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Smith Sophomore Attends Republican National Convention

After volunteering all summer for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, Sarah Perkins ’11 attended last week’s Republican National Convention, at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minn., along with delegates from Georgia. She wrote about her experience for The Gate.

[Read an account by Sara Aboulafia ’09 about her experience at the Democratic National Convention.]

Cheering on an American Hero

By Sarah Perkins ’11

I would have never thought that I would be blessed to attend the Republican National Convention (RNC) the first week of September. I enjoy politics and love watching the debates, but being so close was extraordinary. I was among celebrities and political figures that were all so friendly and willing to listen about making America better. Being at the Republican National Convention allowed me to see democracy and freedom at its best. As a guest of the Georgia and Maryland Delegation, I was able to see history every night.

As a volunteer with the McCain campaign this summer and at the convention, I was able to encounter so many senators and watch from the skybox and sit with delegates.
As I arrived at the Xcel Center in downtown Minneapolis the first night, I was greeted by angry protesters. The boos, jeers and broken glass thrown at me only made me stronger and more grateful that soldiers died for their right to protest. As I entered, I saw delegates and fellow conservatives as the crowd cheered “Viva La McCain!” Sen. Joseph Lieberman gave a great keynote speech.
As we cheered, “John McCain” and “USA,” I was overjoyed and knew that my vote for McCain was solidified. As a strong social conservative, I had felt that I could not vote for McCain, but he is truly a real hero and has a great economic plan, as reaffirmed by Senator Lieberman.

The next day, as morning fell, butterflies arose as I knew that Gov. Sarah Palin would address the nation that night. That night I saw a woman who wants to see America prosper and be an advocate for families with special needs. She will govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and a servant's heart.

Sarah Perkins ’11 (on left) poses with Sen. John and Cindy McCain at the Republican National Convention.

That evening as I rushed to my seat on the floor, I noted the diversity in my delegation from Georgia: African Americans, Asian Americans, women and youth. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gringrich gave me a hug and told me to keep up the good work.

That night I heard from some of the greatest political figures: Fred Thompson spoke, as well as former presidential candidate Michael Steele, former Lt. Governor from Maryland, and my favorite, Mike Huckabee, who gave me even more of a reason to become a Republican. He spoke of personal accountability and not waiting on the government for a handout.

Then, Sen. McCain spoke. McCain did not give a speech, but rather words of change and hope to the country. He spoke of how in his administration he would be held accountable by the people and would preserve sanctity of life. “When we tell you we're going to change Washington and stop leaving our country's problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it,” he said. “We've got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment and backbone to keep our word to you.”

Earlier that day, I had met with John and Cindy McCain. The highlight of my week was spending time with them and their children.

McCain told the convention crowd that night of how he will help the economy grow. “Keeping taxes low helps small businesses grow and create new jobs,” he said. I and the crowd cheered.

As McCain closed the convention and confetti fell, I was heartbroken to see it end. I know that change is coming and hope is alive in this campaign season, but the change and hope I want is John McCain, who is a real American hero and maverick. With Sarah Palin by his side this country will see that women are able to be in charge of the boardroom and the home.

This convention changed my life and taught me to put my country first. Being a part of the Smith Republicans helps foster my passion for my party. The Republican Party is not perfect, but it’s the perfect party for me.



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