Why vote?

Well, it’s a fair question.

Commenter James says:

I didn’t vote and I’m not going to. Every year the SGA President promises me things in the Breezeway and then never even looks into them. I have no faith in them and neither should you.

I used to feel the same way about politics in general. That changed a couple years ago, when I started becoming more community-minded and as I gradually realized some of the vastly unappreciated complexities involved in leadership roles.

It’s not so much that I have faith in the candidates — I do want them to do well, even if I don’t expect it. It’s more that I have hope in the institution of Student Government. (I’ve always balked at calling it Student Government Association as well, because that makes it sound more like a club, to me.)

The way I see it, our student money — our annual $7+ million in activity and service fees  — is going to get spent with or without SG. There’s an administrative superstructure there to call the shots. And to the greatest degree possible, I want students to have a voice about it: it is our money.

To put it cynically, even if we don’t vote in good leaders, we still vote in mouthpieces and placeholders for a space where students have some power. To the extent we can protect that space by showing support and awareness, we should, even when we’re disappointed with the current crop of people.

In sum: vote even if you don’t like the candidates, because more people involved means more getting done; and, so that when better people come along, there’s still a position where they can effectively do things. The power comes not from the person, but from the collective support behind the person; that was the message and the success of Obama.

If we elect people whom no students support or ever talk to, then we’re just handing our money and our small bit of authority over to the administration. I wonder if my commenter has more faith in the larger bureaucracy than he does in his fellow students.

If you want to share your reasons for voting or not voting, as always, e-mail me.

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4 Responses to “Why vote?”

  1. Manu Ginobli Says:

    regardless of whether or not you vote james, one of the 2 candidates is still going to be elected, and still be paid by YOU, and will still spend YOUR money. Its really simple i think. if you dont like how student government is being run right now then vote for a change, and adversely if you do have confidence in your current leaders then vote them back in. This University is fortunate enough to have two candidates running right now that fit both profiles. Personally i feel its time for a change, so thats how i voted, by not voting your blindly throwing away your money not proving anything to anyone

  2. i agree. If you’ve lost faith in SG then vote in a new Administration. by not voting ur not showing that you’ve “lost faith” in SG, your showing that you’ve lost faith in democracy. just as threes a process for electing leaders, theres a process for removing the in-affective or corrupt ones. it is the duty of every citizen in this nation and student at this University to hold your government accountable for their actions, be that on the national or university level. Mabey if we start doing that here it will discourage candidates who only intend on collecting a title, nice salary, and close parking space from running if they know the students WILL IMPEACH him/her for not following through. to a certain extent of course lets not get crazy, but if this is done effectively it will change SG for the better because we all well know that being removed from office by you peers will look a hell of alot worse than being elected to it. I challenge my fellow students including myself to hold our new student body president, whomever it may be, accountable for their overall leadership because all it will take is one time to send a message to anyone who ever intends on being the future president of this student body, you better be accessible you better be efficient you better listen to us and you better follow through, or WE WILL hold you accountable. I’ll get off my soapbox now, get out there and vote guys.

  3. This is for the author: Way to report those Election Results. Keep it up, you’re doing a great job. You and the whole UP staff are just so timely when it comes to reporting the news. Your uncompromised dedication to the news is reflected in the fine quality of UPOnline.

    Suggestion: “Hush Money” and “Missing Treasure” were the last SG stories worth reading. Check out a copy from your archives and read them- you might learn something about covering SG.

  4. Mr. Drupheo Says:

    Even so, my vote only has a 1/x chance of making a difference, where “x” is the total number of votes. Besides, no matter what I do, I am subjected to something to which I gave no consent.

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