Editor’s Update: Here’s the video the chapter made about their activism, and the text of the “programs” they handed out is at the bottom of the post:
From YAL at NC State:
Monday morning September 12 at around 11 AM I was sitting in our campus’ brickyard waiting to head inside to class when I got a notification on my phone. Our chapter president, Brady Nemeth, had posted on our facebook page an article from The Technician, our school newspaper, saying that President Obama would be coming to campus.
When I read the article I realized two things: The first being that this was purely a campaign speech because Obama was coming to speak in North Carolina, a potential swing state, about the “American Jobs Act” or as we here at NC State YAL decided to call “Stimulus Round 2.”
The other thing I noticed was the speech was at noon on Wednesday September 14th…exactly two days from that moment. It was a brilliant move by the Obama administration to only give us a two days notice because he could easily rally supporters and students interested in seeing a sitting president while it would be quite difficult for those who oppose his failed policies to organize a counter-demonstration. Well, I’d say we managed to do ok, as you will see.
The night before Obama’s speech, as I was coming back to campus with a few friends, one of them got a call saying that Secret Service was in our Free Expression Tunnel, which is a tunnel on our campus where anyone is free to spray paint anything they want basically acting like a permanent free speech wall. My friend said they were there to prevent anything negative or “offensive” from being written about the president.
This is not a surprise, because every year since Obama got elected someone has spray painted something “racist” and “offensive,” and despite what was written in the tunnel was well within the bounds of freedom of speech the university always gets up in arms about it and creates a big scandal. This time the university didn’t want a little freedom messing up their photo op with the president.
So I got on the horn with Brady and Ryan Vest, our rising star, and wanted to see if they wanted to check out what was going on in the tunnel. We went to check it out and it turns out it wasn’t Secret Service but an older gentlemen working for a private security company just chilling in the middle of the tunnel.
We started to spray paint something humorous about the president towards the edge of the tunnel to see if he would come over. At first he didn’t, but when we finished the image he came over and it turns out he actually liked what we had written and he wasn’t too thrilled about having to do what he was doing. Even among the censors there are people who like free speech.
After our spray painting adventure, Brady, Ryan, and I sat around and decided to go ahead with our tentative plans we were talking about throughout the night. We decided to borrow an idea from another YAL chapter when Obama came to speak on their campus. We printed out fake agendas of the speech, in which we made an official looking agenda but with a list of things Obama has done such as his failed first stimulus and how unemployment is still above 9%, and handed them out the students waiting in line to hear the president speak. Of course, despite the lack of time, since Joe Furstenberg, our Media Coordinator had drafted and sent out our press release the day before and then the media advisory the day of the event. As a result, we got media attention for our demonstration:
- The local ABC station interviewed chapter president Brady Nemeth about his opposition to the invasion of Libya, as well as Obama’s new jobs bill
- Triangle News 14 also spoke with Brady in a more in-depth video piece, which included a shot of the programs
- NBC 17 covered YAL’s fake programs in its video report, noting that the papers combatted Obama’s talking points
- The campus paper, The Technician, included a quote from Brady in its write up as well
With the help of over half a dozen chapter members we hnded out more than 1,600 copies of the “agenda” to students. We also attracted the attention of the Obama “volunteers,” who were not happy about what we were doing and tried to get people to throw our agendas away. Well that ended up backfiring because it only drew the students attention to the flyer giving us more publicity…thanks, Obama volunteer! We also made some signs to display highlighting some of Obama’s failed campaign promises from 2008.
Overall, it was a great success for our chapter because we managed to get great media coverage, attract more members to our chapter, and we just had a blast spreading the word of freedom and liberty to the Wolfpack. It goes to show that even in a time crunch you can have a successful activism event.
Vice-President of YAL@NCSU
Editor’s Note: Click here to view additional photos of this protest on Facebook! Here’s the text of the “programs” YAL members distributed:
Remarks by President Obama on the American Jobs Act
Wednesday September 14th 2011
I. Pledge of Allegiance
II. President Obama introduced
III. Obama will explain why he visited a company in Apex, NC earlier today that just outsourced a 10,000 sq. ft warehouse to Costa Rica.
IV. Obama will clarify why the white house grossly overestimated the effect of the first stimulus plan, and expound on why this time will be different.
V. Obama tells us why spending nearly $1 trillion per year occupying 6 countries with bases in 130 more is more important than taking care of people here at home.
VI. Obama defends his position on denying more Freedom of Information Act requests per year than George Bush, while touting government transparency.
VII. Obama gets done speaking and you realize that unemployment is still over 9%, the federal debt is nearing $15 trillion, the country is borrowing around 40 cents per dollar, and there still are no serious debt reduction plans.Published in