Noting that the powerlessness of whomever they elect maps perfectly onto real world politics, teachers and students at Pickerville Middle School told reporters that their sixth grade class election gave the middle schoolers an early taste of a real shadow dictatorship.
Students reported that they expected Bobby to represent a dramatic departure from the previous regime. “Bobby ran on a platform of longer recesses, less homework, and chicken nuggets for lunch in the cafeteria every day,” said Mary Lulitz, a sixth grader who supported Bobby in the election. “But nothing’s changed. It’s pretty clear that our principal, Mrs. Flint, is actually still in charge, which shows me that the status quo is upheld no matter who you vote into office.”
“It is very important that students understand how little their individual voices matter in the way political bodies run,” sixth grade teacher Ms. Pickford said. “We’re doing a unit right now on the American political process, and I think school elections really illustrate just how little political efficacy adults, elected officials included, have in real life. The students are beholden to the administration just as the American populace is beholden to the interests of business and capital. It’s a perfect analogy, and they have fun.”
As part of his responsibilities as class president, Bobby has weekly meetings with the principal, teachers, and other class presidents. “We don’t do a whole ton, but we get an extra half hour for lunch, which is pretty nice," Bobby said about the meetings. "Mostly we just plan fun things like school dances and ideas for spirit week. Whenever the conversation gets to be on more serious topic like curriculum or budgetary policy they say, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it so much. That’s up to the people with money.’”
Many sixth-graders have begun to suspect that the festivities such as school dances and spirit week created by publicly elected officials are intended to distract from the private individuals who are exercising their power from behind the scenes.
Even though they are by now well aware of the purely ceremonial nature of Bobby’s title, most of the sixth grade class is still glad the election was even held. “I’m glad we at least had the chance to elect Bobby,” said Ted Reston, who voted for Bobby’s opponent. “Not all classes even get to select a president. At least we had the illusion of choice.”
At press time the sixth grade class was in the midst of coordinating costumes for Spirit Week’s “Wacky Wednesday,” after hearing that the winning class would get ice cream sundaes.