Meghan McCain spoke to ASU students Wednesday about her life as a politician’s daughter and her desire for political civility to an audience of both Democrats and Republicans on the Tempe campus.
McCain said her love for politics began during her father, John McCain’s, 2008 presidential campaign.
“I found a whole new way of looking at politics,” McCain said. “All (of) the sudden, I realized that I loved politics and the Republican Party more than I could perceive.”
She said her experience in politics showed a lack of political civility between parties because of damage inflicted by the media’s “fear politics.”
“Right now Republicans and Democrats seem even less capable of getting along and compromising,” McCain said. “This is happening because the news media is hungry for a 24-hour news cycle.”
McCain said she has been criticized for carrying views that don’t fit into the Republican agenda, such as her support for gay marriage.
She said the Republican Party needs to diverge from the standards of an older generation to reach out to the momentum of a younger generation.
“We need to stop putting people into convenient little boxes,” McCain said. “(The older generation) will never be able to effectively inspire and lead.”
McCain’s appearance was organized by the Tempe Undergraduate Student Government in an effort to bring political awareness to students.
USG Vice President of Services Kaitlin O’Neil said the event offered insight into the world of politics during a time in which the Republican Party is seeking the presidency.
“(USG) really wanted to go in a different direction and bring a political event to students,” O’Neil said. “We decided to bring Meghan McCain because a lot of people are talking about Republicans right now.”
She said McCain is relatable to students as a Republican voice that reflects the student generation.
“We thought it would be interesting for a younger Republican to come and talk about politics in America,” O’Neil said. “I think there’s a lot of people on campus who identify with her rather than her father or the Republican candidates.”
Political science and history sophomore Carmel Dooling said McCain not only appeals to the younger Republican generation, but also represents a broad political demographic.
“She represents a new generation in politics and has more diverse views,” Dooling said. “She crosses boundaries.”
Economics sophomore Alex Theisen said he respected McCain’s insight into the political world.
“I really appreciate getting a chance to hear from someone who has both firsthand experience in the political arena and who has an understanding of the issues that appeal to (students),” Theisen said. “She doesn’t necessarily fit into some of the neat political categories that we sometimes put people into.”
McCain said she wanted to see more movement from the younger generation toward a political climate that embraces freedom.
“Let’s pick up where others have left off,” McCain said. “Join me in challenging the notions of what being a Democrat and being a Republican really means.”
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