Sing the anthem. Raise the flag. Do, uh, a salute or whatever.
Because in a week’s time, McMaster will be host to pageantry a year in the making. With shades of incandescent green and eyesore yellow, MUSC will look less like a dirty zoo and more like a colourful, dirty zoo. Election campaigns will parade into classes in order to win the votes of people who don’t know an election is going on, who couldn’t name the current president of the MSU, and who are wondering if they are in the right class in the first place. Cheers will hiccup across campus, songs will blare, and the world will revolve around the halls of McMaster, if only for a few people.
But in between the screams and badgering, the prodding to vote for one candidate over another, some of you won’t share the buzz on campus. You’ll instead feel like you are but a piece on an indiscriminate checkers board, a vote who is drowning in competing ideas, and though you are you, you alone is not important enough.
Let’s do something about that gnawing apathy. Let’s make you fight against it all by becoming it all: Let’s run for the MSU Presidentials together.
I know, I know. Why would you want to do that? You don’t know jack shit about jack shit, talking to people turns you into an unsettling, sweaty mess, and besides, look at you: you’re a meat-wagon wrapped in unwashed sweatpants, a mustard-stained t-shirt, and your hair is a knot even a Scout hasn’t seen.
But that’s the point: you often convince yourself you’re a loser already – the blemish of mustard is your proof – and the first way to sweep the Presidentials is knowing that it takes losing in order to win. Luckily, you’re already half way there.
Next is your platform, or more importantly, the lack thereof. In a few weeks time, no one will care what you say. There will be no accountability or follow-up. You’ll win, you’ll spend a year waffling around, and boom, just as you’re about to pick a pen because someone shuffled outside your office door, you’ll be off doing something else with your resume padded nicely.
So promise only the very absurd. Promise big, grand things. Promise gold, qualify that you meant silver, and give nothing but dirt.
The next step is simple: smile everywhere. The shower? Smile. A photograph? Smile. Pooping? Smile. You need to convince everyone that with pearly whites that look like heaven’s Pearl Gates, you’re happy, even and perhaps especially, when you shit.
I’ll admit that your face will find itself constipated more often than not, and you might not be able to find reasons to grin. You’re unhappy after all; that’s why you’re going to be knee-deep in this election in the first place – you want to change things to make them better for yourself and others, you want people to depend on you, and you want to belong to something greater than yourself.
Yet these elections will wear you out. You’ll be exhausted. And with all the people around you vying for your attention, with all the banners and speeches and impossible demands, you’ll feel lonely even though you might not be alone.
But this emptiness in a world that seems so full of life is not trivial because the next step in winning these MSU elections is being able to lie. Throughout the snafu, you’ll need to string together mendacities that convince others and yourself most of all. People will say, “Your campaign colour is blue; isn’t that depressing.” And you’ll reply, “Is it?” They’ll say, “It is.” You’ll say, “Isn’t the world gray, though? Aren’t things never black and white?” And the person will clap and you’ll be victorious in a few weeks and then you’ll think back and remind yourself that you don’t actually know if things are black or white. You were lying. You are lying. You have become a lie.
Remember, though, that you’re going to be the next MSU president. It’s a sacrifice in order to help, right? You’re willing to forgo truth if it means that others can have it eventually. You’re a hero. A god damn saint. And in the next year, you’ll be our leader.
So here’s my, uh, salute or whatever we do here, President.
Photo: last year’s presidential pub night. c/o Myles Frances, The Silhouette