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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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USG wants to move forward but what’s with all the negativity?


On Wednesday night, I went to see the USG presidential debate between Travis Henderson and Gamaliel Madelon and their two vice presidential candidates, Dan McDowell and Tariana Little. I did not go for the pizza and I certainly did not go to see a tag-team bickering battle. I am part of that non-apathetic student body that Henderson / McDowell and Madelon / Little pride themselves on being in touch with.

 Frankly, I am a little put off.

 Certainly, this is a debate – it is meant to pit the two tickets against each other. However, any significant information I gathered from this discussion was overpowered by a strong sense of negativity.

 Allow me to give specific examples (upon asking, I was given access to Mass Media audio files that will soon be online). Henderson stressed the idea of being friends with students on campus, pulling out the familiar “we are a family” card. This is cliché, but it is not necessarily wrong or bad. VP Little’s response, on the other hand, was sorely negative and downright aggressive. “I just met Travis,” then she turns away from the audience to Henderson, “how am I friends and family with you?” Little might have spit in Henderson’s face if she hadn’t already wasted so much venom.

 This overt antagonism was not limited to only one side.

 There was a round in which the presidential candidate was allowed to ask the opposing vice presidential candidate a question. Henderson asked this strategically planned question of Little: “do you feel the USG bylaws accurately reflect the job of the vice president, why or why not.”

 Little adeptly responded with honesty: “as of yet I have not read the bylaws.”

 Henderson retaliated with: “they’re online on our website.” This is only a few days after an article was published in the Mass Media in which Little readily, openly, and honestly (a quality I look for in a candidate) admitted that she is a “relative outsider” to the USG and has therefore not dove into the deep, cold waters of USG bylaws.

 I would have preferred that, rather than isolate and expose a weakness in the opposing ticket (a weakness that is already known), Henderson asked a question that might have produced a useful, informative response.

 I should note that Dan McDowell was the most composed of all the candidates, at least in my opinion. Though, at the beginning, he seemed to be nothing more than an extension of Henderson’s ideas and not able to come up with original responses (he must said “[Henderson] hit the nail on the head” several times). However, later on, McDowell did much better on distinguishing himself from the top of the ticket.

 The most distressing aspect of this bickering is not the bickering itself, it is that these four people are more than just a list of premeditated complaints. All four of them are bright. All four of them want to better the campus, better the lives of the student body. All four share a genuine desire to do good work. If only they were able to see past the juvenile urge to argue and complain, like little boys and girls on a playground, we might actually see the USG do something incredible.

 This is not the time for our candidates to be fighting. They ought to be working together, building off their diverse interests and approaches to make sure that I, and the other 15,000 in this large “family” get the most out of the USG. Good luck to all of them, I hope with success comes maturity.