Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Informed voters equal better SGA

Many Americans (probably) suffer from geniophobia, a fear of chins. However, their fear was apparently not enough to keep huge chin-owner extraordinaire Jay Leno from returning to his late-night time slot.

While Leno’s monologue may leave much to be desired, one segment regularly featured on “The Tonight Show” is actually pretty interesting. “Jaywalking” features ordinary citizens from Los Angeles being asked questions of varying difficulty about current events, world politics and other prominent affairs.

Most interviewees cannot differentiate the U.S. House of Representatives from the International House of Pancakes.

While “Jaywalking” is meant to be humorous, it makes Los Angeles look like a city full of uninformed buffoons. Unfortunately, this image seems to have spread throughout the U.S., and some politicians are beginning to assume Americans have no actual knowledge of important issues.

Solution? Make empty promises about party-line issues instead of tackling real problems with tangible solutions.

Admittedly, politics is a tricky business. A candidate for political office (hopefully) wants to make a positive impact upon the lives of his or her constituents.

On the other hand, it does not mean anything unless the candidate gets elected. Politicians have to form their platforms based upon what voters in their party want to hear, not necessarily upon what is actually feasible.

If political candidates do not do this, they not only risk losing an election, but damaging their reputation. This is not only true of politics at the national and state levels, but also at the University.

In case you have not noticed the growing amount of chalk dust accumulating on your shoes, SGA election season is upon the Capstone. The University is unique compared to some universities in that our Student Government Association is directly involved in campus decision-making.

On other campuses, the student government president is purely a symbolic figurehead. Here, our votes actually impact the day-to-day affairs of campus. Rather than the Republican-Democrat debate that dominates national and state elections, the divide at UA is between greek and non-greek.

Year after year, numerous campaign-related columns are printed in The Crimson White (bandwagon-joiner, party of one).

Too many of these columns focus on candidates’ affiliation with the greek system (or lack thereof) rather than important campus issues. It seems that UA students have lost sight of what is at stake in the annual SGA elections.

This year I am proposing a radical change in the way many students vote: Vote based upon – you better sit down for this one – the issues.

Did “Pasadenagate” cast doubt upon the integrity of the SGA? Concerned about a candidate’s lack of executive experience in the SGA? Those are reasonable issues upon which to base one’s vote. The candidate’s hairstyle, shoe-size, and greek-affiliation are probably not.

Many students become frustrated because so many students in the greek system vote for greek-affiliated candidates. However, voting against a fully qualified candidate simply because he or she belongs to a fraternity or sorority is just as frustrating.

That is like a diehard conservative refusing to vote Republican because the Republicans’ color is red, and red is the color of communism.

Vote for the better candidate who best represents your needs and beliefs.

It is imperative for UA students to be actively involved in the political process for the SGA to best gauge the needs of the university. The SGA and other student organizations work very hard to ensure that candidates have an outlet through which to present their platform.

These outlets are useless unless students take part. Debates are a great way to hear the candidates discuss the issues and to make your voice heard by directly asking the candidates questions.

Facebook is perhaps the easiest way to find out about candidates. This time of year, it is nearly impossible not to be bombarded by requests to join several “Vote for Ally Bama for VP!” groups. While these groups can seem annoying, they often provide very helpful information about a candidate’s qualifications and platform.

There are almost 30,000 students at the University, yet only a fraction chooses to vote. This year, make each vote an informed one so that the SGA will truly represent the University as a whole.

We need as many informed voters as possible, if only to give Jay Leno less material for his show. Together we can defeat voter apathy, destroy Jay Leno’s career, and eventually eradicate geniophobia forever.

Kenzi Green is a sophomore majoring in international relations and broadcast news. Her column runs biweekly on Thursdays.

More to Discover