Sheridan Votes: No Need to Give a Shit

As today is the final day for voting for your next student government, Sheridan, we take a look at voting and its importance.

As long as there has been democracy, there have been critics. From Plato, to Aristotle, to Machiavelli, philosophers have argued that the common people are unfit, too irrational, too greedy, or not educated enough to govern themselves. The ideal government, to them, is one that has the least amount of involvement of its citizens.

These political thinkers would be proud if they could see Sheridan College today. Last year, 90% of students resisted the urge to give a damn in the last election, reducing the electorate down to a manageable 10%.  After all, government works best as an elite, when leaders are properly insulated from popular pressures. Given that today’s students are the next generation of citizens, this bodes well for the future of Canadian politics.

Learning about candidates, following political issues raised during the election, and even casting the ballot all rightfully take a backseat to Facebook, sports, and, well, just about anything that isn’t politics. Let’s meet some of these exemplars of apathy here at Sheridan, doing their best to resist the temptation to get involved and interested in the future of their school.

We can only hope that apathy and laziness continue to grow in the student body, as these trends provide some hope for the future.

Meet Natasha and her friend Tracy (names have been changed to protect their identity). Both are quiet, unassuming first year students, hanging out by their locker, waiting for class to start.  When asked what they thought about the upcoming Student Union election, they exchanged glances and said, “Nothing.”

Pure nothing. No feelings, opinions, or interest. But Natasha and Tracy are not alone in their views. Of all the students I talked to, not one was interested in the election. None of them had voted before at Sheridan, nor did they plan on voting this year.

One second year advertising student could not be bothered to stop flipping through websites and playing with his mouse while I interviewed him about the elections. When I asked what he thought the voter turnout rate was for last year’s student elections, he guessed about 60%. As long as we have the appearance of student involvement, then there really is no need for students to actually vote.

And why should they bother with student elections anyways? After all, the demands upon a student’s time and abilities are simply way too high. Just look at all the ridiculously complicated and exhausting activities involved in student elections:

  1. First you need to wake up in the morning and come to school. And while you may be tempted to use online voting, this involves a lot of mouse clicking and thinking, and most students are way too busy with updating their Facebook status to do this.
  2. Read posters. This is tough because you’re required to read, and there is no mark incentive like in your classes.
  3. Think about the candidates and the issues they raise.  Not only do you have to remember someone’s name, you have to consider the position they’re running for, and the issues they bring up.
  4. Find a voting booth and get in line.  This is a big waste of time as it could take as long as 7 minutes to complete this task.  And worst of all, someone might see you in line and think you actually might care about the school. How tragic.
  5. Use a pencil and mark your opinion.  This is tricky because you’re not sure what to do.  Do you mark the box, or do you scribble in the margin?  And using a pencil could alienate a lot of students who do not use pencils on a regular basis.
  6. Cast your ballot!  You have to fold the paper and make sure it fits into the slot.  And if it doesn’t, you have to do some cramming.  And you have to do it personally; you can’t send your mom to do it for you.

Clearly the candidates and other members of the radical democratic minority here at Sheridan have unrealistic expectations. We can only hope that apathy and laziness continue to grow in the student body, as these trends provide some hope for the future. If we can reduce voter turnout even more, then we can ensure that elections are won by the proper methods, such as promising a beer to you closest friends and classmates.

For that matter, even reading this article may be a sign of dangerous levels of interest in politics. Isn’t it time you go and tweet about your newest haircut? I’m already on it.


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