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State of the Union encourages UHV students to talk politics

By KBell
Jan. 25, 2011 at 9:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2011 at 7:25 p.m.


DID YOU KNOW?George Washington gave the first State of the Union message in 1790. At 833 words, it was also the shortest message.

At more than 25,000 words, President Harry Truman gave the longest speech in 1946.

In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge gave the first State of the Union Address over the radio.

President Harry Truman gave the first State of the Union Address on television in 1947.

Source: www.nara.gov

After four months of a flippant friendship, University of Houston-Victoria freshmen Quinton Tschirhart and Ricardo Herrera took the plunge into politics.

"We don't touch politics much," Herrera said while waiting for President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. "This friendship might end after this," he joked.

The duo was near the front row among about 20 students gathered in the lounge at Jaguar Hall to watch the president's annual speech.

A quick sweep of the room revealed students are worried about issues that run the gamut - from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Arizona shootings to education costs and withdrawing from the war.

Their first time approaching the subject, Tschirhart and Herrera discovered they more or less agreed on how they saw the state of the union and Obama's first two years in office.

"I think he's trying out things that are risky, yet beneficial," Tschirhart said.

"I agree. He's not a normal president," Herrera added. "I believe he has many goals but not a lot of support."

Herrera said he watches the address every year and has always been passionate about politics. The issue most important to him - immigration reform.

"He fought so much for it in the campaign, but he has yet to push it through," he said.

Meanwhile, Tschirhart admitted he's just beginning to follow what's happening in the country.

"Right now, it's kind of a catch-up lesson for me," he said.

Students laughed, nodded and clapped quietly throughout Obama's speech, most trickling out before it ended.

The first to arrive and the last to leave, Tschirhart and Herrera shared their final thoughts.

"He made a big emphasis on the fact that we need to be one and work together," Tschirhart said. "And we can't really move forward, he mentioned a lot, until we work as one."

"He touched on the technological era that we're going through," Herrera said. "But I believe he should focus more on the domestic issues that we have before that."

While the political hour spurred previously untouched conversation between the two friends, they vowed to go back to avoiding hot-topic issues in their daily conversations.

"We might discuss it more in this room, but we're not bringing it up to our friends," Tschirhart said.

His neighbor a few doors down inserted another joke: "There might be carrots flying down the hall."

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