Election Blogging Live!

Hello all,

I will be assisting the Washington Square News with their live election blog. My posts are signed, so you should check it out and stuff.

I also ran a column today, reprinted here for your reading convenience. Originally published 11/04/08, in the Washington Square News:

The act of voting should not become just a passing trend

Damon Beres

Yesterday, WSN’s editorial board officially endorsed Barack Obama as its candidate of choice in the 2008 presidential election. It was a decision that likely surprised few. New York City is a liberal place, NYU an even more left-leaning campus. You cannot walk through Union Square without being bombarded by Barack Obama goods or walk down Broadway without being stopped by an Obama street canvasser. He is a veritable icon, akin to a major movie actor or rock star. In fact, throughout the campaign, Obama has received unprecedented support from both of these populations. Robert De Niro appeared at a New Jersey Obama rally earlier in the year, and rappers like Common and Lil Wayne blatantly endorsed him in their music. Obama is a genuine celebrity’s celebrity.

No one can say whether or not Obama will be elected tonight. Real Clear Politics, a political analysis website, predicts that he will be, as does the final Gallup poll. In either event, I have one question: what are all of the Obama groupies going to do with themselves after Tuesday? That is, after the campaign no longer needs to pander to them in order to generate votes and ridiculous viral YouTube videos?

If he loses, will they give up their politics? Will they, the dejected masses, recoil, downtrodden and defeated? Will the matter of government become a superficial afterthought to them if their crown prince fails?

Or what if Barack Obama succeeds? Will “Obama Girl” make herself more than just a pretty face on the internet, involving herself in political activism after the election’s end? Will anyone who adorns their apparel with Obama effigies know the first thing about the government come January? Will the young people, the actors, the musicians, care about the United States once it’s no longer cool to do so?

One thing is certain: Obama has galvanized the people of this nation in a way no other candidate has. It’s been remarkable observing this country’s response since he accepted the candidacy for the Democratic Party. It’s extremely unlikely that the supporters of Hillary Clinton or Dennis Kucinich would have even approached the cult following Obama enjoys should they have won the Democratic primaries. The positive attitude toward Obama has been pervasive, and even the mass media have made him a darling in a way that verges on the disturbing in its universality.

But the buzzwords “change” and “hope” will mean nothing should Obama be sworn in as our next president. These are shallow catchphrases designed to generate interest in a campaign and nothing more. As a symbol, Obama represents much, but politics is about more than just polished rhetoric. The system requires action. It requires civic involvement.

The Obama campaign succeeded so handily because it turned politics into a fad. When the dust has settled from the election, though, it won’t be so easy for people to stay engaged. The worst-case scenario is that we find out that this has all just been a phase, like Pokémon or those Livestrong bracelets, and that — in the end — people haven’t really cared, or haven’t known what they were talking about in the first place.

Get out and vote today. Do so wisely. Do it for the right reasons. And try not to let it end there.

Damon Beres is deputy opinion editor. E-mail responses to dberes@nyunews.com.


One Response to “Election Blogging Live!”

  1. […] Election Blogging Live! « Damon Beres Presents: A Blog of Glunders […]

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