Allen Hates Politics, Part 2


Allen You campaigns for president

I hate student body elections.

I’ll be honest, the general student body elections failed to capture my attention. Armi Mubeen won uncontested, Laura Amore won uncontested, Fiona Ferguson won uncontested, and Ginger Schulte won. Congrats to all of them. Woohoo.

Upon receiving Mr. Goldwasser’s email, I continued about my day as normal. Just about everyone else did. And then the Junior Class Officer Elections happened. Here is my day-by-day analysis of the event and why I hate it:


Thursday, Sept. 16

I hate student-elected officials. 

All at once, every Instagram and Snapchat story was invaded by awfully designed campaign advertisements. There are those who are in it for a line on their college applications; there are those who are in it because their friends thought it would be funny; and there are those who are in it because they think they can inspire change; or a motivation consisting of some combination of the three.

And at the end of the week-long popularity contest, we crown our victors with somewhat useless, but admittedly flashy titles. 

We have the president, who presides. Vice president, who presides but like, less. Treasurer, who treasures. And secretary, who is just in charge.

I might be wrong, but I think the four elected individuals actually just sit in the multi-purpose room for a seminar period and discuss the devious licks occurring about the school. What will we do about stolen clocks, soap dispensers and nicotine detectors?

Although we all seem to be aware of the relative unimportance of these elected positions, the brief period of school politics preceding the election is its own local spectacle. Who’s going to win? Who’s even running? How close is it?

Maybe I’m being too harsh on student-elected officials. I’ll admit that it’s certainly hard being a full-time student as well as a public figure, decision-maker, and social event planner. And to be fair, our elected officials absolutely shine in Ladue’s beloved seasonal pep rallies. Alumni and 2019-20 Student Body Treasurer Jeremy Ouyang shouted about as loud as I’ve ever heard someone yell, generating hype even among us freshmen at the time. 

“WHAT TIME IS IT?” Jeremy belted.

“Due time,” I confidently replied, just as I had practiced in the mirror.

I’ll also give credit to the simple act of trying. Even if the results aren’t apparent, I can tell the vision for a better Ladue is. I applaud the candidates for showing the guts to run and I’ll give the victors my full backing in their efforts, even though I am skeptical of their ability to do things.

In conclusion, I love pep rallies.


Friday, Sept. 17

I hate campaign advertisements.

I have a particular hate for national level political campaigns, which always contain false promises. I think if I were a candidate running on the national stage, I would just be honest.

“I’m running because I like cashing out fat lobbying checks,” I would say. “And sometimes, I’ll tweet something that pleases you.”

But you all know this story is about school politics. And school politics has a particular brand of campaigning that I hate: Vote For Me. 

It’s so simple, yet so effective. It’s perfectly neutral. A candidate endorses themself, but doesn’t make any commitments towards action, any gestures towards goals, any attacks nor defenses of their reputation or others’. It tells the viewer that they’re taking the election seriously enough to care about the outcome and campaign as a result, but not so much about what happens if the outcome is favorable for them. It leaves a lot in the air, which is presumably filled in by us, the voters.

This I find pretty annoying. Why should I vote for you? Because you’re you? And should that be enough to get my click on Mr. Goldwasser’s Google Form? Like a faux wild west shootout, everyone draws their guns but nobody wants to shoot. They announce their candidacy but never their motivation.

And thus, the class election campaigning process is often boring. No false promises are made, no goals are set, no oaths are sworn. “I see that you’re running,” I tell myself with each new endorsement, “but what will you do?” 

“You will just be you,” I conclude, “and considering it’s you, I’m not convinced.”

This is probably the democratic purist coming out of myself, thinking that each elected official should tell people what to expect of their term to-be. That they should be loyal to their constituents and promote a better world. Or this is probably just the dramatic side of me wanting each candidate to tell everyone what they don’t like about the school. 

And surprisingly, there are many campaign ads that do rise to the occasion and do more than the cheesy Vote For Me poster.

“I liked the people that campaigned together,” junior David Ju said. ”Because, you know, it’s like it’s a group working together and I thought that was pretty powerful.”

Indeed it is. Like a comic book crossover event or a music collab, when our favorite characters come together for one cause, it makes each of them all the more lovable. And like Amazon’s “Frequently bought together” suggestions, if you’re voting for [candidate X], you’ve got to vote for [candidate Y]. The bundle method is a classic way to up a candidate’s chances of winning.

Yet, for all it’s strategic benefits, it still fails to quench my thirst for advocacy. After realizing the meaninglessness of it all, I relegate myself to silence, complaining only to myself like a grumbly old man.

In conclusion, I love drama.


Monday, Sept. 20

I hate Mondays.

There’s no end to the struggle of waking up on Mondays. I’m stuck in a perpetual cycle of improving my sleep schedule during the weekdays, slowly bringing my nightly sleep hours up and up… and then absolutely trashing it over the weekend. So, I’m generally a disgusting human being on Monday mornings.

I’m sure many teens are in the same situation as me. How can you actually be responsible during the weekend? Does the liberation not get to you? If you’re truly permeated by that kind of self-control, then props, but I’m certainly not. Ask me to vote on a Monday and I’m going to simply stare blankly at my screen, relying on no logic at all to make a decision.

Thus is the condition of a high schooler on Mondays: existing off a median of four hours of sleep, distilled down to our most basic human instincts and survival tactics. 

My flight or fight response nearly kicked in when my phone buzzed with the news of the junior class primaries. I took out my phone to see the notification, “James Goldwasser — Junior Class Primary Ballot.” At that moment, I was not only reminded about writing this column, which escaped me over my irresponsible weekend, but also of my holy right to vote for Ladue’s junior officers.

I looked at the list of candidates and I simply could not decide who I preferred at 7:32 a.m. So I went out to inform my vote. I figured that if I voted for the candidate most likely to win, nobody would question my decision and I would avoid making any commotion with my vote. 

I sought out advice from multiple people, begging them to tell me who they voted for. Most people told me “Who are you?” and “I’m pooping” but I couldn’t care less. After receiving the responses I wanted, I promptly closed my eyes, clicked randomly and pressed “Submit” to cast my vote. Lovely how democracy works.

To be frank, at this point I’m not particularly invested in the winners of this election. It’s Monday, I’m barely able to refrain myself from drooling on my desk, let alone learn, work, then vote and then analyze the rationale behind my vote (there was none). So I’ll cut the analysis short for today.

In conclusion, I love being irresponsible.


Tuesday, Sept. 21

I hate suspense.

I remember watching Silence of the Lambs when I was younger. It was a good movie, but the part at the end where the — how do I put it — flat psycho, Bill, chases the movie’s protagonist, Clarice, was unbearable to watch. So I did what any human who didn’t need added stress would do: I fast-forwarded the movie. And I enjoyed it just fine without the added suspense of the chase scene.

Sometimes, I wish I had a remote control for life, where I didn’t need to experience the quaking emotion that is suspense and instead just fast-forward through time. Especially for this year’s junior class elections.

Now don’t get me wrong, the junior class elections aren’t suspenseful to the point where I can’t live with myself as I await the results. I just see no reason to wait. I want to see who won.

And yes, I get the idea that having more than two candidates in a single-choice voting system can lead to misrepresentation. That’s simply solved with ranked choice voting. But no, we need to vote once, wait a day, find out the top two candidates for each position, wait another few days, vote again and finally arrive at the ultimate result, which is less epic than it seems.

I’m looking forward to seeing who actually wins, but since I have deadlines to meet, I can’t actually react to them in this piece. If I could jump forward in time and tell everyone who won, I would, but I can’t, and thus the cliffhanger I’m ending this piece at.

But this piece had to end somewhere; it’s already four pages single-spaced on my Google Docs and I’m worried people think I actually like writing.

For today, I’ll leave this column with some final thoughts, if you’ve read this far. First, thanks for reading this far. I never really expected someone to go on, scroll down to the Opinions section, click on a story named “Allen Hates Politics” and then actually read it.  So, thank you. Second, go vote. Even if you think it doesn’t matter, or you don’t care enough, try to support the people you like. After all, it’s probably important to them that they win or that someone thought they were worthy of being president, secretary, or whatever they want to be. And finally, inspire change, advocate for something, be not a victim of change, but the agent of it. 

Yeah, I stole that last one. 

In conclusion, I hate politics.