Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things I find interesting about elections

This isn't a comprehensive list, but just some pet peeves and observations.

1.) Candidates promising to lower tuition. You know who you are. Some responses to my pointing this out have been "but it sounds better". I personally call it false advertising- but even if people wanted legitimately to try to lower tuition, it's simply unlikely to happen. Tuition rises every year with cost of inflation, which is to be expected- the university has to cover costs that increase every year. So while people campaign on this point every year, it seems, it's not likely to happen. However, "I promise to prevent tuition from going up by more than cost of inflation" is a mouthful and I guess isn't as appealing.

2.) This is an observation made by a lot of the students I talked to about the debates, so I felt like it deserved a mention. Essentially, it's been observed that candidates who are well-spoken often don't really answer the question or go beyond a kind of script, whereas those who stumble are trying to answer the question honestly instead of sticking to typical responses and buzz words- they try to answer the question honestly instead of pandering to the audience. I have unfortunately not been able to make it to the debates so far, but I can certainly envision this being true. Evidently, this is mostly true of Alex Monegro, who apparently loves buzz words, but has little substance- a statement I feel could be substantiated by his website, which still lacks a platform, but includes catch phrases like "Better access to AMS efforts" as part of his message to students. I can't really offer more substance than that until his platform is up, however. Thoughts? Opinions? Are charismatic leaders better than those with substance? Do people really even care? Have elections boiled down to popularity contests and perceptions of leadership? Discussion? Anyone?

3.) Another observation: all candidates look the same. This goes beyond physical resemblance (and yes, the resemblance between Johann and Alex Lougheed is uncanny). But more importantly, they seem to sound the same. Give and take some knowledge and some differences in platforms, there are no stark contrasts. Last year there were personality differences and general craziness. This year it's sort of like a washed out rainbow. You can sort of see the colours, but you're not quite sure they're there because it looks generally gray.

The list will continue over the course of the election...