For starters let's make one thing perfectly clear, Student Government as we know it at UF is serious business. UF is one of the largest public universities in the nation, with over 50,000 students, and a student-funded budget surpassing $13 million w/ reserves. To those of us that have been a part of SG, are a part of SG, the direction this body takes is critical both to the standards to which we hold it as well as and entirely to the benefit of the common good, the University, the Student Body, & the Alumni Community.
Right now, I'm writing from a computer 335 miles away at the FIU North Campus, several months after my graduation, a few minutes after an eight-hour workday and even I can't even begin to describe the urgency at hand for the Opposition to select an Executive ticket for the coming Spring elections. We are facing an uphill battle after a modestly successfull fall showing. To our benefit we have three parties and a diverse independent community at the coalition's beckon call, however, procrastination will only lead to dissatisfaction, skepticism, and eventually an indifference that will manifest itself as it does every year in voter apathy. The leaders of the Opposition have a moral obligation to fulfill, they must select a leader NOW.
Thanksgiving is only days away, before we know it December 9th will roll around and then the semester is over. While the Coalition (I/P w/ Voice endorsement) had great successes in the fall, no one can deny the looming fears of a split in the ranks come spring. Both of the major parties of the coalition have retained their sites, we saw some distinctions between the groups in months prior with the online voting bill(s), and even today I for one can draw distinct lines in the sand between Impact & Progress. Nonetheless an agreement must be reached and the Coalition must agree to exist for at least two years allowing for at least one candidate from each major party to run as the coalition presidential candidate. Anything shy of a two year agreement, in my opinion, would be to cheat one party in order to treat another. The hardest decision must be the first, the presidential candidate must be selected & agreed upon first and the selection must stand. When spring arrives the Coalition must be defined, 1 Party Name for the long haul, a full Exec. ticket for the long haul (this would include selecting honorable people that once having given their word will be expected to campaign hard and run for the posts they have been nominated for -- NO MATTER WHAT --).
In regards to the decisions that need to be made, I don't personally think it would be appropriate for the two parties to decide upon a candidate by merely agreeing to help each other out and by flipping a coin. I think the major parties should dialogue and hopefully arrive at an agreement that benefits both of their constituencies, embracing the bulk of the Opposition movement. But even at this point, when Impact & Progress have settled and are ready to move forward, I would stress the importance of keeping the Independent community (outside of I/P) included in some capacity (i.e., Voice, Iron Fist, etc) so as to not rudely silence the minority from being heard. Voice especially, having placed its already damaged SG-cred on the line to endorse Impact against the election-favorites and later registering in Fall only to petition its supporters to trust in leaders Duque, Gruskin, Patel, Rossi, & others to support Impact/Progress despite the fact that neither of these parties ever TRULY courted Voice voters. The manner in which the united Impact & Progress parties treat their smaller allies, Voice, should serve to measure the way they will come to treat the student body once elected in the upset that will wreak havoc on the elements of the status quo and bring the Ignite/Innovate/Gator dynasty crashing down in 2006.