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High School Government and President Obama

Posted by on March 2, 2009

I can still remember running for student government for my senior year of high school.  In my time at Bishop Ryan H.S. I had made some positive changes and I decided it was time for me to help the school do the same.

We had a policy at our school that the social rep. acted as a DJ every Friday in the cafeteria for the common lunch hour, playing host to nearly 1500 students. Even from my freshman year of I loved this concept. It was a brilliant way to get the students excited for the weekend and in a good mood.  The only problem is that the year prior to my senior year we had elected a social rep. who was an unwavering heavy metal fan. Each Friday I would have to walk into the cafeteria and listen to sixty-five minutes of the hardest, darkest, angriest music on the planet.  Not to mention that these sets would, without fail, include Marilyn Manson’s The Beautiful People at least twice.

Everyone has the right to listen to whatever music they prefer and I don’t believe death/heavy metal breeds bad people by any means, but when you’re voted into your position and 75% of your audience consistently leaves the area, its time to rethink your playlist.

I spent the entire year pleading with this guy to play some different music. I would bring him CDs from home and ask him to play just one song, denied.  I wasn’t asking for him to change the tilt of his entire set, just merely throw a couple bones to those of us that wanted anything else. I nearly begged this guy, Please, stop giving me a motive and a soundtrack with which to murder you.

It was near the end of that year that I realized that its those that take office, no matter if they’re geniuses or mentally retarded, that make the rules.  There seems to be no bigger requirement for political office than a grandiose ambition and the need to impainfultunespose your will on the unwilling and the apathetic.  There are times we have leaders with integrity, intelligence, and the goal of nothing more than to work logically towards the greater good, but for the most part, we usually end up with the offspring of two first cousins.

With this epiphany I realized my problem, was next year someone else would be spinning the turn tables, and from what I was gathering it was a girl with musical tastes running a polar opposite to my own.  All I could think of was if  I got stuck in this scenario for another year, my final year, there would in fact be blood (likely oozing from my ears).  So out of desperation, I ran for office.  I shook hands, I kissed babies, and I made promises, everything a good politician would do.  Even my terrifying fear of public speaking was dwarfed by my fear of Marilyn Manson (the music, not the artist).  I took the podium, delivered with purpose, and won the popular vote. Yah me.

This was a far cry from the kid in grade 9 who spent the majority of his day discussing his “future potential” with the principle.  I felt triumphant.  On the final Friday before summer break our DJ had to hand over his speakers and microphone to me and I would lead the students into summer.  I remember playing summertime songs, up-tempo hip hop and dance tracks, the cafeteria was alive again.  People were dancing, hell I was dancing, and we celebrated a new era of Friday lunch breaks. As ridiculous as this might sound, this was the first time I started believing one person could make a difference.

Throughout the next year I stayed with my new choices of music, buying new CDs almost every week (on my own dime, when all I had were dimes), and tried to make as many people as I could happy.  My core set was hiphop, pop, and dance but I often threw in Offspring, Green Day, and a sprinkling of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. I truly tried my best to not be the gestapo of the year before but I quickly learned you can’t make everyone happy.  Though the vast majority of students were happy with the change in DJ, there were a couple groups I went mano-a-mano with for the entire year. These people were my GOP.

In the beginning they would come to me furious with my selection, and I would apologize that they didn’t like approve, play a few songs to their liking, and hope this would help. But I soon realized each time I played one of their death metal songs, the rest of the cafeteria suffered for my appeasement.  Groups of people would exodus the area, and often stayed out of ear shot and not to return until next week. Even with this appeasement my GOP would only come back demanding more. I began to think, “Why am I doing this?”

In my effort to not be the tyrant from the previous year, I had turned myself into a people pleasing monkey.  I decided this had to stop. I had to realize that being a tyrant and being a push over were equally dangerous.  My GOP took no interest in the concessions I was trying to make, they were just concerned with getting their way.  I wasn’t telling them not to play their music on their stereos, at home, or even in the hallways outside the cafeteria, but inside the cafeteria I was doing my part to make sure everyone was having a good time. Why couldn’t they see their music was making everyone else miserable on Friday? When all I wanted to do was give people a chance to hang out and party together. When I tried to compromise, somehow, it still wasn’t good enough.  In their eyes their quest to still be seen as important and relevant came to supersede those needs of the majority, their fellow classmates.

I am not by any stretch of my inflated ego or gregarious imagination comparing myself to Obama, but I do see similarities in this parallel.  I’ve seen Obama take office with the rejoicing of his support base from not only his country but the entire world… am I the only one that gets how big of a deal that is. The WORLD begged American to change, pleaded with its citizens to stop playing that same song over and over and over again, as they couldn’t stand the sound.

Now with Obama’s current struggle to get anything passed in congress without a “Republican response”, and then days and weeks of banter causing nothing but confusion and dissension in the American people, its time Mr. President and the Democrats finally took a stand. Its time to tell not just the GOP, but everyone, that they have patiently listened to the broken record of tax cut solutions, and free market gospel and now its time for the sore losers to sit down, listen, and for one minute consider the fact that there just might be another way.  If your President, for argument’s sake, tries to start a war under false pretense, maybe then its time to halt congress, wave the flag of party wars, or take your opposition to the American people on the national stage. However, when you have a world economy heading further and further into a total economic sink hole based largely on regulations you passed (or didn’t pass), maybe its time you guys sat this one out.

This definition of insanity has been attributed to both Ben Franklin and Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If this is true, I think the inside of the House and Senate should be fit with rubber walls. Where things stand now I don’t even know what’s worse, the sore loser party that can never accept failure and defeat, or the party with the backbone of a jellyfish.

In recent days it has been gratifying to see Obama stand up to roll out the promises he made during his two year campaign. I still have hope, that YES HE CAN take a stand for the people that voted him into office; but I have an almost definite feeling that even though the broken record has been removed from his cafeteria, we’ll still hear it blasting from the hallways for the next four years… or until we’re all deaf.

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