One nation, apathetic

Katie Gile

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By: Katie Gile, Staff Writer

 

Communication Junior Curtis Shubert is one of few politically concerned UNF students.

 

As UNF students ready themselves for the flood of politics and politicians at the GOP debate Jan. 26, the Spinnaker wanted to know what issues weighed heavily in their minds.

 

However, many students found themselves without issues to discuss.

 

Some consider politics an arena for their elders and choose to remain on the sidelines.

 

“I wouldn’t know which way to vote,” said Ana Fernandez, a UNF deaf education freshman. “That’s always been my parents’ thing to do. I tend to pay attention to what they suggest because they’re really involved in it.”

 

Others, such as Ian Cleary, an undeclared UNF freshman, find it difficult to get intellectually invested without a party or point of view to identify with.

 

“I don’t really see the point in getting involved,” Cleary said. “I know that I fit closest as a member of the independent party, but there’s a slim to no chance that an independent would win an election.”

 

Many students are averse to the discussion of issues they say neither affect nor interest them.

 

Devon Donahue, a UNF criminal justice junior, said a frank discussion regarding gay marriage would pull her into the ring.

 

“All you ever hear about is the economy and taxes,” Donahue said. “I have no interest in hearing about that. I can’t relate to it. If [a politician] came on TV and started talking about things I actually care about, that’d get me off the couch to vote.”

 

Despite this uninvolved display, other students showed deeper interest in political matters.

 

Students such as Terronie Whittick, a UNF criminal justice junior, expressed deep concern about foreign policy.

 

“We need to keep our nose out of other countries’ business,” Whittick said. “We need to be focusing on taking care of things here at home.”

 

Whittick’s point of view is similar to that of GOP candidate Ron Paul, who has stated in various news media that troops should be returned home “as soon as the ships could get there.”

 

While some of Whittick’s concern lies in foreign affairs, he said part of managing U.S. affairs would be canceling all corporate bailouts and letting capable businesses land on their feet appropriately.

 

“You need to have the right business structure,” Whittick said. “If your business can’t stand on its own feet without a government bailout, then you don’t have a good business.”

 

Others, like Audrey Banks, a UNF communication sophomore, are pulling for legislation such as the Affordable Care Act to remain intact.

 

“There were plenty of times when I needed [health] insurance, but I couldn’t afford it,” Banks said. “It’s something I’d like to hang on to. I just wish I was more aware of what exactly it does other than making insurance easier to pay for.”

 

Curtis Shubert, a UNF communication junior, also hopes the act will remain intact to help him afford his prescriptions.

 

“I’m so thankful [the act is] lowering costs,” Shubert said. “I don’t understand why [my medication is] practically $5 a pill, but that’s really pricey for me.”

 

All four GOP candidates oppose the act, much to the dismay of Banks and Shubert. Each GOP candidate has expressed intentions of either replacing or repealing the act.

 

As of Jan. 21, Gingrich earned an upset victory in the South Carolina primary. The only candidate yet to win is Paul, with Santorum winning in Iowa and Romney taking a New Hampshire victory.

 

To see where the candidates rank at UNF, keep reading for the Spinnaker’s GOP student primary poll.

 

Student Primary Poll

 

The Spinnaker performed a survey of 295 students from Jan.18 to Jan. 25 to determine which candidate, if any, students would vote for in the GOP primary.

 

Texas Congressman Ron Paul won with students, with 31.19 percent of the vote.

 

However, the second most popular choice among students was not a candidate.

 

In keeping with UNF’s apathetic student showing, 29.83 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for none of the four or had yet to do their research on the matter.

 

The third favorite choice among students polled was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney, before the South Carolina primary, was a favorite to win the Republican candidacy.

 

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum took the remaining two spots, with Gingrich holding a 5 percent lead over Santorum.

 

Check back in with the Spinnaker after the Jan. 31 Florida Republican Primary to find out if UNF had it right.

 

Email Katie at [email protected]