The night was silent but the tension could be felt by the quiet anticipation of a campus longing for action; the machine will soon be fed.
Before the sun could rise Wednesday morning, it was rewarded with posters, fliers and feverish cries of support. Respective corners have been taken, and lines have been drawn across the campus; so the battle has begun.
It is campaign season 2007.
In weeks prior, the campus bosses decided who would be their political puppeteer, what candidate can pull the strings of an entire campus, and how his or her machine can dominate and devour the rest. How much will it cost to buy the votes of thousands of students?
My phone rang early Wednesday, and before I could even reach campus I was informed of the tactics that would be used to garner my support.
No, candidates don’t dish out money for votes, but they do feed us.
“Have a doughnut and don’t forget to vote blank on the 27th. “Have a great day,” can be heard throughout campus.
I stood on The Set and watched them gather. All in their respected colors, organized in their separate sections. Glaring at each other ready to attack. At any moment they will strike the denizens of FAMU, and the streets will bleed paper. There will be sabotage, there will be anguish, and when the dust settles, there will be the victors and the slain.
I know I will be barraged by over-zealous politicians when I step from my haven.
I know by the time I reach my destination I will be looking for a proper receptacle to dispose the fliers that will be forced into my hands.
I know I will give a fake smile and full support to my week-long new friend.
I, and every student on this campus, am a cog in the machine. We are not supporting an idea; we are supporting an organization. It’s patronage at it s finest.
Campaign teams are not composed of people who truly believe in making a better FAMU but full of people who want in and want to reap the spoils of a successful campaign.
I am well aware of what is going to take place, and honestly, without checking a box or accepting a gift, I already know who is going to win. Because in my years at FAMU I have learned it is not what you stand for that deems you worthy of power. It’s who stands behind you.
So as I looked at the candidates I asked myself, what set are you from, Greek, band or chic? What organization am I setting myself up to vote for?
I do not always appreciate the war-like tactics used to win, I do respect candidates’ understanding of the dynamics of the political machine and the ‘Scorseseism’ of it all.
Hell, at least I don’t have to cook this week.
Dionna King is a junior magazine production student from Atlanta. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.