Today we have a new president.
I knew it would happen, yet I was shocked all the same.
The Impact Party all but swept the election. At the forefront of this great tidal wave of votes rode our new president, Susan Webster.
She’s come a long way from where she was a year ago, sulking next to Swamp Party’s defeated presidential candidate Joey Michaels. Where Michaels failed, Webster succeeded. Now Webster, whose Facebook likes include Jeb Bush and the British Monarchy, is going to lead us back to business as usual. Joselin Padron-Rasines and her party fought hard solely to give us a choice; a year later, we used this opportunity of choice to bring our trial run with true democracy to an end.
Earlier this week I wrote, hoping against hope, that Impact’s counter-revolution could be avoided or even reversed with this election. These hopes are dead. In one, perhaps even two election cycles, Suze Webz and her party will exterminate whatever murmurs of opposition remain in the Senate chambers while UF’s brief existence under a multi-party system fades back into the night.
Who is responsible?
I don’t blame Susan. Even though clearly I disdain her and everything she represents, at the end of the day she is a fellow student, a dedicated volunteer and ultimately a figurehead who’s probably been groomed for this position since the minute she learned to walk. Nor do I blame Impact, which is not much more than a hastily assembled collection of symbols and non-controversial platforms. Their logo appears to be looted from the UF Alumni Association; the most popular item on their agenda is the proliferation of Chick-fil-A breakfast. What sort of monster would oppose that?
Whatever. All of that — the platform, the kitschy T-shirts, the omnipresent representatives stationed throughout campus — all of it is a performance. It is a mask behind which lies The System. Now, I’ve argued with people about this all week: The System exists. They do not hide it well; proof exists and is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and a halfway decent command of the English language.
Here is where I place blame: not on Susan, not on Impact and not even on The System. I lay blame on us — we, the Student Body they need to legitimize their power. I’ve been writing about Student Government for a long time, and I’ve always believed if only everyone knew about The System and its sickening legacy, it would be finished forever. Now I realize my naiveté — plenty of us know. Hell, one of them came forward Monday night and spilled her guts. The System’s success is not due to a lack of information — we just can’t be bothered to give a shit. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…
As the elections results came in, my friends and I joked about going to exile at Florida State University, in a city where The System graduates hold their fingers on the pulse of real power. At that point, I really did want to give up altogether and perhaps move to Germany, where the people appreciate democratic rule. But at the thought of Germany I remembered one conversation I had with my professor, a teacher of German history. It was one of our many talks about the state of the world (bleak). I was visibly distressed; as a means of comfort, he taught me that indomitable slogan of the German Left: Der Kampf geht weiter, “The struggle goes on.”
I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that. Nothing is final. Here’s hoping the Webster administration serves us well; in the meantime, I’m expecting lots of Chick-fil-A.
Alec Carver is a UF history junior. His column appears on Fridays.