Fear and loathing on the (post-) campaign trail
Last Wednesday night, high on democratic idealism and the intoxicating scent of power, I announced my candidacy for Student Union as a write-in candidate. I have no experience, and I tend to roll my eyes at everything Student Union does. Right now, that position is in election limbo because I managed to tie with one other person. Democracy, ladies and gents.
It turns out that to win the Arts & Sciences Senate seat that completely lacked a candidate, only 10 votes were necessary. I garnered nine, as did one other candidate, Rohan Samarth. Incredibly, I got more votes than both Bristol Palin and penis (combined!), something of an accomplishment given how popular both of those entities are on campus. Amazingly, the art school’s election was even more farcical, with eight people tying for the one open seat, each garnering one vote apiece.
Had I voted for myself instead of Nate Silver (a girl can dream, can’t she?), I would’ve won outright. Let this be a two-fold civics lesson to you: 1) Always vote for yourself. The world is harsh. 2) The rhetoric that “every vote counts” is not as big a load of crap as you might assume. Given that I decided to run at the last minute on a platform that encourages allocating all of the budget to a group that makes its own butter and protecting the rights of the vertically challenged, I was pretty much the most extreme candidate running (not counting Bristol Palin). If you don’t vote, the crazies and extremists will win.
Actually, I could still win. The tie-breaking process, which is not specified in the SU constitution for some reason, turns out to allow ArtSci Council to appoint someone to the seat. Yes, there is an ArtSci Council, and yes, it does things, even though it appears it has not updated its website since my freshman year (for reference, I’m a senior). I found out about this process, as well as the fact that I was still in the running, secondhand; no one on the SU election committee bothered to call, email or telegraph me about either the results of the election or the nature of the suspiciously undemocratic tie-breaker process.
Due to my deep-seated sense of civic responsibility, if ArtSci Council appoints me, I’ll give up that extra three hours a week that would otherwise be spent painting my nails and practicing omphaloskepsis. Given that my original platform was nigh impossible to implement (WUChurn doesn’t really need $2.6 million. Then again, what’s more American than butter?), it’s probably for the best if I modify it. My new goals include: 1) quash any and all mention of a plastic bag ban and 2) increase SU transparency. While I was originally running as a joke, I’m now horrified enough with the way this election has been handled to want to serve in SU.
This election cycle has been marked by a mutual lack of not giving a darn. As you probably don’t know, there was a special election last Monday to place block funding on the fall 2012 SU election ballot. In sum, 16.6 percent of the eligible voting population cast a vote. The special election was not well-publicized for whatever reason (not even meriting a mention in the “What SUp at Wash. U.” email). Given that SU public relations didn’t even make a good-faith effort to publicize the special election, which seems just a tad shady, I’m going to make the obligatory reference to Watergate. It’s AP style or something.
Now that that’s over with, I’ll just ask, what’s going on with Student Union?