SSMU Elections: The Coliseum of McGill

To better procedures of socially tormenting our prospective student representatives
To better procedures of socially tormenting our prospective student representatives

To better procedures of socially tormenting our prospective student representatives

Through our SSMU electoral system we have brought together two ancient and proud traditions in an unprecedented way – democracy, and gladiatorial battles.

Like in ancient Athens, we McGillians, under the watchful eye of Minerva, are a hardened electorate.  While Ancient Greeks opted for the old, white, and free citizens, we choose a Golden 16.7% who, for precious few weeks a year, ‘give a sh*t’. Whilst they were given a multitude of platforms for debate, we chose the vast domains of Facebook pages. Like gladiators, we set candidates against each other, armed with Facebook passwords, reddit throwaways, and rabid supporters. Though Athens used fine reason to discern between candidates, we have innovated. Moving beyond the stale stench of reason, we have opted for the social gladiatorial combat. One candidate usually stands clad in plot-armour given to the favourite from the ruling SSMU cabal. The other stands in front of a disinterested crowd, trying out some new moves to hear a reaction.

While Ancient Greeks opted for the old, white, and free citizens, we choose a Golden 16.7% who, for precious few weeks a year, ‘give a sh*t’.

The floodgates open. Like a Roman gladiator, the SSMUtocracy’s favourite steps forward to meet the people’s challenger – themselves bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The challenger, bristling with keen and hubris, steps forward. Facebook insults dart between, countered with hollow comments, which are then retorted with a blow to an open flank. The favourite lies open to the emperor’s choice. The challenger stands proud, teeth drawn bow-like in smile.

Faltering over a loss of face or a loss of a winner, the emperor wavers. The thumb sits queasily flat, until it turns,  giving the favourite some more space to breathe and get out.

Left with the open field, the challenger relishes: he is the last one standing.

But he’s kicked the bees nest. He was meant to die.

Bring in the closer, boos lead from the emperor’s coterie, drowning out his moment, his glory, his victory. The contest isn’t over yet.

Now, whilst making a good story and narrative, our elections could yet be improved; but tradition is fragile. We must keep the “election,” and we must keep the social (gladiatorial) combat. Lose either, and we question ruining our cherished institution in SSMU. These two pillars must stand, but need they stand together?

Without the elections, how will us poor spectators amuse ourselves during midterms and finals?

I propose that this year, we evolve. Our proud institutions can stand stronger and prouder, each alone.

Leaders will be chosen by the SSMUtocracy –  as a proud tradition that is much cherished in our kingdom, this must continue and this must last. If we can do this without the costly (and, frankly, distracting) election process, we must do so. We owe at least that much to  the students of McGill.

Without the elections, how will us poor spectators amuse ourselves during midterms and finals? The solution is simple: yearly, we shall nominate 2 students – the chosen ones – through a student number-based lottery.  On selection, they shall be forced to reveal their passwords to all social media and hand over their texts. Selection is random. Participation less so.

Following the great reveal of the passwords, the student body will, vulture-like, eagerly snoop through every 3am “what’s up” text, every TMI message with roommates, and every first year regret. We will see what our everyday James McGill really thought about safe space and slaves. This is the no-holds, barred combat – just as the Romans meant it (and just as you want it). At the end, the last to falter is given something shiny to put on their résume: it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

By separating our most revered institutions, we can safeguard SSMU’s elections for an era to come.

Nicholas Dunkerley
Mudslinger/Contributor

This piece is a satire. The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.