Traditionally, the secret organization known as the Machine has only endorsed candidates for the University of Alabama’s Student Government Association involved in their coalition; however, this year comes change.
The chatter has mostly been about the endorsement of Denzel Evans-Bell, a member of the traditionally African-American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, for the position of vice president of Academic Affairs. He, along with Will Pylant, the Machine endorsed candidate for vice president of Student Affairs, is a member of the non-Machine Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
The issue here is obviously transparent. The Machine is finally thinking outside the box; endorsing leaders that would have never been given a chance before is change, but can change be accepted even when it comes with the wrong intentions?
Evans-Bell is the first Machine-endorsed African American, and if he wasn’t, then the only place that more than half the student body would ever see his name would be when disregarding it on the ballot during election day. Just like every other non-Machine endorsed candidate.
Earlier, Evans-Bell stated to The Crimson White that he had no knowledge of being endorsed by the Machine, “If I do have that, I would be grateful for any support,” he said, and he is absolutely right.
Being endorsed by the Machine is the best thing that could happen to any candidate. For one, you get your name out. People who don’t even know who you are or what you stand for will vote for you, and the best part is, the non-greek student body that can’t stand the Machine and its corrupt coalition will vote for you just because they see your name on the ballot.
The past two years have been giant sores on the polished pride of SGA here at UA – from the exposure of Fowler’s community service trip to Pasadena during the time of the BCS National Championship Game to the resignation of Grant Cochran. If these were the crème de la crème of societies’ future politicians, then I’m excited to see who else we’re going to find leaning under a bathroom stall once they get a real Senate spot.
The idea of new leadership in the SGA is actually quite refreshing. The irony is that this was President Fowler’s main goal in his University address in 2010: “It’s time for students on this campus – black or white, greek or independent – to compromise, sacrificing pieces of their own interests for the common good.” Except in 2012, we’re still aiming for the common vote.
I’m assuming it’s safe to say the members of our secret coalition are meant to be the leaders of the next generation, but are these lackadaisical sores and unavoidable scandals really worth casting blind votes for?
It’s not that the Machine is scared they’re not going to get the votes they are already receiving. They understand that they are still the largest student organization. The only difference between this year and all the others is there is actually less transparency than there has been in the past regarding their decisions.
Call me a cynic, but the idea of Machine endorsement to non-Machine members doesn’t despise me from integration, it just reminds me that this is still a system that will cause leaders to do anything for support, and what is to be remembered is that this is not integration – this is politics.
Sophia Fazal is a junior majoring in anthropology.