The sky was Tar Heel blue all day Wednesday, Nov. 2, to receive the President of the United States at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
President Barack Obama came once again to North Carolina before Election Day to help promote Hillary Clinton and to remind the public that people can and should vote early.
“North Carolina is one place where even the people that don’t vote for me are nice,” said Obama as soon as the crowd eased cheering.
He started his speech by mentioning the members of Congress that were also present at UNC Chapel Hill on Wednesday, such as Deborah Ross who is currently running for Senator and Roy Cooper who is running for governor in North Carolina.
“We got six days to decide the future of this country,” continued Obama. “And the good news is you don’t have to wait until Election Day to do the right thing. You can vote right now.”
Obama also reminded the public of his accomplishments as president for the past eight years, such as the creation of 50 million new jobs and the legalization of gay marriage.
He then said that all of this progress made during the last decade and all the progress Americans hope to make in the next eight years will be thrown away if Donald Trump wins the election.
“I hate to put a little pressure on you, but the fate of the Republic rests on your shoulders,” he said.
“If you focus on your choice, you’ll see this choice could not be simpler. The guy the Republicans nominated … is tempera- mentally unfit to be commander in chief. This is somebody who claims to be a great businessman, but I know a lot of business people across the country who have done really well without snipping small businesses out of what they owed them.”
At the end, Obama reiterated that Hillary Clinton was the best choice for this coun- try’s future.
“You just gotta vote, North Carolina,” he said. “The nice thing is you don’t just have to vote against that guy, because you got a candidate who is actually worthy of your vote, who is smart, and who is steady and … who is probably the most qualified ever to run for this office, and that is Hillary Clinton.”
The excitement to see Obama speak in what is supposed to be one of his last remarks as the president of the U.S. brought not only students, faculty and staff from UNC Chapel Hill but many others from different cities.
“The fact that this is his last time coming here before he leaves office, (makes) it historical,” said Leah Young from Durham. “I voted for him, and I’m just excited to push for Hillary.
“And the fact that African-Americans are not coming out to early voting is like a way of representation for us to get out there and vote.”
Being thrilled about Obama’s visit did not prevent some people from passing out due to the heat. The event was held at an open soccer field at the university, and even though water was provided, water bottles were prohibited, making the access to it harder.
There was also a limited amount of seating, and most attendees had to stand for over three hours.
“It’s just the way that this field is set up, in my opinion,” said Paul Baker, owner of the water stations. “If you set it up concert style, when people can exit through the sides, then they could have made it to the water station, and they would be … able to get back to the spot they had reserved to watch the President.
“And a lot of the time, they could not leave, so that is why people were so exposed.”
Although the heat affected a significant amount of people, they were able to receive medical care at the site, and the event proceeded with no further incidents.
Besides President Obama and other important members of the community, James Taylor appeared at the rally with his wife, Caroline Smedvig, and they both sang three songs, including “Carolina In My Mind.”
People left the rally excited to do their part and vote for the future, while Obama’s words were left as a reminder of the importance of this nation.
“We are a country like no other,” he said. “We don’t have to be born into wealth, we don’t have to practice a certain thing, we don’t have to have a certain last name, we just have to want to contribute … and that’s what makes America great.”