A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column that called the legitimacy of the Student Government Association into question. I decried its assertion that it functions as a truly representative voice for the entirety of more than 27,000 students who attend this institution or has any real function at all, other than to serve as a means of resume padding for the mostly-Panhellenic members of the body.
It is my understanding that the column in question justifiably garnered a less-than-favorable reception from the SGA and its supporters. In fact, three high-ranking members of the organization took time out of what I can only imagine to be a very hectic and excitement-filled SGA legislative schedule to co-author a stern, resounding retort to my remarks, which was published in the Beacon.
They attempted to match me point for point and even went so far as to call a few of my accusations "unnecessarily malicious," an overstatement that brings me nothing but amusement. While I will not try go into a long-winded diatribe about the actual futility of the group's efforts and its lack of a REAL, meaningful impact on this university and its students, there was a point they harped on that I found particularly interesting and feel I should explore.
Towards the end of their response, the defenders of the SGA challenged me — and in a greater sense, challenged the entirety of the student body — to be more active in student government and to lend them input, support and, most importantly, awareness. It would seem, by looking between the lines of their outcry for student support and interest, that the SGA has a problem getting candidates that are able to captivate the minds of the electorate and inspire participation and awareness. I think I might have a solution.
In the closing lines of the column that started it all, I mockingly called for the candidacy of freshman quarterback Tyler Bray, stating that we might as well elect him since he probably could not do any worse. I realize now that I should not have been so dismissive. After reading the SGA leaders' letter, the true nature of the problem of student government came to light. None of the candidates propped up by the Gree ... I mean campaigns with "diverse support from all across campus," can provide a group of leaders capable of inspiring the rest of the student body. I sincerely believe these problems can be resolved by electing Tyler Bray this spring to be the student body president for the SGA.
What qualifies this candidate, you ask? A few factors stand out.
First, he has tremendous experience at getting people motivated. Though just a freshman, he has brought a sense of electricity that arguably has not been seen in years. One could argue that only the great Eric Berry — a former write-in candidate for the same position — turned more heads in the last decade. Can Bray motivate students? To quote Sarah Palin, "You betcha." After all, he does bring 100,000 out of their seats on a routine basis.
Leadership is obviously an important quality that goes along with being an executive in any governmental body, even at the scholastic level. Luckily for us, reports out of spring practice indicate that Bray has quickly and wholeheartedly stepped into that leadership role and has been developing these skills under the tutelage of coach Derek Dooley himself. Definitely cannot go wrong there.
A leader has to be cool under pressure. Tyler Bray? According to Dooley, Bray doesn't get worked up, stands calm in the face of pressure and is unwavering in his determination to win. There's a politician for you.
Last, but certainly not least, any candidate for office has to inspire and instill a sense of hope and optimism in the minds of the electorate. Tyler Bray is generating that hopefulness, along with the rest of his teammates. In fact, it has been almost a decade since there has been more optimism about the team than ever, and that's mostly thanks to the flashes of greatness the young, gun-slinging quarterback displayed in the fall. It is no great stretch of the imagination to believe that he could chuck out bad proposals — and there are many — off the SGA docket the same way he throws touchdowns to all of the receivers who depend on him.
What was once a joke for me is now a wholehearted belief. Only Tyler Bray can save the SGA from the dreary depths of obscurity brought on by student apathy.
— Derek Mullins is a senior in political science and history. He can be reached at email@example.com.