Gary Hart, 1984 runner-up candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president and former Colorado senator, spoke to students this week at the Faculty Club about his views regarding the importance of political activism.
Hart was joined by members from various student political groups including Student Government [SG], Council for Democracy, UM College Republicans and UM College Democrats.
The event was part of the “Get out the Vote” campaign that aims to inspire UM students to be more politically active.
Mike Johnston, former Student Government president and a major impetus of political activism on campus, commented on the significance of Hart’s appearance.
“The message sent by bringing Hart to campus was that UM students care about their community,” Johnston said. “Every student is impacted by the community around them.”
During his lecture Hart spoke about the impact people can make in their community without having to run for political office.
“Voicing opinions and concerns are both important,” Hart said.
At one point, Hart responded to a question about the importance of registering to vote on campus.
“It depends if you are going to stay in Miami, but you definitely want to have a say in the community,” Hart said.
Hart added that voting is a vital tool toward making a difference.
The Miami Hurricane asked Hart what advice he wished he would have had when he first got involved with politics.
“I was lucky enough to have been given the advice by the majority leader of the time,” Hart said. “I was told to know what I stand for when I walk through the door.”
“I understood exactly what he meant,” Hart said.
According to Hart, the advice was to stick by the values that had gotten him where he was and not to change them for anyone.
“Learning to make difficult decisions with those values was important to my success from the beginning,” Hart said.
Hart says that John F. Kennedy’s speech in which he stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” was a wake up call to the entire generation at the time. He said the speech inspired him and taught him to truly think about the duties one must perform for country.
“One must serve their country beginning with community,” Hart said. “Every improvement is a step forward.”
Toward the end of the lecture, The Miami Hurricane asked Hart if he was planning to run for president in 2008.
“No – I think I’m a senior citizen now,” Hart said.
However, Hart did mention that he endorses democrat John Kerry in the 2004 election and feels that the Iraq war and tax cuts will be important issues in the election.
“The economy will be a huge part of this race,” he said.
For more information on how to get involved with political organizations on campus, visit www.miami.edu.
The Miami Hurricane will follow up on the “Get Out the Vote” campaign in upcoming issues of the paper.
Ernesto Zaldivar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.