Friday, January 30, 2009
We tagged the wall outside of Gray Building with these words: "President Obama is..." We left chalk at the base of the wall, and before we were even out of eyesight from the wall, people were writing upon it. Unfortunately, it rained the next morning before we could take a picture of all of the things people had written, but we wrote down a few. The responses on the wall went something like this: President Obama is... black, historic, broad shouldered, inspiration, a hypocrite, yo mama, awesome, cool, epic, long awaited, respected, a good speaker, persuasive, a hero, my homeboy, freedom, diversity, not Bush, a liar, a socialist, a democrat, amazing, the love of my life, influential, strong, intelligent, brilliant, awesome, not that great, THAT great, the winner, our leader, and (of course) change. All of these responses were there before the end of the evening (we tagged this wall at around 3:00pm. The next morning as we walked past the wet and streaked wall, there were even more words blurred by the rain, such as unforgettable, the first black president, and the bomb. People saw Obama and ran to voice their opinions, good or bad.
Happily, we found that only 3 of the 14 people that we asked were willing to sell their right to vote. 5 of the people that we asked were not willing to have their photos taken, but they all responded to our inquiry with a resounding, "I wouldn't sell it for anything!" Though we expected the younger teenagers who had perhaps just started voting to be willing to sell their votes, we were surprised at the two older adults who said they would sell their votes as well. I think they figured that if they had enough money, they would be able to control the government anyway, so it would be a win -win situation. We came to the conclusion that perhaps more of these people would be willing to give up their vote in a time of less patriotism and extreme nationalism. Being so soon after the inauguration of the very well-liked and historically important President Barack Obama, a lot of people are very happy with our country and very proud of their rights and therefore would do nothing to divide themselves from their country. We would be interested to see what the results of this experiment were in a time of less patriotism, but perhaps this trend will keep on and our country will return to a state of political activism and interest. Perhaps this change for the better will stick around and restore our declining social capital and bring us all together.