I’ve been trying to decide what to make of this, and this is where I’m at.
If you’re going to run on a pretentious “I’m so much smarter and more sophisticated than all of you conformist hacks that I’m just going to make fun of everything” platform, Sassan Sangsari is doing a fairly decent job of it. I’ve met him briefly, and he comes off as a nice guy. This video is pretty funny, although I give more credit for that to the Ubyssey’s talented video editor than I do to Sangsari. I get that much of what he’s doing is just meant to be comedic—but not all of it. He’s also trying to, I don’t know, lend us some of his immense wisdom. His poster annoys the shit out of me, as does his campaign in general, for these reasons.
Everybody knows there are problems with “democracy.” Only an incurious moron thinks that democracy, in whatever form it takes, is perfect. So please stop with the routine of “democracy is flawed, and I’m going to show you all how it’s flawed, and I’m going to invoke Plato and all that because I’m so smart”—we know it’s flawed, dude. You aren’t breaking any news to us.
Churchill once said (although the phrase didn’t originate with him) that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. That’s exactly right. And it’s really hard to make democracy work in a legitimate way, although most developed countries do a pretty good job of it. And it’s especially hard to make democracy work when everyone involved is a student, mostly untrained in how to do the jobs which they’re asked to do, paid poorly or not at all, and dealing with a student body that is mostly concerned with getting good marks and/or getting drunk and getting laid. It’s really fucking hard.
And despite that, most of the people in student government at UBC are actually extremely intelligent, competent, ambitious people. There’s a lot of idiots, sure. I could give you a long list of idiots right now off the top of my head. But for the most part, I have huge respect for those who are volunteering their time to serve on AMS council and the various constituencies and clubs.
So look, SuperSexySass, or Sangsari or whatever, I know you’re charming and often funny, but honestly: screw off. Stop insulting the candidates who are genuinely trying to win their respective race and take on a leadership role at UBC. You’re not smarter than any of them, you’re just apparently too lazy or jaded to try to run an actual campaign and win the position by engaging in a real debate—and yes, some of the other candidates for BoG do take the time to learn the issues and reflect on them. It’s very possible, it just takes work.
And by the way, it’s not true that the skills it takes to win an election are unrelated to the skills it takes to be a good leader, as it says on your poster. If you ever try to run a campaign, you’ll see how much work it takes to motivate and inspire your volunteers to go out in the rain and cold and put up posters, chalk up pavement, hand out flyers, and try to convince students to vote for you. If you really can’t understand how that relates to being a good leader, then I don’t know what to say.
Alright, that’s my grumpy rant for the night.
Ricardo: I’ve known Sangsari for awhile now. He was in my program (Integrated Science) and I TA’d him last year. I have trouble thinking that he’s actually seriously pretentious. At least, he never came off that way. Immature, fair. But I definitely agreed with his criticism that the elections are a joke hence he’s treating it that way. He’s definitely too jaded to run seriously (or at least I hope he is because rumblings from my old stomping grounds suggest things are not going very well under his reign in case he ever gets serious).
People do work hard to get elected to the AMS, and people work hard in those positions but there is still legitimacy in the criticism that a lot of it is just a farce. I’m glad he’s acknowledging and advertising it, though somewhat surreptitiously. What we need though is solutions. (Jeremy McElroy called me on this earlier too and I intend to deliver.)
Brian: Ricardo, really, have you read what’s on his poster? If you want to call this “criticism”, and unpretentious….ummm alright. But I hold the term “criticism” to a much higher standard. I’d say this paragraph speaks for itself:
Inspired by Plato’s famous idea of the “Philosopher Kings”, I recognize (perhaps the biggest flaw of democracy) that the skills needed to win an election are completely unrelated to the skills needed to be a good leader…hence my provoking and satirical campaign strategy. But jokes on the side, if you elect me, you’ll elect a philosopher, not a politician. That is, instead of randomly telling you I will fight for less tuition blah blah, I will seek to bring you the truest form of justice for and to the students of UBC.
Ricardo: Bwahaha that’s terrible. Good point. Let alone that this is on his poster. You’re not Martin Luther King so don’t put up diatribes on to every wall you see.