Lines of MAGA hats poured into McKenzie Arena Sunday night to see President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence on the campaign trial for Marsha Blackburn (R), who’s running for United States Senate.
Our staff here at The University Echo has decided to share opinions of the presidential visit. All of us are proud to say we represent a diverse range of opinions and ideas that accurately reflects UTC’s student body.
In anticipation for the visit, we all collectively agreed this a big moment for UTC and the city of Chattanooga. The last time a president came to campus was in 1987 when Ronald Reagan gave a commencement speech to the graduates. When the Trump administration announced that Vice President Mike Pence would also be in attendance, it gave the occasion all the more attention.
As more polls release closer to the midterm election day, some say Senate-hopeful Marsha Blackburn leads, as other reveal her behind Phil Bredesen (D). Regardless, it’s easy to see the race is not one-sided here in Tennessee. And President Trump speaking on behalf of the congresswoman makes sense.
Oddly enough, an event of this magnitude was only brought to the students’ attention the week before it was scheduled to take place. As many cheer and hurrah at the news, others frantically prepare for the event and anticipate possible chaos.
The university announced to its students via email that a peaceful protest will take place on McKenzie Arena’s sidewalk. We all agree as supporters of the first amendment that this is a good and respectable reaction on the school’s part to create a safe and healthy environment.
Many political analysts have studied the president’s rhetoric, debating whether it’s patriotic or nationalistic, fair or partial, provoking or encouraging. As that answer is argued, it’s obvious his word choice is polarizing. Because of this, the discourse from a protest is welcomed. We are hoping supporters and opponents alike, will come together and speak their minds respectfully.
We unanimously have faith in our student body. But there is always room to be careful, and if the conversation goes sour, and violence erupts, law enforcement must be able to respond swiftly.
Though we’re glad the peaceful protests are peaceful, the question might be asked what these protesters hope to achieve. They will undoubtedly disagree with the president’s politics, but we’ll be looking for a further statement than that simply.
At the end of the day, the editors and writers at The University Echo have a job to do: report the news. We do not seek moral victory. We do not insert outside agenda. We do not aim to do harm. The night we have in front of us here in Chattanooga is a lively one for both sides. Some say his presence, demeanor and mindset are hostile, backhanded and backwards. Others say he is our chief, and there is a duty to respect his arrival. Regardless, The University Echo proudly and justly reports the news the same as we do every day.