The Power Delegate Conundrum

Hello, it’s Kyla speaking! We typically publish everything under the general MUN01 author name but for op-eds we decided we would go ahead and tag them by each of us. We will do the same thing for guest articles. Anyway, this is the first “opinion” piece that we will be publishing, so here goes nothing. I’d like to note that everything I say herein is my opinion and is not intended to cause any raucous feedback of how I don’t know what I’m talking about (though that may be true). I hope it’s entertaining and maybe will engender some pensive contemplation on your part, which is arguably the most pretentious thing I’ve ever said. On that note, let us begin.

Here’s the thing about power dels: we love to hate them. Why is that? They are powerful for a reason of course, often sweeping the room and guaranteeing themselves a place in the top three if not for sure the best del award. In theory, they are the delegates we should look up to and model our own debate, crisis, in-room actions, and styles off of. But in the real world of the circuit, or at least the one I participated in, it was typically used as an insult. The phrase “Oh, he is such a power del” was often coupled with an eye roll and a chorus of groans from anyone in the area. “So annoying”, “I can’t stand them”, so on and so forth. I myself have made these comments on many, many occasions. But in reflection isn’t that really weird?

We all want to be a power del, which is maybe where the issue lies. Is it jealousy? I think it may have been for me. As a moderately successful delegate (depending on your definition, I guess. Looking at you, kid with like 20 gavels from a school I can’t remember), I hate nothing more than being out-played. I am incredibly competitive, as I am sure most of you are as well. MUN tends to attract that type, well, unless you are a very kind GA delegate that really works off of cooperation and if so I value you don’t let the hyper-competitive kids get ya down. Anyway, I get super frustrated when I see someone running the room and completely swaying the movements of committee, but mostly because I wish it was me. It’s really hard to be self reflective while in the moment and take notes on why other people are succeeding. It’s far easier to just write them off as annoying and undeserving, though it’s very clear there are definitive reasons they are doing better than others.

However, I don’t think that’s really it, or at least all of it. I think there is a certain vibe that power dels put off that classifies them as such rather than just being seen as any other successful delegates. A bit of aggression, sly tactics, kissing up to the chair, quick to force their directives to the forefront and move the narrative regardless of what others may want; power delegates really do a number on other people’s morale in the stereotyped version. However, I do these things too. I think most of us do. We are all guilty of trying to finesse, and many of us (read: me) are guilty of being a bit, um, aggressive or cold when debating. 

Now, there is a big difference between being an ass in committee and being assertive or dominant. But I don’t think that many of those that fall into the former category are really all that successful. Therefore, are they even power dels? I feel like the term power del has shifted from describing someone who is successfully running a room to describing those who try to run a room in an assertive way and fail, making the experience worse for the rest of us. In my mind, though, that’s the weakest form of delegate. And there lies the conundrum of the power delegate, equally symbolizing good and bad delegates.

I’m not here to incite some revolution over the use of the term. I’m sure going to continue to use it in both a positive and negative way, because I do really think it has bits of both in the name. Here’s to the power dels and those of us who wish to be them, down with the weak dels that take on a power del facade to intimidate others, and long live the ridiculous complexities of MUN slang.

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