Twelve o’clock descends upon the sweltering lawn as my attention is caught by a large sign with “Rick for President” written in large red and blue font. The activities fair is in full swing and my fraternity obligates me to sit sweaty and disgruntled behind a large folding table on the Cordiner side lawn. The first years I’m supposed to be schmoozing look equally discontent with their surroundings, shuffling awkwardly from booth to booth in small tight-knit packs.
My gaze is drawn again to the large American flag strewn across a booth manned by two polo-clad twenty-somethings. Boredom and curiosity overtake me and I abandon my post to experience one of Whitman’s most bizarre and reclusive sub-cultures: the Young Republicans.
They are cautious when I make first contact, correctly assuming that I, like most who visit their stand, am there ironically. A jovial, “Hi, how’s it going?” seems to put the young Trumpophiles at ease while I pour over the vast wealth of Santorum propaganda on the table. I hold up a bumper sticker with a photo of the Rickster gesticulating wildly and say, “Can I have this?” Taken aback, one of the combovered youths responds with a hasty, “Sure!” The other, still justifiably skeptical about my intentions furrows his brow and asks, “So, do you like Santorum?”
Now ordinarily I’m not prone to vulgarity or one to break social decorum for the sake of a laugh. However, a setup like this one comes once in a lifetime. I screw my courage to the sticking place and quip, “Yeah, I mean like of course I do. It’s just that the cleanup is a real bitch.”
Confusion, incredulity, disappointment and rage wash over their faces in that order. One of them snaps back saying, “Why did you even come here?” I ponder his question for a while and eventually decide that I am in too deep to stop digging. “Well, I was just walking by your stand, and then I thought to myself, ‘You know what, I do hate poor people,’” escapes my lips before I have a chance to reconsider. I abscond shortly after with my life, Santorum bumper sticker and the knowledge that campus Republicans have very little sense of humor.