Volume 94, Issue 82
Tuesday, February 27, 2001
Party politics and drinking presidents
The high school drama of the University Students' Council presidential election is finally behind us, but what have we learned from this surreal experience?
Lesson One: The USC is beginning to be ruled by the party system.
In the fall, it was the Student Justice Coalition. And where that bunch of socialists failed, Team Lawless overwhelmed the competition. Numbering somewhere between 30 and 110, depending on who you believe, the sea of blue was tough to miss and apparently even tougher to beat.
And when all is considered, wouldn't a party system make more sense? If USC-ers want to play politics, let's at least make the game a little more realistic.
Instead of seven candidates running on virtually the same catch-phrases and vague ideas, let's open the floor to political parties and associations. Let the kids form political parties with their own unique identities. Combine the vice-presidential and presidential elections, allow parties to run "slates" of candidates, and let's start playing under some realistic ground rules.
Lesson Two: Take by-law #2, the infamous elections by-law, and use it to house-train the dog.
Penalizing people for illegal use of campaign posters is apparently supposed to maintain fairness, but guess what? Politics ain't fair. Candidates shouldn't have to worry about a bag tag being seen two minutes after the allotted campaign period has ended.
You think Jean Chrétien and Joe Clark play by such asinine rules? If it doesn't require the involvement of the London Police or the Mounties, it should be fair game. If the USC-ers want to pretend they're real politicians, treat them like real politicians.
Lesson Three: Forums are completely useless.
The total non-campaign team, non-USC, non-media related attendance of this year's forums was about 26, give or take. Undecided votes were almost completely non-existent. These forums served only to give your beloved journalists something to do, instead of going home and watching Survivor. But I'm not bitter.
The USC has two choices cut the number of forums to about four or find some magical way to get the seats filled. Something tells me it might make more sense to just cut the number of forums.
Lesson Four: Do not allow defeated presidents to consume copious amounts of alcohol.
While getting drunk after losing is a bit of a USC presidential election ritual getting drunk and accosting the fine people at TV Western while you still have two months to serve as president may be seen as somewhat embarrassing. The videotape of our current president storming the TV Western stage should be required viewing at tomorrow's USC meeting.
Lesson Five: Last but not least, future candidates should demonstrate extreme caution before deciding to run for the big chair.
Ryan Windsor, Geoff Greenall and Tin Maung Htoo did not have a prayer from the get go. It takes a great deal of courage to subject yourself to the scrutiny of any election, but it also takes a large amount of research, planning and preparation to make yourself a worthy candidate. If you have a message to get across or a cause to promote, don't waste students' time using the USC presidential elections as a sounding board.
There are much more relevant, efficient ways of expressing yourself. For any proof of this, just look at the aforementioned candidates' vote counts.
With that said, it's finally over at least until next year. It may not have been fun, entertaining, or the least bit inspiring, but you can't say it wasn't educational.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000