Last year’s General Elections saw the rise of the first independent candidate to be elected as president of the University Student Government, a break in the otherwise conventional partisan elections in a number of ways.
What others would do only if backed by numerous supporters and a practiced chorus, one candidate did armed with just a whiteboard marker and a clear vision of what he wanted to happen for the student body. When political parties seemed to believe that the way to reach voters was by increasing the volume of their speeches, one candidate did by increasing his proximity with the people he wanted to converse with.
The political scene in the University has become so removed from the students that many aspiring student leaders fail to connect with the very people they are striving to serve. In a battle over who has more supporters, better campaign materials and louder cheers, it seems easy to forget the fact that these political parties were once built on ideas too important not to fight for.
For organizations that go such great lengths to deliver their message to the student body, it’s a wonder these political parties are taking so long to figure it out. There is so much time and concern dedicated to making outside factors meet established tradition that it’s easy to overlook the basics of what makes a solid platform and a good candidate. Forms sans substance are nothing but decoration, just as good packaging without an actual product is hollow no matter what you do with it.
A political system that values tradition over rationality, marketability over character and pomp over genuine service doesn’t serve the purpose of governance, and it’s starting to show.
Perhaps Lasallians are tired of being treated like potential ballots instead of actual human beings. Perhaps proud political parties have lost their credibility in a time where politics has become such a dirty word among those who refuse to participate. Perhaps voters are becoming tired of choosing the lesser evil between two increasingly similar choices.
And perhaps before claiming that the biggest problem of the student body is a pervading sense of apathy among voters during elections season, it might be better for all parties concerned to ascertain whether all the effort placed into matching outfits, synchronized speeches and rallying cries are genuinely for the students’ benefit.