Polling Place

Even in the ivory tower, there was no respite from the election of 2004. As with everywhere else in the United States, its signs, slogans, and sneers were all over. True to its non-partisan nature, however, the College focused its pre-election events on voter registration; and it brought speakers from many points on the political spectrum.

At the HUB, voter-registration activities, including a visit from the League of Women Voters, occupied much of September. Rick Shenkman, best-selling author of Presidential Ambition, came with a talk called “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Voters” on September 30, which happened to be the date of the first presidential debate. The burden of his song was that voters should maintain a healthy skepticism when listening to campaign promises, because precious few of them will make it to the legislative stage.

Another guest was Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a foe of the Bush administration ever since it sent him to Africa to prove the sale of fissionable nuclear materials from Niger to Iraq. When he could find no evidence of such transactions, nor any fissionable material, he says the administration brushed his conclusions aside and leaked to the press that his wife was a CIA agent.

Three political bloggers— writers who maintain “Web logs” of timely commentary —appeared in Foy Hall in October, courtesy of the Morning Call. One was of the leftish persuasion, one was sort-of-left, one was of the rightish, and all commented on the importance of their new medium to the political process. They all admitted their importance to the culture of non-information as well. “I hate facts,” said Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette (www.wonkette.com). Her fellow panelists were Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com) and John Hinderaker of Power Line (www.powerlineblog.com)

A week later Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson from CNN’s Crossfire traded leftand- right viewpoints on Moravian’s Johnston Hall stage. They were the Cohen Arts and Lectures speakers for the 21st year of that series. On the drive back to Washington, D.C., Carlson’s limo reduced the deer population of North America by one. Begala, traveling behind, gave Carlson a lift home, proving that left and right occasionally can get along.

Moravian students, faculty, and staff walked, telephoned, and leafleted for candidates, parties, and issues. Danielle Liberatore ’05, one of two student members of the College Board of Trustees, made the front page of the Morning Call while talking up President Bush to undecided voters; Rich Wilkins ’05, a volunteer worker for the Democratic candidate for the 15th Congressional district, set up the Wilson appearance on campus; and Patrick St. John ’05, son of Donald St. John, professor of religion, ran for the 134th state Assembly district seat as the Green Party’s candidate.