WWE Superstars lead Smackdown Your Vote! rally in Phoenix
PHOENIX — As Lilian Garcia walked onto the St. Mary's Catholic High School Wiegand Auditorium stage, she was greeted with thunderous cheers. That applause is oftentimes reserved for when the multifaceted Diva is welcoming our fans to an edition of Monday Night Raw or performing tunes from her Ã‚Â¡Quiero Vivir! album. St. Mary's senior class, especially the males, took notice of the sultry ring announcer. But, on this day, the majority of the students were pumped about the prospects of making an impact on the 2008 presidential election.
"I think it's a great opportunity for people to get registered and for the youth to get involved in the Democratic process in this country. For a long time young people have never participated in the process and it's great that we're finally getting some support," said Andrew Enciso, an 18-year-old St. Mary's senior. "It lets us know that we are important in the country. The greatest part about today's rally was to see the enthusiasm from WWE. Their excitement for us was great."
Monday morning, Garcia, Raw Superstar Val Venis and Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer spearheaded a Smackdown Your Vote! rally at the catholic high school. Garcia and Venis challenged teenagers to be part of history by making their voices heard.
"Hopefully, something I said to them will trigger something inside of them and they will actually go and vote this year," said Garcia, the daughter of a lieutenant colonel. "Registering to vote is very important, because this year the youth vote is such a big deal -- it could potentially be the swing vote in this election. It's important for them to know what they're voting for. It's also important that they understand it's not about choosing someone who is cute or someone who speaks well. It is about the issues. They need to watch the full debates, so they can get the full story."
Venis, the host of his own political show at Freetarian.com, shared his views, as well.
"It really doesn't matter how much integrity a human being has when going into that position of power. That power can be incredibly intoxicating. It's just so important for everybody to be a part of the electoral process," Venis said. "It's absolutely important for citizens to exercise their right to vote and to keep those politicians in check."
The 225 students, all wearing school colors -- green and white -- showed their appreciation for Venis and Garcia. St. Mary's Principal Mark Mauro was impressed with the enthusiasm that his students exhibited.
"Our young people care about what is happening in their community. They care about who the leaders of the nation will be. It shows a lot about the commitment of the Knights and Lady Knights in the senior class. Hopefully, it's laying a great foundation for them for the future that's going to carry on throughout elections for the rest of their lives," Principal Mauro said.
Students registered to vote before and after the rally. The registration was organized by Brewer's office.
"We live in the greatest country in the world. Voting is a privilege. Everybody should take advantage of it. Your vote does count," Brewer, a former United States Senator, said. "There's all kinds of examples that one person made a huge difference. We need people informed to go out there and elect the people they want to represent them, so our country is operated the way the people wants it operated. This is not a dictatorship. This is America. It is so important."