StaffStance: True Democracy

During the early years of democracy in Ancient Greece before the birth of Christ, the boule, or the Council of 500, allowed its members only one year to serve and represent the people of Athens.

In the fifth article of Confederation during the early American Republic, no state delegate could retain a term longer than three years in the national assembly. And in 1951, the 82nd Congress ratified the 22nd Amendment, establishing a term limit for the office of President of the United States.

For the entire history of democracy and the protection of the voice of the people, the concept of a term limit has defined this particular government model. Historically, its success has depended on the hope that officials would respectfully bow out once the term has concluded and the service has been fulfilled.

But that doesn’t always happen. Each grade has that staple group of people: highly talented, well-liked, multi-tasking, organized, and fantastic at First Class emails. They represent the best qualities of the class. So thankfully, in our world, we run little risk for corruption. We do, however, run the risk of conceding our right to choose.

We host town halls, form meetings, run a parliamentary system in all levels of student council, and genuinely listen to each other, but we do not fulfill one of the most important aspects of true “power to the people” attitude in government: the term limit and the right to vote.

For years, we’ve giggled during the speeches as “running unopposed” has been said a thousand times during the introduction of the candidates. We’ve laughed during the “or vote for no one” jokes forever.

But, in all honesty, we shouldn’t.

The most exciting part about this process surrounds the choice you have the privilege to make as a member of this community. I would like to exercise my right to vote, and the unwillingness of anyone to run for a position shouldn’t give me only one option on my scantron.

Please let me be clear. We’ve been extremely lucky with our representatives and officers and seen multiple years of great success and progress thanks to the work conducted by the executive council. And, with our student body, the possibility of our school electing unprepared and unsuitable candidates for student government positions remains extremely low.

So this is precisely why every student should run for office. Not just form representative, but even more prominent positions like board chairs.

So many of our peers could do great things if given the opportunity, but first, we have to show maturity in placing our faith in someone new.

Americans love a “Washington outsider,” and so should we. If that “stuco newcomer” is qualified, we should appreciate their bravery in standing up to the incumbent and give them a shot.

Let’s elect someone who has never faced the task of selling hundreds of small “Winter Formal” t-shirts or had to run a car wash on a rainy day, but has the perspective of a “regular joe” to find a solution. Someone who hasn’t been elected so many times that the feeling and the significance of their victory is not spoiled or unable to be appreciated, but instead holds their job as an elected official higher than their other commitments.

In no way am I calling for a revolution or for disrupting turnovers and coups, but transition of power can be beneficial. Here in America, we regard this peaceful transition as a ceremony of national tradition, stability, and pride, and here at Hockaday, we should do the same.

It’s time for us to share the weight of student government and bear some of the burden of responsibility that a select number of our peers have been carrying by themselves for far too long.

Almost always the best person for the job gets it, and our student body elects the student with the most potential. But even if the same people deservingly win the election (again) next year, at least we’ll know we’ll have made it interesting.