George Jean Nathan, the famous American drama critic once famously remarked that, “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”, and as we begin again the annual tradition of electing the new BUSU executives, it’s a quote worth considering. It seems that year in and year out there are students who will complain to no end about how they don’t like the executives of the students’ union, that they are selfish, resume builders who abandon their platforms and promises made during the election and forget everything they ran on.
While this is apt to happen, as it is at any level of government, there is little denying that the real fault lies as the quote above states. When there is a lack of interest from the voters, it is then that the less than desirable officials are elected. I have heard it often said that not voting makes a statement, and I agree, it makes a statement that you don’t care. In the Western tradition, voting is the bedrock of democracy and despite the imperfections of the system, at present it’s the best system we have available.
Even if you don’t believe in any of the candidates’ visions in a specific race, (or even any candidates at all) click the link and spoil your ballot. I can recall every election I have ever voted in, and on occasion I have spoiled my ballot, why? I believe in the principle that voting is a privilege, that one too many of us take for granted. As the world has sadly continued to show us, democracy and the voting tradition are not a given right. Beyond that spoiling your ballot says something, it says that you want to vote but the options need to be better, and that sends a message to the candidates, the voters and the entire Brock University community.
If there is anything worth trying to empress it is this, that there is a tremendous amount of power nestled at your fingertips as you paw over endless YouTube videos, Reddit feeds and Buzzfeed articles, so do something with it. There are people who will argue that one vote doesn’t make a difference and that it can’t change an election, and those people are those I prefer to call wrong. In my time I have seen elections where the margin of victory is less than fifteen votes, so one vote in that instance could do a hell of a lot. To put that another way, the average margin of victory is somewhere around 300 votes, which out of all eligible undergraduate voters (approximately 15,500) represents about 1.9 percent, so how then can it be said that the few don’t have the power to change history?
Read the platform points, check out the flyers, talk to the candidates as they line the halls of South Block with their booths. Do anything you can to get informed and make your vote count for the type of BUSU, for the type of Brock you want in the future.
To those of you sitting behind a computer right now, do something about it, take ten seconds and make a difference. Vote with your fingers, instead of with your feet. I’ll end my piece of the same way I started it, with a quote, and ask you to consider what the American Alice Walker so quipped, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
*** Christopher Yendt is the Chair of the BUSU Board of Directors