Students turn out for McCain healthcare protest

Students turn out for McCain protest By Casey Washer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) met hostility and protest when he came to speak near Ohio State's Mershon Auditorium here at a American Cancer Society event to tout his plan for the privatization of healthcare July 31.

Over 100 demonstrators, from the Alliance of Retired Americans, the Steelworkers (USW) and Service Workers (SEIU) unions, and students received a warm reception while rallying at the cancer event. Cars honked, passers by greeted them and the media interviewed the protesters. The only people unhappy to see the demonstrators where the Republicans arriving with McCain.

While McCain’s arrival was met with a much protest, the negative reception wasn’t, however, much of a surprise. Demonstrators chanted, “We know the facts, we don’t want your healthcare tax!”, and “What do we want? Better Healthcare! When do we want it? NOW!” Signs demanded “No privatization of healthcare!”, “Stop attacks on retirees!”, and “Invest in America, NOT Iraq!”

Even though Senator McCain’s event was hosted on campus, an overwhelming majority of the people entering (and leaving) the even where not college students. A vast majority of the students at the event where protesters or protest supporters. Many of the protesters where students who just happened upon the event by accident, walking home from class, and joined in the protest.

College students involved in protests and advocating progressive ideas is not a new phenomenon. Today's generation, however, seems particularly critical of Sen. McCain’s campaign, and especially excited about Sen. Barack Obama. The question begs to be asked, “Why?”

Two big reasons are college students have always been big pushers for change. The Obama-McCain race is the first presidential election in 25 years to not have a Bush or a Clinton on the ticket. Also, more note-worthy, is that this will be the first election in over 225 years where the two main-party candidates are not both Caucasian. Despite these historical differences the reasons so many college students support Obama, and not McCain, goes deeper then skin color or surnames.

Senator Obama is a considerably younger candidate who seems to be much more “in touch” with the values of our generation. Where-as Senator McCain’s support for the war in Iraq, abstinence-only sex education programs, and anti-choice beliefs (just to name a few) seem to many youths to be nothing but a lighter version of George W. Bush.

Casey Washer is a student at Ohio State University