Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Diane! Diane! Diane!
Diane Kassim is not your average presidential hopeful and has quite a great deal to offer the student body of the University of Florida. Some people are out to crucify her going Gator, as opposed to Impact, but as I stated in my senate farewell speech, I too was disappointed but respect her decision as much as John Boyles' of abandoning the Opposition for greener pastures. I for one left Impact before it became Impact or Phoenix for largely the same reasons Diane did, we were skeptical of the upcoming elections, we had wined and dined with Dennis and expected the bold determination of the Sowell/Samuels/Argento/Harrell camp and found ourselves with the Ngin/Nin passive-let's-test-the-waters-first mindset. Up until mid December '04 we still couldn't confirm whether or not Dennis was actually going to run or bow-out in his prime like most of us believed Bryson would.
Diane Kassim is not a traitor or a sellout. During the Spring of '04 she represented District A (32601), the Sorority(Ignite/Innovate)-dominated district. Still, she seriously put her hopes of re-election and her SG future in jeopardy and was one of the strongest backers of Jamal Sowell. Even during the contentious of summer of 2004, when the last thing on anyone's mind was an Access/Innovate merger, Diane held out, largely stepped up to the plate coordinating legislative strategies, and kept the party ready for what I had hoped would have been the final showdown that never was, against Innovate (Fall 2004).
We can sit here and credit Progress for their valid efforts of lobbying the special Legislative Committee on Online Voting, but before crediting lobbyists it's proper to credit the founder(s) of the committee. Diane fought hard on senate floor and throughout campus via public opinion, created the aforementioned committee, and became a symbol of hope for those that aimed to see online voting come to fruition at UF. This may be a new cause or a rallying point for a party, but it's been a promise Diane Kassim was determined to make good on, first.
We can sit here and lambast Diane for switching to Gator, but doing so and omitting Pro Temp. Boyles means something else. I love Diane, I love John (all of us being Original Yellow & Blue), but as ever sure as I am that racism remains strong at UF, I am sure that sexism has its place as well. When I was out on the set campaigning for Access in '04, I had heard my fair share of degrading and backward comments from members of fraternities, from members of my own house, and from random people that you'd think were completely oblivious to the SG process. I am speaking from personal experiences and no one can deny me what I heard and saw.
I remember one member of the Greek community in particular, whose name I shall protect but whose mindset has forever since made me ashamed to have called him my friend. I remember getting across to him on how Jamal could in fact be a better president than Scott, I had made some progress with him on Jamal's political track record and he finally agreed that he would vote Access, but what he said at the end of our talk, in front of no less than a dozen others was chillingly too 'real world,' too 'this is the way some members of academia still think;' he put his hand over my left shoulder and told me while laughing "well it's between a kike and a nigger."
I'm The Radikal, I'm long graduated from UF (though may return for grad school), I speak my mind and share my experiences (though you won't find them candy-coated here b/c I could care two shits if you like my blog, opine on my blog, or put my blog on a link on your blog...blog, this word has become redundant), and while I can't say that I'd vote for Diane (in part b/c I still haven't been re-admitted back to UF), I will say that she's the finest candidate I've heard mentioned to date for the SB Presidency, with Jared and John getting honorable mention. A former Budget Committee Vice Chair, former Reitz Union Board of Managers committee chair, former Pro. Temp., a current Senate President, a rebel in the old days, active across campus, a strong African American Woman that's made it to the top in a largely (and despite most people's new age perceptions) a man's world and schooled several of these might I add, she should get a bit more consideration from the students for being on your minds even if slightly threatening to your visions of the next SG roster, than others whom have made it into your thoughts for being so nice and so easy to work with. Remember, the President is the person that goes in there and gets the job done, the President should not be elected on whether or not you can stand there with this officer, in a hallway, and talk about the most boring topics and expect in return a polite smile back and their undivided attention. I would recommend to folks that look for these qualities in an SB Presidential candidate to vote for Diane Kassim and then head over to the humane society, get a nice kitten or puppy, and take either out for long walks in areas ranging from semi-public to abandoned, where they can have insightful conversations with the otherwise oblivious animal.
And yes, history does repeat itself, so what will Diane's opponents use to discredit her from being a viable candidate? Surely the party-switch will only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg, because even in an age of free expression such as ours, I seriously doubt that her fiercest opponents would ever dare expound on the real reasons why they are so vehemently opposed from even mentioning her name in real consideration for the top post of Student Government.