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Rick Santorum 'Snob' Comment About Going to College Engulfs His Campaign Like a Daytona 500 Crash

Rick Santorum ignited a fire this weekend just as bad as the flames from any NASCAR crashes at this week’s Daytona 500.

With two crucial states up for grabs, one would think the Catholic candidate would stay clear of critiquing a vital voter base, students in higher education institutions. Like wannabe NASCAR fans who think the Daytona 500 is the only race worth watching every year, young voters tend to miss out on the state primaries, but show up to presidential elections and supporting the candidates that flatter them with comments about how they’ll benefit their generation. Obama was the lead car in 2008, with a message of hope that scored him the presidency.

Santorum takes the opposite approach, critiquing college students in this demographic. “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum said in Michigan on Saturday. “What a snob.”     

He also referred to colleges as places of indoctrination and where young Christians lose their faith.

You know the statistic that at least I was familiar with from a few years ago, I don't know if it still holds true but I suspect it may even be worse,” said Santorum, “that 62% of kids who enter college with some sort of faith commitment leave without it.”

As a young voter with similarities to Santorum’s upbringing, I applaud him for taking the chance to speak against the status quo. However, at the rate he’s going, I don’t know if my vote can help him. I grew up under the same Catholic religion in a NASCAR, George W. Bush-loving town. I left the safety of my conservative home for a cosmopolitan, incredibly liberal college. But behold Santorum, after three years of listening to professors preach about how wonderful universal health care and gay marriage are, I am still a college Republican that goes to church every Sunday.

I’ve had struggles with my faith, but not to the point of abandoning it like some of my high school classmates who attended community colleges, or just decided to skip out on higher education. Despite coming from religious families, those classmates traded their Christian upbringing for alcohol and drugs, and in several cases, became unwed mothers. MTV shows like Teen Mom and Caged like to point this out, but more professionally, research by the Social Science Research Council also shows that those not attending college tend to abandon their religious affiliations.

Addressing the assumption that college students spend four years acting capriciously, while correct to an extent, is not enough. Students absorb the indoctrination of their professors who claim they’re just teaching them to think “from a different perspective,” while the high school graduate looks for something to give his life meaning. A lack of faith during young adulthood can happen to everyone, regardless of whether or not they go to higher education.

NASCAR drivers don’t attempt to take the lead early, they wait to speed up at the very end. Santorum can’t lose young voters so soon in this race. But if he keeps addressing them like this, that might help Romney to solidify his lead for the long run.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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