China’s first democratic election of a third-grade hall monitor documented in Please Vote for Me

Tonight, after today’s historic inauguration of Barack Obama and television’s non-stop celebration of this part of our democracy, PBS’ Independent Lens will re-air a documentary that explores democracy in a very different context: China’s first-ever democratic election in a school, which is for a third-grade hall monitor.

The film, which is on DVD, follows the election of a hall monitor at the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China, where that position is typically appointed by teachers. The three teacher-selected candidates perform in a talent show, participate in a debate, and give a speech.

PBS says that their “campaign takes its toll, especially for the losing candidates and their assistants,” and that the film “challenges those committed to China’s democratization to consider the feasibility of, and processes involved in, its implementation.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Please Vote for Me [PBS]

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In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.