Secretary of Energy and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry decided to rain on the parade of a student election.
This past week, when Texas A&M named a new student body president, Perry questioned the legitimacy of the process.
Bobby Brooks of Belton won the seat after original winner Robert McIntosh of Dallas was disqualified for an expense report violation. A student judicial court ruled in the case and found McIntosh guilty.
Due process was served, but Perry, an A&M alumnus, decided to say his 2 cents.
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“It is difficult to escape the perception that this quest for ‘diversity’ is the real reason the election outcome was overturned. Does the principle of ‘diversity’ override and supersede all other values of our Aggie Honor Code?” Perry wrote in a Houston Chronicle op-ed.
His question might sound reasonable, but his words open some worrisome doors.
The election made Brooks the first openly gay student president of A&M. Perry’s quip about the “quest of ‘diversity’” belittled that event unnecessarily.
Government officials butting in on local affairs isn’t new, or even surprising, but it can do damage.
A disturbing trend has emerged: Teenagers or young adults achieve something striking and progressive, like an openly gay student body president or an inclusive prayer room at school, but then a public official finds ways to tear it down.
New transgender guidelines for the Fort Worth school district? Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick starts to rant.
Prayer room used by Muslims and others in a Frisco high school? Attorney General Ken Paxton complains.
Gay A&M student president? Perry questions.
By attacking young people’s attempts at living in the modern age, public officials are unintentionally creating a divisive and potentially toxic environment for our future.
That cause-and-effect can instill the perception that being socially progressive and inclusive can open you up for damaging political backlash.
We shouldn’t allow young Texans who pursue their goals and dreams to be undermined and turned into election fodder.
We want to foster ambition, bravery, inclusion and forward thinking. This is not the way to achieve that goal.