The debate watch party at UM was incredible. I arrived a little bit after the debate had started, and the party was already in full swing. The Rock, the UC Patio, all around and inside of the Rat, and even the food court were flooded with people.
The strangest thing was that it was relatively quiet. Everyone’s eyes were on the big-screen TVs. The one exception was the cheers or boos that would erupt when the crowd reacted to a particular statement.
Even though I was kicking myself for forgetting my camera (I saw someone take a picture with Chris Matthews, Mr. Hardball himself, as he passed by a few feet from me!), I was still able to create a small memory to take home: the cute “Presidential Debate 2004” button made at the little button station in the Breezeway. I was also satisfied with the food – who wouldn’t be happy about barbeque and desserts dished out by servers?
All in all, I was genuinely pleased that the first debate was held at UM. It was nice to see so many students actually paying attention to some part of the political process, whatever the reason – Vanessa Carlton or free food – that brought them there.
My verdict: It was worth the hectic, at times annoying, week or so leading up to the debate.
Reeva Oza can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.