What makes a great statesman? Many men and women have filled the halls of city government, state legislatures and the U.S. Capitol. But as they come and go, some are forgotten, cast into the annals of history along with the write-up in the local newspaper of their park clean-up initiative or a photograph of the time they cut the ribbon at the opening of a new ice cream parlor.
Anyone can be a statesman; with enough personality, the right connections and a little cash, a campaign is a walk in the park for some of America’s most elite. To be a great statesman, however, I believe you must be born with a fire burning inside of you — never satisfied with the state of the world and set off by the spark that pushes you to do more.
They say that to be a great statesman you must have four qualities: a bedrock of principles, a moral compass, a vision and the ability to build a consensus to achieve that vision. In reviewing the strong slate of candidates presented to us for our 2013-2014 Student Body President and Vice President, I believe we have been truly blessed. We have six tickets willing to fight for the privilege to serve our community; not one, elected by default, with nothing to prove and few tangible results besides Hydration Stations and Domer Dollars at Let’s Spoon to show for their legacy.
This year’s candidates want to make student government more visible and more transparent, and turn it into a body that listens and responds to students’ needs with meaningful policy action. They desire to inspire unity and build support for all the university’s family, furthering the LGBT and minority acceptance initiatives started by administrations and clubs prior. They also want to strengthen the bond between South Bend and the university, some hoping to create more areas like Eddy Street Commons where students can hang out beyond the campus bubble.
Of the six, Scholastic has chosen to endorse someone whom I believe to have the makings of a great statesman (p.19). He believes in equality and social justice, turning principles into policy with the establishment of a Gay-Straight Alliance to close the deficit in the university’s policy which does not protect every one of its family from discrimination. There is more work to be done, though, and this candidate knows that. He has presented a vision and has a proven track record in his ability to compromise and make his visions a reality.
You have many choices before you on Feb. 6. While we have chosen a candidate, there is more than one with the experience, charisma and platform to serve the student body well. Consider, however, the potential for a legacy, the possibilities for the future of Notre Dame and the mountains there are yet to climb to make this community one by the students, for the students.
And then vote.