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Just get over it

Chris Federico | Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I’m sick and tired of hearing about all of the “political apathy” in the 2004 Notre Dame Student Body Presidential elections.First of all, this opinion only really seems to be voiced by Charlie Ebersol’s camp and a few members of various campus media outlets. Unfortunately, this group has been very vocal recently. I’d like to take this space to voice a dissenting opinion.How, in an election where 1,000 votes swung from the primary to the runoff elections, can you say voters were apathetic?If anything they were determined – determined to see a candidate they did not want to hold the office of President lose the election. So those students that came out to vote in the second election or that changed their vote from Ebersol to Adam Istvan made an emphatic statement as to whom they wanted to win the election.And if anyone has a right to complain about the voting procedure, it’s Istvan. Based on the grade-by-grade breakdown of the primary election and the final Senate vote, it appeared Istvan carried a vast majority of off-campus votes (which is roughly 1,600 students – or nearly an entire class), yet he only got credit for the vote of one senator for this, while Ebersol got the same vote for carrying Carroll Hall and its 100 or so residents.I also find it interesting that the upperclassmen – those students who have been here the longest and would know the most about campus policies, campus life and the track records of the candidates – voted en masse for Istvan.Finally, to criticize students for voting against Ebersol in spite of the fact that he may have more experience in student government is to ignore a trend in American democracy in the last century or so. There are elements that come into play in elections other than experience and connections (of which Ebersol had many). These are things such as character, charisma and amicability (of which, many voters would argue, Ebersol was short).Clinton won the presidency in 1996 because he was charismatic. Reagan won in 1980 because he was famous. Kennedy won in 1960 because he was good-looking, even though Nixon had significantly more experience in politics.In closing, I’d like to say to those still-frustrated supporters of Ebersol and Leito, you lost. Sorry. Get over it and move on to something else.But to those who say this election was a farce and that the student body didn’t take their voting responsibilities seriously, just whom exactly are you trying to kid?

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Chris Federico at cfederic@nd.edu