Teen told to 'burn' for McCain T-shirt
Peers call 8th grader 'stupid,' say she should be 'killed' for supporting Republican
Posted: November 13, 2008
10:30 pm Eastern
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
When a 14-year-old girl wore a "McCain girl" T-shirt to school, students told her she should be "crucified" or "burned" for supporting the Republican – but when she wore an Obama T-shirt, everyone complimented her.
Illinois 8th grader Catherine Vogt's mother supported Obama, while her father supported McCain. The teen conducted an experiment to test tolerance among her peers and teachers, the Chicago Tribune reported. But she was surprised by their strong reactions.
Vogt began the experiment by wearing a white T-shirt with "McCain girl" painted in red across the front to Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School in Oak Park. She wrote her observations in a journal.
"I was just really curious how they'd react to something that different, because a lot of people at my school wore Obama shirts and they are big Obama supporters," Catherine told the Chicago Tribune. "I just really wanted to see what their reaction would be."
The students were openly hostile, criticizing her support for McCain.
"People were upset," Vogt said. "But they started saying things, calling me very stupid, telling me my shirt was stupid and I shouldn't be wearing it."
The harsh words didn't stop there.
"One person told me to go die," she said. "It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed."
Even Vogt's teachers chimed in.
"In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported McCain," the teen said. "Later, that teacher found out about the experiment and said she was embarrassed because she knew I was writing down what she said."
One boy said Vogt should be killed for wearing the T-shirt.
"He said, 'You should be crucifixed,'" she told the Tribune. "It was kind of funny because, I was like, don't you mean 'crucified?'"
Classmates told Vogt she deserved to be "burned with her shirt on" for "being a filthy-rich Republican," while others accused her of backing homicidal skinheads who sought to kill Obama by supporting McCain.
Vogt never said a word about her experiment. She let the comments continue and carefully recorded each one.
"I couldn't show people really what it was for," she told the Tribune. "I really kind of wanted to laugh because they had no idea what I was doing."
Few students complimented her on the McCain T-shirt, and when one did, the girl discretely pulled her aside and whispered, "I really like your shirt."
The next day, Vogt decided to complete her experiment by wearing an identical white T-shirt to school – but this time it had the blue words "Obama girl" painted on the front.
"People liked my shirt. They said things like my brain had come back, and I had put the right shirt on today," she told the Tribune.
A few students were confused about Vogt's loyalties.
"A lot of people liked it," she said. "But some people told me I was a flip-flopper. They said, 'You can't make up your mind. You can't wear a McCain shirt one day and an Obama shirt the next day.' "
When Vogt used her findings to write a report, her history teacher, Norma Cassin-Pountney, gave her extra credit.
When a Chicago Tribune reporter asked Cassin-Pountney why Obama supporters would hassle Vogt in a community filled with people who pride themselves on their "tolerance," the teacher said she held a discussion about it after the experiment was completed.
"I said, here you are, promoting this person [Obama] that believes we are all equal and included, and look what you've done?" the teacher said. "The students were kind of like, 'Oh, yeah.' I think they got it."
Vogt said the criticism was difficult to handle when she showed support for McCain.
"Just being on the outside, how it felt, it was not fun at all."