As I sit in Abe Snobar’s office, listening to the soon-to-be presidential candidate describe the volatile landscape of student politics, I could think only of a quote by British politician Roy Hattersley: “In politics, being ridiculous is more damaging than being extreme.”
Snobar is straightforward — the upcoming election is split into three camps. He describes the group of Canadian Federation of Students-loyals, tired and bruised from a semester of infighting.
He says this is Nora Loreto’s camp, and consequently, the camp of his main competitor — Chris Drew. “That’s the refugee camp,” he says, quickly adding that it was a joke.
To Snobar, the other camp is obvious. “There’s my camp, or the one I belong to.” He pauses. “And that’s a pretty big camp.” And he’s probably right. He has the largest student organization, the Ryerson Commerce Society, on his side (led by the equally charismatic younger brother, Abdullah).
When fellow news editor Adrian Morrow mentioned this to Loreto, she was quick to respond: “Claims made by an egomaniac at this point shouldn’t be taken too seriously.”
A point that leads well into Snobar’s third camp in Ryerson’s student politics — the people who have lost interest in student politics all together.
Although Snobar said that he’d like to think these people are in his camp, the disengaged students shuffling down Gould Street show otherwise.
The RSU has acted as a petri dish of Hattersley’s notion. There are two camps, one proudly waving the CFS’s flag, and the other that is fixed on burning it off Ryerson’s poles. Both groups have alienated the bulk of the student body.
Hattersley suggests that extremists will aways find someone bold enough to follow their cause. But at Ryerson, extremism has polarized the believers to a select few, leaving thousands of students with nothing to pledge allegiance to but ridiculousness itself.
And so the Eyeopener asks any student who has lost interest in school politics to run for RSU president, preferably on a platform of ridiculous ideas.
The paper will endorse you, and with hope, more students will listen.