How a group of people reacts under pressure says a lot about its collective character, motivation and spirit. If you want to see the true colours of each team in the USC election I challenge you to examine each one’s reaction to the news of the election invalidation. After dealing with the initial annoyance of discovering that the initial vote had been compromised I couldn’t help but smile about the absolute absurdity of the entire situation. What else could any of us do other than throw up our hands and laugh a little bit. The USC did everything that it could to make sure that all of us were kept in the loop about the situation and ultimately they weren’t any happier than all of the candidates were.
When I first heard the news my mind went immediately to the people who I would tell first about the vote hack. The reactions that I imagined were not ones of immense grief or of vicious anger, they were reactions that would altogether capture the absurdity of the circumstances. My Dad provided me with the first of these reactions, via speaker phone, in his car, on his way in from Orillia for the results show. His loud sigh and wry chuckle just about summed up my own reaction and set the stage for how I knew the rest of my team would react to the news. No one was going to cry, no one was going to break down and no one was going to go on an angry tirade because, surprise, USC Presidential elections should not and do not define people as individuals. I knew that I wasn’t going to lose their support because of a re-vote. I knew that they believed in the ideas that we collectively stood for and that they would be just as ready to go, after Reading Week, as they were before. That’s the beauty of building a campaign based on something more than just a cult of personality. Yes, electing a USC President is about choosing an individual to lead a student organization, but it is also about looking inside yourself and deciding what it is that you want to stand for. I knew that our campaign would last through Reading Week and beyond because it was based in something far more profound than platform points and catchy slogans. We have not and will never be willing to win at all costs. If we lose this election because we stopped short of creating a cult, stopped short of name calling and refused to resort to personal attacks then that’s okay by me and I know that it’s okay by all of our supporters. When you base your identity in something more than the title of USC President you realize that there are beliefs that you just can’t compromise and ideals that you just can’t sacrifice for electoral gain. If there is one thing that I ask you to consider as we enter the re-vote phase of the 2012 USC Elections, it is whether you are voting for a candidate who believes in something more than just becoming President. Ask yourself whether you are voting for a candidate that attacks issues, not personalities and ask yourself if you think that the President you are planning to elect will let you stand for the things that you believe in.
Let’s prove to anyone who doubts us, that Western students are willing to comeback stronger than before and let’s elect a USC President that isn’t afraid to admit that its about more than just getting elected.