Mid-term elections parallel that of student government’s

At this moment, the students challenged with the task of electing a new slate of Student Government Association executive officers. These candidates state their platform positions, listen to our needs and wants and expose us to various forms of agenda-driven advertisements, all in the hope that we will elect them to represent the MSU student body. Similarly, in Texas and around the country, political candidates are employing related behaviors and strategies to draw citizens’ votes for the upcoming mid-term elections.

I bring this up because there are non-trivial parallels between the SGA campaign and the upcoming mid-term campaigns. More importantly, though, is that if we recognize and understand these parallels we can avoid voting for bad or unfaithful leadership.

For instance, during the first SGA debate, both presidential candidates expressed a commitment to transparency among SGA and student senators. Likewise, in political elections outside our campus, candidates habitually promise more openness and accountable to their constituents. Unfortunately, because promises like “being more transparent” are repeatedly brought up, they’ve largely been rendered meaningless – no one really knows what it means.

While we should be appreciative that candidates broach these issue, we shouldn’t accept them in the abstract. When candidates make recurring promises – those that come up every election cycle – we ought to urge them to give specifics and distinguish themselves from past candidates who made similar promises.

Another comparison that can be drawn between the SGA campaign and other political campaigns is the use of, and subsequent reliance on, platitudes to avoid concrete policy positions. When listening to candidates, you’ll often hear calls for unity or appeals that all our problems would be lessened if we stay “stronger together.” Anytime you hear those or other types of clichés in place of policy, red flags should immediately be raised.

The reason most candidates like to use platitudes instead of policy is because it allows them cover. They either don’t have a clear vision or are afraid of being held responsible for the positions they take. Neither is acceptable for the power and authority candidates are given. As a student body, and as future mid-term and general election voters, our job is to push candidates beyond glib slogans towards substantive ideas. The consequences are too great to act otherwise.

I believe the candidates running for SGA want to make changes that better our university; and I, possibly naively, believe that political candidates running for mid-term seats truly want to make fruitful changes to our society. Therefore, whether on a campus level or on a state level, it is important to seriously vet candidates’ ideas, and insist they give as many policy specifics as possible. Make every effort to understand the parallels between these two seemingly disparate campaigns, then make judicious conclusions about their legitimacy. The course of our country, state and even campus depend on it.