There are two types of people in this world: those who want to make a difference and those who only choose to see these differences unfold. This divide greatly exemplifies how we view certain social roles as something partial rather than infinite. After all, progression and regression exist to define whether we proceed to do better things or stick with the same ideals that we live by, and the only thing that makes these two possibilities are the dynamics upheld by power. One way of exercising this newfound power is through leadership.

No one is born a leader. None of us possess all the notable qualities that one would associate with an ideal leader at conception. However, our experiences hones and establishes us to become one, and it is a fair argument to say that leadership tends to choose the person, not the other way around. But one thing we all innately possess is the ability to choose our leaders.

Elections are so much more about you than it is about the candidates. Whom you vote for determines policies that affect even the minutest detail of your life.

Suffrage is a right that has been nurtured in us since we stepped into the four corners of our primary classrooms. Whether voting for a president, treasurer, or even the muse and escort, we have raised our hands to cast our votes and took to the challenge to be nominated at some point, unknowingly playing into the early awakening of the entire electoral process. Our standards for student leaders before were not as complicated as today; it mainly remained in the perception of liking or disliking the candidate, and maybe, being friends played a part in one’s victory. High School was an entirely new ball game, as it was more competitive. Prominence could only get one as far as a grade-level representative position, and students were salivating for personality and platforms in the executive positions, kind of like an all-in-one treat.

And as we gear up for this year’s university-wide Supreme Student Council elections, here is a serious question: Viscans, are we ready to elect new student leaders?

It is very easy to say yes. After all, we just have to cast our votes in a ballot box and finally call it a day. But do we ever wonder what happened to the little elementary kid who so enthusiastically wanted to close and move all nominations; or the feisty high schooler who questioned the candidates’ platforms during room-to-room campaigns? Nowadays, it seems like topics on leadership are considered taboo because no one really wants to get involved anymore. But why is that?

This year’s political atmosphere is calmer, but for a particularly negative and obvious reason: our passiveness to the elections, to the point that most of us consider this year’s electoral season as another lap to take before we finish the semester rather than a pivotal event to usher in new governance to the community. Our support of these political candidates, as well as our effort to see what they are capable of doing, seem half-baked. We have become lazy to establish how critical collegiate elections are to the point that we are willing to settle for namesake or completely not care about them. We don’t even get to properly check credentials anymore or infer any kind of verified campaign material to tell their names; we just vote anyway. We have lost our sense of involvement in a culture of fear when approaching and owning up to authority.

Truth be told, most of us have regressed with our political vigor. But arguably, with all this academic load, who has time to think about college politics anyway, when in fact, only a few of us could gracefully look back at former administrations’ legacies and think so highly of them? Fair enough, but maybe this is just some wild case of partisan tardiness? After all, no candidate is perfect enough to completely hanger us into complete trust and assurance, but have we completely lost hope in the idea of governance? Have we already deemed it pointless? Should we even still care?

But this skepticism is quite to be expected. The fear to trust new leadership has been shaped by our current state. We have gone through a pandemic that has tested our dependence and belief in the governing system—it was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Let it be known that millions have lost jobs and died because of the insane and inefficient maneuver marred in systemic corruption that continues to plague our monolithic government institutions, so this uncertainty is granted. This cynicism is greatly validated, especially since these new elects will lead our community to either a prosperous or stale vision. For a country that is currently experiencing the repercussions of some questionable democratic choices and has endured countless electoral robberies, we are resilient enough to keep believing that one day, our country will experience good governance and democracy, and that is what should keep us going.

The thing is, we SHOULD care about the elections if we choose to attain such. Take out all the chaos and competitiveness of it all, what’s left is our duty to ensure that whoever gets elected has a perspective that holistically includes real issues and concerns raised by Viscans and one that is not just good with words on speech and paper, but has also done their fair share of work.

The point of every election is to unite all the students to make a difference, a lasting right decision to find an integrity-ladened future for the university. These student leader aspirants should ignite the lost spark from the entire studentry to the best of their ability, and we must be vigilant enough to look for not just potential and promise but also product. The idea of “having only a single vote” not affecting the entire result is selfish because, quite frankly, every vote counts, and every decision we make affects everyone. Hence, we get to choose, and we get to make VSU better no matter what. If we do not try to be involved nor speak our voices, we are just as guilty and complicit as the glorified and immoral politicians that perpetually lurk in our flawed political system.

There is no right or wrong way of showing political interest in this year’s election, but let it be known that change can only happen if we are the ones that are moving toward it. Our involvement and activism echo our hunger for good governance, and it starts with voting for the right people and holding accountability for every vote made. Now is the time to speak up and be one with the people. Be the people.

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