February is drawing near, which for many schools (including mine) means that politics is in the air again. Would-be public servants are readying their slogans and filling out Certificates of Candidacy in preparation for upcoming elections.
I know what that feels like—I’ve been an active (school) politician for no less than five years now. Ever since my early grade school days, I’ve been campaigning, dancing, swaying and extravagantly promising my way to power.
In my sophomore year in high school, I decided to lay off the political circus in favor of concentrating on my curricular studies. I thought it was better to set aside my political ambitions and prioritize hitting the books (which I rarely do). I also found it a welcome break from the usual frenzy and buzz I had to endure, what with all the practice and preparation associated with campaigns. I like to think that my abstinence wasn’t useless: I climbed back to Section One from my Section Three status. (I’ve made my feelings about that transfer very clear.)
I had previously planned on re-entering the political scene for the final time (this year’s election will be the last one I will be eligible to run in), but now, I’ve decided to retire from government officialdom for good.
The decision was brought about by a number of things. First of all, the past, gruelling eight months of school have taken their toll on me—I’m one burnt out dude. There have been days when schoolwork has sucked out all life from my lanky frame. Rarely do I get more than six hours of sleep a day, and what little energy is replenished from rest, is quickly taken away by the endless things to do at school. When I get home, I drop to my bed, lie down for a while, and then get up again to do what needs to be done. I’m burnt out. Burnt out like hell. Campaigning for a position in the student government would only add burden to the weakling in me.
It was also brought about by sudden, massive changes in the political system of my school. One word: reboot. For a reason I have no knowledge of, it was decided that the two political parties should dissolve and its members shuffled around. It is my belief that this was because one of the political parties (the one which I ran under in my freshman year) has been winning landslide victories for two or three election cycles now. (Of course, my theory could be completely wrong; it’s just that I don’t see any other plausible reason for the shuffle. If you do, say so in the comments section, please and thank you.) It, in my opinion, is useless and only defeats the purpose of organized political parties. Candidates running under one banner should be unified in purpose and be able to work with one another. That would be implausible if you mix and match people from both sides of the isle. (his is the reason why Americans vote for a party ticket, not individual candidates, in the presidential elections. Having a president and vice-president that disagreed with each other would prevent government from being productive and functioning properly. The same concept should apply even at the school level.
The shuffle left me disenchanted. It made it apparent that elections were held for a shallower purpose than service to the people.
And then there’s the list of what I’ve accomplished as an SSG official. That list is practically empty. Although the Supreme Student Government has, as a whole, done much for the school and the community, I as an official by myself have done practically nothing. I was habitually absent in meetings. Whenever the SSG performed their duties and implements their projects, I wasn’t there either. And that was during my earlier high school days, when things weren’t so busy. Now, as I enter my senior year, I’ll have entrance tests to review for, pressing co-curricular activities to attend to, and still other responsibilities waiting outside the murals of ANHS. I’d have even lesser time to devote to public service, and when that is the case, I don’t think it’s public service at all.
I think I’ve made the final decision: I’m stepping off the bloody, grimy ring of politics, leaving all the dirty work of government to the big guns who have bigger balls to handle the job.
Which is not to say that I’m saying goodbye to public service. I will continue to serve the studentry in my own capacity, and will offer whatever help I can to my party and to the student government.
I could serve by running for office and holding a position in the student government. But there are better ways of serving than that.
[Image: Creative Commons license from http://flickr.com/photos/mikedefiant/3153873557/]