February 11, 2008

Tompkins County: Lonely and Lovin' It!

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In an e-mail sent out this past week by “Ithaca for Obama,” this graphic sat tellingly at the top. The graphic could easily be mistaken for one belonging on the cover of a Tompkins county tourism pamphlet, but today, it points out much more than the location of our seemingly indistinct county. For one day at least, pundits across America looked at Tompkins county and asked: How did this happen?[img_assist|nid=27606|title=2008 Primary Election Democratic Results for New York|desc=This map, included in a Barack Obama campaign email to supporters, shows county-by-county results in New York.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0] Why did sixty-one of New York’s Congressional Districts go to Hillary while one, Tompkins, held out? Where does the support for Obama come from?
Well, many voters must have been influenced by my pro-Obama blog entry the day of the election. But, for someone who is just beginning to write, that explanation would probably be a bit too controversial, so I’ll offer a few other possible reasons.
Andrew Romano, a blogger for Newsweek, offers some interesting analysis when he says , “Blame the kids–and the anti-war crowd.” Romano goes on to describe how students were able to put in multiple thousands of calls for a candidate who they really believed in and helped change the election. As the The Sun reported, local students not only spoke with their volunteerism but with their ballots too, casting approximately seventy-two percent of their votes for Obama as compared to twenty-six for Hillary, a complete reversal of the rest of New York State’s voting pattern. (This data was taken from exit polls from the Cornell campus and Collegetown, and includes some local residents.)
In a generation where students are constantly being derided as careerists and politically apathetic, this statistical aberration should go a long way in proving our critics wrong. Yes, the Obama victory was not due only to students, (our district has for quite some time been noted as “different”) but the students were definitely a big part of the Obama victory and that’s something to be proud of. Nobody can deny that our generation is more involved in this election season than we have ever been before. We are behind a similar theme -change- but we’re doing it in a much more civilized and constructive way than our predecessors in the sixties. So, the next time somebody is trying to convince you that you belong to a generation of politically disinterested bums, point back to this day and say, “Take a look at that map, it tells you all you need to know.” It is important to stay active but let us remember this day, a day where civil action prevailed, as proof that we do care, we do have influence and we can get things done in a civil manner. That, my friends, is the only way to do it.