious.

She speaks, “I’m considering whether to go for the class at 1.30 or watch Kerry’s speech at 2.” That was abrupt, but I gather myself together, “What? To watch him concede?” She agrees that it would have been so much more worthwhile had Kerry won, and decides that attending the class may be a better idea.

By now, my interest is aroused. So I go down to the business school lounge at two to check out the mood. The lounge is jam-packed with somber looking youngsters. While some show frustration (“Why did he have to concede? What did he have to lose if he waited?”), the general mood is of disappointed resignation.

I check back at three (the time of Bush’s acceptance speech) only to find the lounge largely empty. Those who are present aren’t ecstatic either. The dominant emotion in the Bush camp is relief. This is a southern state, a Republican stronghold, so one can well imagine the reaction across the campuses in pro-Democrat states.

Young America cares and more youth voted in this election than in any before it. According to The Boston Globe, at least 20.9 million Americans under the age of 30 voted in this presidential-election, which is an increase of 4.6 million over 2000.

It is abundantly clear that the young voters favored Kerry. I jokingly paraphrase Churchill “If you are not a Democrat at 20 you don’t have a heart. If you are not a Republican at 40, you don’t have a brain.” A student sitting on the next couch, says sagely, “Just because the young voted for Kerry, why did everyone think he would win? America has a very grey population and a lot of the old, ‘very American’ people came out to vote for Bush.”

The president to have won by the thinnest margin ever is also the president to have received the highest number of votes ever. That is America’s democracy for you. Quirky. Intriguing. Alive.

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