I never won anything, which most losers can’t claim.
How to lose the MSU Elections
Published in The Silhouette, January 22 2014
Really, I am. I’m sorry that you’re knee-deep in this election, I’m sorry that there’s no backing out now without losing your integrity, and I’m sorry that despite all the helter-skelter, despite the forced smiles, the endless parading around, and the elaborate game of dress up, it’s not enough.
I’m sorry that after everything, you are still going to lose.
I know. I know. Last week I told you how to win the MSU election and so you stormed the MUSC with a wry grin, a heavy handshake, and a campaign with such intricacies that you were a scattershot of soundbits and paper-thin ideas. In some instances, your platform was so specific that it said nothing at all and other times it was so transparent that even you couldn’t see anything substantial about it.
But I also told you that in order to win you needed to lie, and you aren’t doing that exactly. This is not because you follow some grand moral compass or because doing so is simply beyond you; that would be a lie to say in and of itself. Instead in the beginning of all this, dear reader, the only thing that you have provided is the single truth hiding in between the breathes of your speeches, the boldface text of your campaign motto, and the white space of your pamphlets. It is this: one day you will lose. Luckily it happened now.
It may be hard to hear, but at least I’m telling you before the votes come in and you’re with all your friends and your nails are a scratch away from bloody sores and you can imagine yourself there in the MSU Presidential office and you can see all the good you’re doing and everyone seems so happy with you at the helm, and then the votes come in and you lost. Dead last. Congrats.
Truth is emancipating. It is liberating. And it is all you are, all you could have left behind after this madhouse. So be rid of the shackles by embracing these words: here is how to lose the MSU election.
First, don’t change anything. Keep doing you because you is not enough. No matter what you have done, will do, or plan to do, stereotypes will bleed into the debate. You’ll be seen as a white male propagating their privileged agenda, you’ll be described as an arrogant, self-righteous prick, and people will call you a militant feminist as if that were a bad thing. They’ll see you for religious preference. They’ll judge the sound of your voice. They’ll make decisions largely about the clothes you wear.
You’ll fight against it by supporting it: you’ll become anything but what you are – that person who has daily struggles connecting and reorganizing the flurry of lines that intersect your being. You don’t want to damage yourself by exposing your vulnerabilities, so you become a pretender, a momentary image crystallized in a suit, a tie, a dress. You’re a professional and you want everyone to know it, you most of all.
Yet you know that this behaviour is expected all the same, so you have no choice but to tow the line. Complacency works in your favour. In a way, you don’t want people to know that your breath smells in the morning, that your snore could wake Snorlax, or that you once peed your pants in grade five. You want to be relatable but not related; you want to be understandable but not completely understood.
And yet when you lose, you’ll be so awash in whom you pretended to be that you’ll forget who you are. All that will be left is the ghost of the policies that defined you, the slogans that spoke for you, and the colours that embodied you, rather than the other way around.
So please: forgot who you are in pursuit of what you want to be.
Besides, this divide between then and now, between the two people you see yourself being, is what a faceless mass wants. It is what we want. We want an image, rather than a person, and this will be your downfall. Don’t challenge it. Don’t try to change the dialogue to practicality and complexity. We crave the simple and reducible because we are that exactly. We’re a fickle mob with fickle needs; we are no more permanent than our four years here. Most of us just don’t care. We just want to get through the whole thing with our heads down and without rubbing too many elbows on our way in and out of the university’s revolving door.
But you won’t believe that in the electoral hype: the sounds, sights, and senses will confuse you, and you’ll oppose this acquiescence. You’ll give us more credit than we deserve and you’ll be torn apart as a result. Your accessibility will be clawed at again and again and again until we tear you apart. It’ll kill the person who you thought you were, sure, but hey, look at those organs, look at the colours, and look at all that blood.
Don’t worry, though. The MSU is the real loser. Its failings are why you lost in the end. You wanted to fix things. You needed to fix things. And your loss proves how broken things are. Now in your absence, the MSU is going to be in the same mess you wanted to change.
Serves us right, and I’m sorry for that too.