These past weeks, my Facebook feed has been plagued by USG campaign posts. It’s understandable, given the potential social media has these days to spread a political message. The other day, I stumbled across a post that threw me into total confusion. The candidate posted a picture stating: “In this class, we believe Black Lives Matter; women’s rights are human rights; no human being is illegal; science is real; love is love; kindness is everything,” followed by a ___ for Class President. The candidate also posted about “programming that includes celebration of and education on our diversity; ensuring everything is considerate of religious and cultural needs.”
People certainly seemed to love it — it received nearly 100 likes. Granted, these were not politically extreme statements, but there’s still something political in them. I’m not here to argue about whether I agree or disagree with the statements. But there’s just no need to politicize something that is inherently apolitical.
What do I mean by this? Despite having the title “president,” despite having the word “government,” this position has absolutely nothing to do with national politics. USG candidates are glorified social event organizers who connect our class to the administration, and that’s it. The only government aspect of it all is that these candidates are elected — but please, enough with the “diverse and inclusive community” narrative. Enough with this illusion of “building more class unity.” This may come as a huge surprise, but hosting ice cream social events and giving away free gear will not change our campus culture to a large extent.
I do recognize, however, the position of class president represents being a mediator between the class and the University — a degree of responsibility that I do not deny. But the position they're running for will not allow them to turn this campus into the close-knit and politically correct wonderland they so much desire, so there’s no need to politicize it.
The funniest part is when the candidate talks about making the class more inclusive and then brings politics into it. Newsflash: politics are inherently divisive. I’m going to go on a limb here and guarantee that there might be some students on this campus who don’t actually agree with the “Black Lives Matter” movement. This “class unity” and “inclusiveness” concept is hypocrisy at its finest — but hey, anything for the votes, right? Still, most of this campus is liberal, and people will eat up any blank political statements that follow the modern liberal narrative.
So once again, why bring politics into it? It baffles me. It might almost seem paradoxical at first, but USG should be the most far-removed entity from politics on this campus. We have Whig-Clio to objectively debate and further the political discussion, but this should never be the aim of USG. If, as they claim, their aim is to represent the class, politicizing a campaign does the total opposite.
We live in a superficial age. We only care about the way things appear or the way things sound, but behind it all, it’s painfully empty. There’s just no substance there, no real truth to it. This is best embodied in the language used in USG campaigns. Throw in the words “unity,” “diversity,” and “inclusive” and they've got a viable campaign platform, as simple as that. I personally would prefer if they'd cut to it directly: if there were a campaign that simply claimed, “I will get you free gear,” and nothing else, then I would vote for them immediately.
I ask USG candidates: Stop decorating your campaign with flowery political language to garner votes. Despite the likes you may get on Facebook, I guarantee you that everyone can see through it. At this rate, the only aspect that is truly political about these campaigns is their vapid campaign slogans. I, for one, have had enough of it.
Jan Domingo Alsina is a freshman from Princeton, N.J. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.