President Barack Obama stops in San Antonio on a campaign trail

On Tuesday, July 17, in the early morning light of downtown San Antonio, hundreds of people began forming lines wrapping around the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center. Representing all walks of life, these early risers were waiting in line to meet with President Barack Obama at a fundraising luncheon.

Tickets for general admission began at two hundred fifty dollars, preferred seating was one thousand dollars and to be included in a photo with the President the cost was a mere five thousand dollars per person. For a select few UTSA students, however, this event was accessible at a student discount rate of only twenty-five dollars.

Sean Goerner, a senior criminal justice major at UTSA, felt it was important to see the President. “Even though I don’t agree with all of his policies, he is the candidate that resonates with me the most. I definitely will be supporting him this November,” he stated. Goerner, who is active in both the Young Democrats and GLBTQ on campus, was joined by a select handful of fellow students including Hannah Beck and Joe Engel.

For Goerner, being politically active is something he sees not as a privilege, but a right. “…Being involved in politics is one of the most important things I do because I am not happy with how things are in this country right now,” said Goerner. “I want to help change that, and if I don’t try, I have no right to be unhappy with the current state of things!”

As expected, security was tight in order to ensure the safety of the President and event attendees. After a general check-in process, guests were made to stand in lines for up to an hour to wait through security measures usually reserved for airports, complete with body scans and pat downs.

Inside the convention center, hundreds of tables were immaculately arranged for five hundred people to have lunch with the President. Many prominent local politicians attended the event such U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett and candidates Patricia Alvarez, Rebecca Martinez and Luz Elena Chapa. Even local San Antonio Spurs basketball player, Bruce Bowen couldn’t pass up an opportunity to meet the head of state.

Following a Mexican themed lunch customary of San Antonio fashion, co-hosts of the event, Congressman Charlie Gonzales, Eva Longoria and Mayor Julian Castro, stepped out to speak to the eager crowd. Gonzales spoke on the importance of voting and supporting democratically aligned campaigns. Longoria, speaking as a Mexican-American, spoke heavily on the importance of immigration reform, while the Mayor emphasized the socio-economic importance of Barack Obama’s re-election.

An overhead voice announced the arrival of President Barack Obama and cheers erupted from the crowd as supporters rushed to their feet to welcome the president. Obama began his speech by giving thanks to those who attended the event, whether they came as Democrats, Independents or Republicans. He then went on to address the most pressing social, economic and political issues facing the country. The president was met with applause when he championed the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Favorable applause also met the president when he discussed his other successes in repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, withdrawing troops from Iraq, as well as capturing and killing Osama Bin Laden.

Obama continued to discuss his ambitions to protect social welfare, ensuring citizens equal opportunity to pursue their dreams without government or corporate obstruction. The president discussed his plans to continue repealing previous tax cuts for the wealthy one percent, while lowering taxes for the middle class and small business owners. In attempts to appear more relatable to his audience, he often addressed the crowd by saying, “when I see you, I see myself, when I see your children, I see my children…your struggles are my struggles…”

The president discussed methods to assure equal opportunity for every American through legislation that guarantees funding for public education, imposes regulations on the financial sector and allows women to have the rights to their own bodies. In his bid for re-election, the President offered only brief criticisms of his opponent, calling into question Mitt Romney’s economic policy of “trickle down” economics and lack of consideration for the disenfranchised lower and middle classes.

President Obama ended his speech by greeting and shaking the hands of his supporters in attendance. The luncheon reached its goal of raising thousands of dollars for the Obama re-election campaign, as well as spreading the President’s campaign message to south Texas.