Putting aside conflicting loyalties to past presidential hopefuls, students from more than six schools converged yesterday in Sever Hall at the College Democrats of Massachusetts (CDM) Annual Convention with one common mission: getting John F. Kerry into the White House.
Decked out with pins and stickers supporting a slew of candidates—badges of honor earned from hours of work on the campaign battlefield, even if spent supporting casualties of the primary season—students came to the conference from colleges across the state, including Boston College, MIT, Smith College, UMass-Amherst, Wellesley and Tufts.
Two students slapped five upon realizing they had both been supporting Wesley Clark.
“I’m just waiting for a ‘Jews for Kerry’ pin,” joked another student at the convention.
The day-long convention consisted of question-and-answer sessions with politicians and presentations by prominent Democratic organizations, concluding with the election of Joel C. Washington ’05 and Joseph M. Hanzich ’06 to the CDM board as vice president and membership director, respectively.
“The purpose of the conference is education and inspiration,” said outgoing CDM President Matthew Pelnar, a student at UMass-Amherst.
“And getting people to know each other,” added the outgoing vice president, Andrew J. Frank ’05, who is also the Harvard College Democrats President.
Congressman Michael J. Capuano, D-Mass., addressed the crowd of more than 50 about the power of winning elections by “knocking on doors and talking to real people.”
“It’s not about glossy literature or 30-second ads,” he said. “The only way to win elections is to work harder than the other guy. We’ve forgotten how to campaign—we’ve forgotten that it’s hard work.”
Capuano emphasized the importance of the government’s impact on people’s daily lives, and raised issues to which members of the crowd would relate.
“Most of you are middle class,” he said. “Who do you think paid for your public school education? Or if you’ve gotten money for scientific research? This is made possible through taxes and governmental programs.”
Capuano frequently garnered laughs from the audience with his blunt and occasionally sarcastic tone.
“Everything about Harvard is about merit,” he quipped. “Unless your father went here. Or you gave [Harvard] a building.”
In the campaign arena, he said, jobs should go to those who display dedication—not just those with qualifications.
Turning to the upcoming election, Capuano predicted that even if Kerry wins, his power will be limited by a Republican House and Senate.