Blag…I never learn when I drink. I could have seen the killer hangover brewing from a million miles away. But then again, 10+ hours spent at the same table in the same Irish bar (The New Old Dublin, for the record) is a St. Patties day well spent. Sometimes, spending some quality time with people you love should trump school. At least, that’s what I’ve always felt about life. Time and time again you find the people that lived the most fulfilling lives were also the people who weren’t afraid to take the afternoon off for some quality ‘me time’. Ok, enough justification for my love of SLACK.
Speaking of slackers, I hear the latest SSMU Election Results are in. Regardless of the winners or losers in the race, the cumulative vote was a little over 4000 students, out of an approximate 24,000. That is so shamefully embarassing, I almost want to cry. It’s not like voting is even remotely difficult, all you have to do is click on a link in your damn e-mail! But still, only 17% of us could be bothered to care about our right to vote. Democracy is a beautiful thing, it prevents abuses of power by our leaders by providing a mechanism to hold them accountable for their actions. But someone voted in by a fraction of 17% is by no measure accountable to the people. Given this, people still (laughably) get all confused when the student society does ‘crazy’ stuff, like the whole buisness with the condemnation of the Gaza conflict (but my opinion on that whole mess is not the subject of this post, however). Look, it’s quite simple, if your government is based on only the people who voted, the ‘radical’ sections will be disproportionately represented, and we end of completely ailenating the indifferent majority by representing them like a bunch of nutjobs. There is a severe disconnect between the student society and most people, and we saw that whole thing boil over at the last GA. While the people in charge continued following Robert’s Rules, they were definitely within their constitutional rights as defined by our charter. But the constitution was written by the Bureauocrats of the world (I, for full disclosure am a bureaucrat, grade 33 . Stamp, stamp, stamp, stamp, stamp.), who are empowered by the radicals through the government. It looks like a classic feedback loop to me, but what do I know? All I know is that student apathy is a real pain in the arse.
So, you might be asking, what the hell can we do about it, Mr. Complainey-Pants? I don’t know, but I think the solution will take the form of more dialogue. As student politicians, I think that we have never suffered by making ourselves more approachable and accountable. When people feel the government is there, doing stuff all around them, they are more likely to engage, and maybe even vote (even if that vote is to get the crazies out)! Maybe we need to make the system behind closed doors a little less bureaucratic (perish the thought, I know), so that nobody dreads the next meeting for fear of 45 minutes of arguing over the interpretation of “Bob’s” rules. I’d love to be part of a political community that was interesting and full of people that doesn’t pepper their speech with Wheras, or BIRT’s that leave us wondering what the hell they are even saying anymore, or why we should even listen in the first place. Maybe I’m being cruel and ignoring how it actually is to attack an absurd straw-man. But I’m really scared that 16% turnout is all we can get from our peers.
I’ll leave you with a piece I composed in the midst of a protracted snafu:
Nothing done in all my time.
Why won’t sweet death come?