BY RACHEL DEL GUIDICE
CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
At least 50 students attended a State of the Union watch party hosted by Franciscan University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom on January 20.
Tommy Valentine, president of YAF, and vice president, Tom Gaudet greeted students and shared about the mission of the organization. YAF is a conservative club that seeks to educate and involve Franciscan students in the political process. The group believes that as a Catholic campus, it is the duty of the students to get involved in the public square.
The address was live-streamed on the Gentile Gallery’s projection screen. An almost continual discussion prevailed throughout the speech as students would verbally react to what President Obama said.
Philip Harold, who holds a doctorate in politics and is an adjunct professor of political science at Franciscan, shared some of his own thoughts on the speech and opened up a time of discussion before freshman U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst gave the Republican response to the president.
Harold said that President Obama is a great orator and his troubles lie more in whom he has chosen as his friends rather than his personal beliefs. He likened President Obama’s poor choice of friends to Woodrow Wilson’s similarly poor friendship choices. He said that when leaders surround themselves with immoral friends, it is increasingly hard for them to achieve the level of leadership that is expected of them.
Harold also said that the camera angles of the event were unusual. Usually, C-SPAN will give a single wide shot of the entire House for the duration of the speech. However, this year the cameras showed many close-up shots, especially when the Democrat section of the House applauded.
This gave the illusion of many people applauding about what the president was saying, rather than the reality, said Harold, especially taking account that the Republicans have the biggest House majority since before the New Deal of the 1930s.
Toward the end of his speech, the president quoted Pope Francis. “As His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of ‘small steps…,’” said Obama. The president was referencing the ongoing struggle of “diplomacy” in Cuba.
Theology student Hannah Bruckner said, “This is just another classic example of the left taking the Pope’s quotes out of context and misrepresenting the Church’s stance on social issues.”
Beginning at the end of the fall 2014 semester, YAF hosted a 9/11 “Never Forget” memorial project, screened the movie “Inside 9/11,” registered more than 250 people to vote in a pre-election voter drive and hosted speakers Sen. Rick Santorum as well as the Rev. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.