By Nicole Brems
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, thousands of people gathered at Hofstra University for the second presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend.
From the start the debate wasn’t at all what I had expected. When pulling up to the school on Hempstead Turnpike, I could see there were hundreds of people crammed on the sidewalks, blocking the side streets and demonstrating for the candidate they support. It was then that I realized I was entering an extreme-political-junkie zone.
Surprisingly, no one asked for a ticket or ID at any point. From pulling onto the campus to walking into the building where I watched the debate, no security approached me. Even though I was in a different building than the debate, I expected the seemingly hundreds of cops that were present to be offering, oh I don’t know, security? It really shocked me that anyone could just walk into this volatile area without having their identification checked. People can get crazy when it comes to political events.
Prior to the debate, there was a panel of professors from the communications department of Hofstra and two other schools to discuss how to watch the debate. The panelists pointed out a lot of things that you wouldn’t realize during the debate, such as the “second screen.”
Oftentimes while watching TV (especially the debate) people will also use their computer, phone or other electronic device to post on social media sites or see what others have to say about the show. The panelists say that is the wrong thing to do. When hearing another’s opinion you will often take on their opinion as your own if you weren’t able to form your own opinion first. They advise against looking at the second screen until after the debate is over and also recommend watching the debate on a different station for a second viewing.
The panelists also suggested watching how the candidates interact with one another and listening to the responses. The tips were all very helpful once the debate began.
As the panelists finished up, the seats in the playhouse started to fill in for the main event: the debate. After each candidate spoke a large number of people would clap for them, no matter what was said.
From where I was sitting, I could clearly see how passionate people were getting about the debate. There was a woman and young man sitting across the aisle from each other who would mouth inaudible things across the aisle after their favorite candidate spoke. This went on for the whole debate and I doubt they were the only ones doing that.
Overall, it was an amazing experience. It was great to be in the atmosphere of the debate and see how everyone reacted to it. I look forward to possibly going back for future debates.