OPINION: You too can help protect the President

Since the first day of my Advanced Placement U.S. Government class in tenth grade, I have had an interest in politics. I remember listening to my teacher discuss the political spectrum and having no idea what he was referring to, let alone what my views were. However, I did know how to argue and I wanted to be right. From then on, I learned as much as I could to defend my beliefs. I read magazines and newspapers, and I took advantage of every opportunity to discuss political issues.

As soon as I discovered that there was a College Republicans club at Eastern, I knew I wanted to be involved. I met the club president at a convention with the head delegate of the PA delegation for the Republican National Convention. Then I attended two CR meetings and went to the Radnor Republican Committee office to help with a phone bank.

Two weeks later, the CR president told me President Bush would be visiting the area on September 22 to speak on education for his campaign. I envisioned the meeting to be an orientation for the people attending the event regarding decorum or something related. I had no idea that I would be standing only a few yards from the President of the United States and the First Lady the next day.

When we arrived, I realized that I was one of about 40 volunteers for the event. Everyone was instructed as to what to wear, how to act and what to do upon encountering protesters or hecklers. The feeling that came over me as I realized what I would be doing is hard to describe. I was not only helping to keep the event running smoothly, but I was also protecting the President of the United States in my own small way. I felt honored, excited, responsible and patriotic all at once. My job was to escort the press straight to the press box.

Though I was not very important, I definitely felt it as I took reporters from national publications to their seats. Volunteers did not have seats during the speech, but were told to watch for any suspicious activity amongst those seated.

I have seen the President speak three times now, and, for me, the most exciting moment is when the speaker announces his name. There is a contagious feeling of anticipation and exhilaration when he suddenly appears.

At the most recent speech, the President walked in and, after saying a few words, sat on the seat farthest to right, only a few yards away from me! To my surprise, Laura Bush was also there; I had not seen her in person yet. It was awesome!

I snapped a roll of film as I listened to the President speak for an hour about his No Child Left Behind Act as well as a few other platforms.

Once the President finished his speech and got on his plane, I immediately felt ordinary again. The President was gone and my duties had been fulfilled.

Volunteering for the event was one of the most exciting experiences of my life so far. If you are interested in politics and want to show support for your candidate of choice, volunteer for their campaign. You meet people who believe the same things you do, people with political connections and people high on the political ladder.

Sometimes you are lucky enough to get really close to the candidate. Most importantly, you are doing something to help your candidate become elected.

I highly recommend volunteering on any level at all, whether for an event, a phone bank, or even handing out literature door-to-door. If you truly believe in a candidate’s cause, actively show your support. You will not only have fun, but also become a more experienced person.

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