The Theatrics of Student Politics…

Posted: August 18, 2009 in Politics
Daystar University students recently went to the polls to select their new team of Daystar University Students Association (DUSA) officials. Like with any election period, the air was heavy with expectations and promises were plentiful in the form of pledges from interested parties.

Every year the campaign methods and tactics become interestingly varied. More significantly the posters keep getting bigger and bolder with all sorts of overbearing font types and colour. The university grounds are literally abuzz with activity. There emerge groups of ardent supporters who make it their business to promote their choice of leader using all sorts of unorthodox means. Normally quiet bus rides are occasionally disrupted by aspirants’ disturbance of peace by momentarily shooting up from their seats and proceeding to remind the occupants of their now so familiar policies. Food is not the only thing consumed at mealtimes; the aspirants’ strategies and guiding principles are shoved down the electorate’s throats! Every single turn one takes there is an all too eager aspirant waiting to remind you that the future depends upon you voting in their favour. Even more imposing are the door-to-door campaigns off campus where aspirants and their publicity managers show up unannounced in the middle of dinner time and demand an audience going on and on about how they can make students’ life better.

While there is nothing off beam about campaigning, it is the method and the motives that are moot. A group of energetic and mouthy supporters going round campus chanting praise songs about their choice of leader are bound to be noticed more by the electorate as opposed to the quiet and modest supporters. Students seem to respond more to theatrics and drama than they do old fashioned speeches in the assembly hall. As long as there are raised voices, a bit of mudslinging and open discrediting of the administration and rivals then they are more than motivated to vote. And vote they will; for the most popular individual. The individual who is outspoken and aggressive in every sense of the word is often deemed fit to take up the role of “the administration’s worst nightmare”. They trust that their choice will not be cowed by the policy makers just because he/she exhibited a lot pride and overconfidence in their speech and their mannerisms during the campaign period. The soft-spoken and less articulate aspirant is often dismissed as “too soft for the job”.

The Daystar University electorate has been brainwashed into equating leadership capabilities to outward attributes. Such attributes as height, manner of dressing, gait, score on the popularity meter and speech pattern are inconsequential where management skills are concerned. Unfortunately, they still feature when students are mulling over such important decisions as choosing student representatives; leaders who will govern them for an entire academic year and influence their lives directly.

It is time students put a lot more thought into the voting process and give it the significance and value it deserves. Let us not allow ourselves to be sidetracked by the eccentric spectacles and thrill but rather focus on the goal; to select a team that will not only act in truthfulness and diligence but that will reflect true servant leadership, a trait that Daystar University so jealously guards.

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