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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students more passionate about social issues

President George W. Bush’s 54-minute State of the Union address Tuesday received mixed reactions from Texas A&M students and faculty, representing different political facets present at the University.
“(The speech) was decent. I support him on most issues,” said Mark McCaig, communications director for the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) at A&M. “I don’t blindly follow someone just because they’re of a certain party.”
Bush’s speech, which included 70 interruptions from audience applause, addressed issues involving tax cuts, healthcare, the war in Iraq, redefining marriage and other acts of legislation.
“Terrorist nations declared war on this country,” Bush said. “And war is what they got.”
That statement alone provided the basis of much of the rift between dissenting student voices.
“I disagree with the whole Iraq situation,” said Kristen Welbourn, vice president of the Aggie Democrats. “I don’t see how (Bush) can justify over 500 troops dying.”
McCaig disagreed, stating that he supported Bush on his actions with the war. Despite their age, McCaig said, college students’ political opinions are just as valid as those of other adults.
“For the most part, A&M is one of the more (politically) involved campuses. But people don’t necessarily do a lot of in-depth research on all the issues,” McCaig said. “I’m a news and politics junkie. I live on this stuff.”
After the speech, students such as McCaig and Welbourn discussed fundamental political differences with their friends through media such as America Online Instant Messenger.
“I really felt that most of (the speech) was propaganda,” Welbourn said. “(Bush) brings up these ideas but he doesn’t give us any way to make them happen. He doesn’t back them up.”
Students reacted more passionately to social issues than fiscal ones.
“I don’t see how (Bush is) going to promote the sanctity of marriage,” Welbourn said. “It’s not his place – it’s our own social issue.”
McCaig agreed that the issue of redefining marriages was one of controversy, especially on A&M’s predominantly conservative campus.
The YCT’s position on marriage is that it is the union between a man and a woman, McCaig said. He said most political issues rarely had a uniform reaction from any politically affiliated student group.
“Political labels – I don’t like them,” McCaig said. “I think most people on campus identify with the Republican party, but I think it’s dangerous to agree with a party 100 percent.”

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