It’s campaign season on campus again. Some might say, “Again?”
Yep, folks, the gigantic, colorful signs are back up in front of the Union.
Once more we are to be accosted by people and their deluge of stickers and flyers and buttons and whatnot.
Their pleas for us to support their particular candidate are shouted at us as we attempt to get through our day and attend our classes. The thing is that all this campaign paraphernalia adds up to a whole lot of nothing.
The various campaigns are filled with empty words that include the candidate’s name and maybe a snappy slogan, something like “I support Larry!” or “Sandra Rules!”
I guess those aren’t really the problem, these isolated pieces of support.
The problem is that no one actually knows what the candidates care about, not everyone can attend a debate or go to a meet-and-greet and these elections become more of a popularity contest based on retweets and image uploads on Facebook and Twitter.
This becomes evermore clear when we are handed a flyer with a list of the candidate’s majors, minors, GPA, volunteer work, campus activities and awards.
His or her campaign isn’t about why he or she is running in the first place and how he or she will make the campus and university better. It’s almost as if the people who run have finally hit that certain number of accolades and so they are entitled to a position in student government.
This shouldn’t be acceptable to us.
We should demand more from our candidates and not base our vote on who has the largest network of friends on campus.
I was the most troubled when I watched a campaign ad for Gregory Alston yesterday.
I don’t know Mr. Alston, and I’m sure he’s a qualified candidate and a super nice guy; however, his ad told me nothing about how he is going to better our community. It was a series of Ole Miss athletes practicing or training for their individual sports and ended with a few of the athletes saying, “I am an Ole Miss Rebel, and I am for Gregory Alston.”
Again, Mr. Alston is just an example, but wouldn’t that one minute and 27 seconds be better served telling me about what the candidate is bringing to the table? I understand that you have a bunch of athletes behind you and that you’re running for president of the ASB, but that’s all that I gain from that commercial.
This isn’t a problem of any individual candidate, but it is a problem of what we have come to accept as the constituency of the ASB.
There is only one way to resolve this: to tell our candidates that they do not deserve a position based on activities and accolades, but on the ideas that will help the student body that they can bring to fruition.
Otherwise, these elections are just pageants.
Phil McCausland is an English senior from Carlisle, Pa. Follow him on Twitter @PhillMcCausland.