“We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be sick and tired of winning!”
I’d class the latter statement as a bit of an alternative fact. From the pursuit of happiness to fighting fascism, we live to win. Anything to the contrary is a sickness and tiredness of life.
From presidential races to our very own YUSU elections, competing ambitions unite us in the most paradoxical sense. Here at Grimston House, the endless supply of student ambition has given us 16 pages in which to speculate, pontificate, and produce fancy bar charts. Seems like we’re all better off from the rat race, surely?
But the smoke, mirrors and cardboard signs will render this one truth ignored: in this year’s election of the next YUSU President, six candidates will lose. Every winner of sabbatical or part-time office will leave behind, on average, three other contenders. There’ll be coronations, shock upsets and club night promotions galore, and democracy’s savage habits will leave dozens rewardless.
By no means will this present a permanent blight on our hopefuls’ careers. We’ve seen the rise and fall of Tron, and the reverse is just as plausible. Ed Balls lost both his seat and the chance to be Chancellor, but has since become an all-dancing national meme (I’m not sure which I’d prefer).
Of course, when victory is repeatedly denied to many, a fart of populism can engulf a nation. Consider it a last-resort win for (some of) the masses. But allow me this generalisation: we are by no means part of the ‘left behind’ legion that led to Trump and Brexit. As members of, or candidates for, the middle class or above, we hope to gain our victories by more privileged means.
Actualising that hope will entail many losses. Reader, how many times has your CV been rejected? I, for one, lost in my bid to become Nouse’s Managing Director last summer. Had I won, though, you wouldn’t be subject to this esoteric monologue. I think we all got what we deserve out of that.
So therein lies an alternative route: just redefine ‘victory’. Is the world truly black and white enough to substantiate its winners and losers? Like most of what we study at York, it’s probably a social construct. That gives us total liberty to define our goals, with the remit to reach them by our own measures.
Which leaves us with two, mutually non-exclusive paths to victory: rerun and redefine. If the odds are against you 11/1, the trick is to go for it at least eleven times. Failing that, find a different betting market. This secret to success will secure the brightest of grad jobs for our YUSU election candidates, and has so far given us the light bulb, this monologue, and Craig David.
I never said it was always for the best.