Politics are useless

Thursday, 25 March 2004 — 6:03pm | Studentpolitik

Or is it “Politics is useless”? Actually, it’s both, and although the singularity of its usage is sometimes dependent on context, the line between the two is not too clear. The word is plural by all appearances, but “takes a singular verb when used to refer to the art or science of governing or to political science” according to the American Heritage Fourth entry at Dictionary.com.

Whenever politics becomes especially useless, a number of things may occur. The more glaring errors merit apologies and explanations while people scramble to figure out what just happened; take, for example, Edmonton Transit’s all-too-predictable response to the recent, prematurely-conceived referendum on the Universal Bus Pass. The infeasibility of jacking the price down to $60/semester was known by every informed student prior to the election, but even among the voting population, the informed student is a rare and beautiful creature.

Another thing that happens when politics takes a dive off the cliff is that another set of politics comes along and thinks it can do better – that is to say, dive off a much higher cliff with a triple-backflip and a cherry on top. “Self-sodomizing U-Pass referendum, eh?” said the University of Calgary, “We’ll do you one better and overturn our entire election.” Word to the wise: online voting is contingent on online competence. At the same time, what co-appellant and failed candidate Phil Barski of “Barski’s Cabinet” does not realize is that even with the election results thrown out, he still won’t take the presidency; you can only hoodwink students so far and so often with a no-platform, no-clue slate. Proof otherwise would indicate that even my limited faith in the capacity of voters is excessively optimistic.

In a somewhat more legitimate political process, last night I was re-elected to the position of U of A Debate Society Internal Director by way of acclamatory approval. This means another year of fiddling with the website – let’s face it, the current layout was a bit of a rushed job – and doodling in QuarkXPress and waiting for a newsletter to magically congeal, which is fun in the sun for everyone.


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