If you want a sticker, take a walk down Business Row — especially if it’s your fastest route to class — because I guess it will leave you with no other choice. Either way, you won’t make it off campus without at least 50 of them being thrown at you every day. It seems that some people gratefully accept them. I’ve seen many people walking around like five-star generals, including many who — given their enthusiasm about giving me a sticker — are campaigning for their friends. But I cannot help but wonder whether their allegiances actually lie with the name on the sticker in their outstretched hands or whether they are just much more fond of stickers than I.
What are the values displayed by this style of campaigning? I feel as though the types of relationships given value here are best described as a wide and shallow pool. The more people you cursorily know — the more people you can hand out stickers to, to try to get them to vote — the better. The more people you can get to give an endorsement for someone they know via exposure to sticky pieces of plastic and big signs to other people they know — even better.
I like giving the benefit of the doubt. I want to think that these ticket-givers are extroverts who are devoted to their friends and that this devotion is the only part of the whole personality election process that is taken this seriously. If you question the degree of seriousness to which this devotion is taken, let me ask you: Would you stand out in Mississippi heat to hand out stickers to strangers, most of whom will either blow you off or just refuse or forget to vote? I know I wouldn’t.
This is coming across as though I’m against fun or school events — I’m not. I enjoy football games, and I really don’t mind the signs and the energy on Business Row. It gives the whole place a nice air of commotion, which is great for people-watching. However, my problem with the campaigning is the fakeness of it all. When was the last time your orientation leader talked to you? When was the last time anyone said anything in your freshman GroupMe that you forgot you were still in? I bet it was this past week. Remember her from summer college? Well, here she is right now, stickers in hand, smiling at you from the other side of the street like a Siren just begging you to take a sticker.
Campaigners with big, bright smiles, speaking only in imperatives, familiar greetings and “Don’t worry, I’ll send the links,” abound. Sure, maybe voting takes about 30 seconds. Maybe I don’t even have to vote — I just have to say I will. Maybe I can keep throwing stickers away or just plain refusing them. Maybe I genuinely like some of the people running and think they deserve it and want them to win. All of this could be true, but at the end of the day, I really just don’t want a sticker. They just really want to give me one.
Logan Scott is a freshman majoring in film production from Madison.