THE PICKERING FILES: The Machine (Part 3/3) THE PICKERING FILES: The Machine (Part 3/3)
To read part 1 of this article, click here. To read part 2 of this article, click here. Although satirical in nature, all facts,... THE PICKERING FILES: The Machine (Part 3/3)

To read part 1 of this article, click here.

To read part 2 of this article, click here.

Although satirical in nature, all facts, names, and organizations used in this story are entirely true. This story aims to expose a well-established political machine that has been selecting the Student Body President for years. Public information used in this exposé was found via AggieNetwork, Facebook, the Battalion, and organizational websites.

This final letter was delivered late last night, March 16th, to Mugdown HQ addressed from former Student Body President, Jeff Pickering. We found it tied to the leg of a jet black raven. We have no idea where Jeff Pickering is that would require the use of a raven to deliver a letter, but it’s inspired us to figure out how we can start sending all of our letters by raven. The following are the unaltered contents of his letter:

I have brought a lot to light to student politics over the last few weeks. Like a swarm of moths, the student body continues to flutter into the flame year after year. My goal is not to comment about whether The Machine is a good or bad thing. I am and always have been an incredibly unbiased person in these matters — I just wanted to make you aware. If I felt the need to write a politically biased letter, I would have already submitted it to the Battalion.

I feel as if you’re ready to know this. Despite being in AMC, I was not the Machine’s candidate my year. That honor belonged to my opponent who would have won if it weren’t for those meddling kids . . . and the fact that he got disqualified for trying to game the system. Turns out the establishment frowns at a candidate buying out the domain names of his competition before the election starts. Every so often The Machine needs to be fine tuned . . . like all well-oiled machines should.

This final letter is not as much an exposé as it is a chance for me to ensure students know how the game works. If you do not know that the whole election process is a game, then you may want to read my last two letters. Or, stop being so ignorant and trusting. Elections are a complex, often brutal game. And, in the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

I don’t mean to sound too negative. Many of the men that are chosen have been great figureheads for the University. But, more often than not, that is all they are — talking heads with great hair. Take a look at the platform for Mark Gold’s 2009 Machine campaign.

More bus routes. Increased transparency. Later library hours. Better dining services.

Sound familiar?

Five years later, we are still fighting for the same things. Is that a reflection of those men? Is it a reflection of the Student Senate? I honestly do not have answers to these questions. I just bring them up to prove a point. You may think you are voting for the best man for the job, but as someone who has served as SBP, I can tell you there is no such thing.

Student government is just that — government. Look at America, even with a great president, it takes a lot of pieces falling into place to make change happen. It starts with the administrators. It starts with faculty. It starts with you.

Well, it should start with you. Voting turnout has declined from 15,000 in 2012, to 13,000 in 2013, to the measly 10,000 this past spring, losing over 10% of the student body in just the last two years. And, with only a fifth of the student body voting each spring, The Machine is easily able to mobilize the votes it needs to put the candidates they want in office.

So, The Machine continues. One small demographic continues to elect the leaders of this University. These letters aren’t about whether the Machine is good or bad, necessary or not. It is about awareness and about seeing real change come to this campus.

This is my last letter for a while, seeing as how I am pretty sure I’m dead by now, but I will be back.

When the school is in shambles, brought to its knees by a stupid senate bill, more election drama, or God forbid, Rick Perry becoming president of the University, I will be there. Like the full moon, I come in the darkest of nights, bringing everything to light.

As Frank Underwood says, “Democracy is so overrated.”

Per angusta ad augusta,
Jeff Pickering ‘12

To read part 1 of this article, click here.

To read part 2 of this article, click here.


Mugdown Staff

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *