COVERAGE OF THE NEW RIDGEMONT HIGH STUDENT-BODY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
September 30, 2020, 1:45pm, PST.
Location: The circle drive, in front of New Ridgemont High. Tom Rosen is sitting on top of a great stone horse that stands fifteen feet high off the ground, on a grassy island in the center of the drive.
Tom: [Reclining and whistling]
Chloe Gold comes through the front doors and crosses the drive to the statue, where she stands, looking up at Tom, her arms crossed in front of her chest.
Tom: I was wondering when you’d come looking for me.
Chloe: Hi Tom.
Tom: So, I guess you heard.
Chloe: Yeah…I couldn’t believe it at first, when Fran said it. I told her she was crazy.
Tom: You hanging out with greasers now? Aren’t you worried about your image?
Chloe: That’s not fair, Tom. You know that’s not me.
Tom: Sorry. Just making sure.
Chloe: And why are you suddenly “unsure” about me?
Tom: This whole running for Student Body President thing. It’s not really your style is it?
Chloe: Funny, I was thinking the same thing about you. You don’t want to be Student Body President.
Tom: No, of course not. I can’t think of anything worse.
Chloe: So, why are you doing it?
Tom: Because you can’t run unopposed, and I’m the only one who has a prayer of beating you.
Chloe: And why can’t I run unopposed?
Tom: Because then you wouldn’t really have won.
Chloe: Are you sure that’s the only reason?
Tom: I’m never sure of anything.
Chloe: Tom, I haven’t seen you since we started New Ridgemont High. Haven’t passed you in the halls. You aren’t in any of my classes. The first day, I looked for you around the clothing tables, you were nowhere to be found.
Tom: I already have clothes.
Chloe: We’re supposed to be wearing ‘80’s clothes.
Tom: The clothes I wear fit into any time period.
Chloe: Is that how it’s gonna’ be, Tom? You’re gonna’ float through this school too?
Tom: From what I recall, you did plenty of “floating” with me, back at Beverly Hills. You weren’t exactly on the School Spirit Committee.
Chloe: This isn’t Beverly Hills. It’s better. Way better.
Chloe: [Snorts] Cynical as always.
Tom: Not cynical. Careful.
Chloe: Well, I happen to believe in New Ridgemont High; in what Will is trying to do.
Tom: So, it’s “Will” now, is it?
Chloe: Everyone calls him that.
Tom: Really? Everyone?
Chloe: He’s … progressive.
Tom: That’s one word for it.
Chloe: Okay, let’s say I’m a Friedman groupie. So what? There’s a lot worse things I could be.
Tom: Fair enough. I’ll lay off the subject of your Friedman-crush.
Chloe: You still haven’t explained why you’re running for Student Body President.
Tom: I told you. You can’t run unopposed, and I’m the only one who can beat you.
Chloe: Yeah, I think that’s half bullshit.
Tom: Okay, there is another reason.
Chloe: I’m all ears.
Tom: You’re a true believer, Chloe, and if you become President, you’re gonna’ hop right into bed with the administration. [Sees the look on Chloe’s face.] I guess I shouldn’t have put it that way.
Chloe: I’m sure it was just an innocent mistake.
Tom: Student government should provide a check against the administration, not collaborate with it.
Chloe: At any other school, I might agree with you – at Beverly Hills High, I would definitely agree with you – but not here.
Tom: I don’t think it matters what school you’re in.
Chloe: How can it not matter?
Tom: Because it’s a matter of principle. No one should ever trust any administration that much.
Chloe: This isn’t a normal administration or a normal school. Will created this school, because he hates what the “normal” schools have become. New Ridgemont High is completely student-centered. You can’t act like he’s some kind of typical dickhead principal.
Tom: You’re right. It’s still a matter of trust though, even of whether he can trust us.
Chloe: I’m not following you.
Tom: That man cares about this too much, Chloe. He’s too invested. And that’s when you let your guard down; when you make mistakes. Bad ones. Can he trust that we’ll tell him when we think he’s making a mistake? That we’ll even oppose him, if it’s the right thing to do?
Chloe: You think I wouldn’t tell him, if I thought he was wrong? That I wouldn’t oppose him, if I thought that something he was doing was bad?
Tom: I think you would. I’m just not sure you could.
Chloe: That doesn’t even make sense.
Tom: Only if you use logic. I don’t.
Chloe: Well, this certainly is going to be an interesting campaign.
Tom: It’ll be fun, and whoever wins will be the better for it.
Chloe: The school will be the better for it. You’re a tough debater.
Tom: [Laughs] Thanks! Hey, it’s 2:00. Don’t you have a class now?
Chloe: Holy shit! You’re right! [Runs for the front doors and calls back, over her shoulder] See you on the campaign trail!
Tom: You certainly will. [Reclines and starts whistling again.]
Editorial from The Standard, October 5, 2020.
Wait and See
At least for the time being, The Standard is not endorsing a candidate for Student Body President. Undoubtedly, both of the candidates — Miss Gold or Mr. Rosen — would do an outstanding job. In many ways this is fortunate: it means that rather than being forced to choose the lesser of two evils, students can actually weigh the candidates on their substantive positions and make their selections on the merits.
But this same point can also be turned into a negative: With candidates who are so equally matched on the merits, it may be tempting to vote on the basis of looks or other similarly non-relevant factors. And given the slickly produced advertising released by the two campaigns, plus the candidates’ significant wealth — Gold and Rosen both hail from Beverly Hills — this would seem a pertinent concern.
This election poses an additional challenge to voters. Because New Ridgemont High is a brand new school, there are no ongoing concerns; no existing grievances; no popular causes; none of the sorts of things that would normally provide the issues for the campaign; the points over which candidates could disagree and take contrasting stands.
It is lucky, then, that Miss Gold and Mr. Rosen have chosen to make this election about their governing philosophies. Not only will this give them — and us — something to talk about, as the campaign unfolds over the next several weeks, it will allow us to have an important conversation about what we want Student Government to be: what role it should play; what sorts of issues it should take up; what it’s relationship should be with the administration. And if the candidates’ early statements are any indication, they have considerably different views on all of these subjects.
Miss Gold and Mr. Rosen have agreed to take part in a debate that will be moderated by Mitch Bennett, with The Standard’s editorial board posing their own questions, as well as questions submitted by NRH students. (To submit your questions, simply type them on a piece of paper and send them by interoffice mail to The Standard, in an envelope labeled “Debate Questions.”) We hope that everyone will attend what is sure to be an exciting and informative debate.
No group of students will ever have the opportunity to directly affect the future of New Ridgemont High as we will, in this election. We strongly encourage everyone to get involved and to come out and vote on election day.
October 10, 2020, 9:00am, PST.
Location: The main hall of the science wing. Jaime Cohen, Nicole Parker, Jon Baron, Sandy Kendel, and Mike Neuman are talking with Mitch Bennett about the election.
Mitch: So, are you guys all planning on voting in the election?
Jaime: You know it. Anything to keep Chloe Gold from winning.
Nicole: Jeez, Jaime. You’ve been doing nothing but dump on that girl since she made cheerleading.
Sandy: Longer than that, Nic. She’s been on an “I hate Chloe Gold” tour, ever since she laid eyes on the girl.
Jaime: I can’t stand “teens with causes,” OK? Sue me.
Mitch: Are there any other reasons you’re voting for Tom Rosen, or is it just because he’s the not-Chloe-Gold candidate?
Nicole: I’ll give you a reason. He’s fucking gorgeous.
Jaime: That is not the reason.
Nicole: Right. That’s why you have his face plastered all over everything you own. Tom Rosen stickers on your loose-leaf folders. On your car. You’re even wearing a Tom Rosen pin, for god’s sake.
Jaime: I’m campaigning.
Nicole: [Laughing] Jaime Cohen campaigning. That’s like “Jaime Cohen volunteering in the Homeless Shelter” or “Jaime Cohen reading to blind people.”
Jaime: Hey! I’m philanthropic!
Nicole: Buying vintage clothes at the thrift store doesn’t make you philanthropic.
Jaime: So, what? You’re voting for her?
Nicole: I like her attitude, OK? She’s cool. She’s pretty. She’s got school spirit and isn’t obnoxious about it. She just wants everyone to have a good time.
Jaime: Christ, Nic, you really drank that Kool Aid didn’t you?
Nicole: Whatever, Jaime.
Mitch: How about you guys? Who are you voting for?
Jaime: Fuck! How much is that girl’s ass worth to you?!
Jon: It’s a nice ass, you have to admit.
Sandy: I agree with Nic. She’s got a good attitude. And she’s one of us.
Jaime: She is not one of us. Don’t let all that money fool you. She’s looking out for the basket-case population, not you and me. [Looks at Mitch] No offense. I know you’re friends with her.
Mitch: I’m just a reporter here.
Mike: Well, I’m voting for Rosen.
Jaime: Finally! A rational person, who doesn’t have T&A on the brain.
Mitch: Why, Mike?
Mike: I don’t buy into this whole thing that she’s so gung-ho about. New Ridgemont High’s fine, but it isn’t all that. I didn’t have any problems with Central.
Mitch: You don’t like the freedom? The lighter rules? The open campus?
Mike: None of that means much to me.
Mitch: Why not?
Mike: ‘Cause you could always get around it, at Central. Yeah, there were rules and cops and shit, but Coach could get us out of anything: classes, tests, trouble, whatever. Didn’t bother me.
Mitch: You play football, right?
Nicole: He’s just mad ‘cause there’s more work at this school. Poor little Mikey actually has to study to get his “A’s.”
Mike: Well, I think it’s bullshit. We used to have tutors, special study halls, stuff like that. The teachers took care of us. Not in this place. Everyone’s a hardass.
Nicole: Bobbie Novak is not a hardass. Sal Levy is not a hardass.
Mike: You know what I mean. Why do we have to know all this shit anyway? The Cold War? It’s fucking over. And retro programming? What the hell am I gonna use Fortran for? Four years required foreign language? Do I look French to you?
Sandy: Can one look French?
Mike: You know what I mean.
Sandy: Learning French has done great things for me.
Jaime: [Snorts] Right. It got you into that French exchange student’s pants at my party last month.
Sandy: Well, that’s a great thing, isn’t it? I thought it was pretty great.
Mitch: So, why don’t you agree with Mike, Jon? You play football too, right? Don’t you miss the perks?
Jon: I don’t give a shit about my grades, man. UCLA’s already recruited me, so I’m set. And I like the free periods. I can go down to the shop and work on the cars. Principal Friedman’s asked us to keep his ’67 Mustang in tip-top shape.
Jaime: Jon, your dad’s an Exec at Universal. You can buy any fucking car you want.
Jon: I know this is hard for you to believe, Jaime, but I actually like working on cars.
Jaime: So, why don’t you hang out with the greasers? They’re always down in the shop.
Jon: ‘Cause you Star Crew chicks are hotter.
Sandy: Ha ha!
Jaime: Great. Just fucking great.
Nicole: You asked for it, sweetie. Live by the clique, die by the clique.
Jon: He did say we should be honest. You did say that, right, Mitch?
Mitch: Absolutely, man. Absolutely.