In an opinion piece published by the Houston Chronicle on March 23, U.S. Secretary of Energy and former Texas Governor Rick Perry charged that the Student Government Association (SGA) of his alma mater — Texas A&M University — “made a mockery of due process and transparency” in conducting the recent Aggie student-body president elections for 2017-2018.
Furthermore, continued Perry, “The SGA allowed an election to be stolen outright.”
In his opinion piece, Perry summarized the chain of events: The original winner of the election, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified by the SGA Election Commission and Judicial Court after receiving 14 anonymous complaints accusing McIntosh of “voter intimidation.”
The commission, without conducting any investigation, disqualified McIntosh and declared the second-place candidate, Bobby Brooks, the winner. It afterwards added a second charge — also received from an anonymous complainant — that McIntosh had failed to provide a campaign expense receipt for glow sticks appearing in a campaign video on Facebook.
Perry followed up in article by noting:
Now, as someone who appointed university regents for more than a decade, I assumed that the administration would have briefed the Board of Regents, considering the allegations of widespread voter intimidation and the disqualification of thousands of student votes. If anything is worthy of oversight, these events should qualify.
Incredibly, it appears that the Board of Regents was never informed.
While media coverage of Perry’s criticism of the student election observes that Brooks is Texas A&M’s first openly “gay” student body president, in his article, Perry stresses that he had no qualms about Brooks being elected to the post — so long as his election was legitimate. He wrote:
When I first read that our student body had elected an openly gay man, Bobby Brooks, for president of the student body, I viewed it as a testament to the Aggie character. I was proud of our students because the election appeared to demonstrate a commitment to treating every student equally, judging on character rather than on personal characteristics.
As he delved into the details of the SGA’s elimination of McIntosh — who defeated Brooks by more than 750 votes — Perry came to the conclusion that the commission’s hasty disqualification of McIntosh with little evidence and without an investigation was based not on any proof of misconduct, but was rather part of the SGA’s “diversity” agenda.
In other words, it was the electoral equivalent of affirmative action.
Perry came right to the point when he wrote:
Now, Brooks’ presidency is being treated as a victory for “diversity.” 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 also portrayed several different scenarios to illustrate how the dubious charges used to eliminate McIntosh would have played out if he were a member of a protected minority:
Every Aggie ought to ask themselves: How would they act and feel if the victim was different? What if McIntosh had been a minority student instead of a white male? What if Brooks had been the candidate disqualified? Would the administration and the student body have allowed the first gay student body president to be voided for using charity glow sticks? Would the student body have allowed a black student body president to be disqualified on anonymous charges of voter intimidation?
We all know that the administration, the SGA and student body would not have permitted such a thing to happen. The outcome would have been different if the victim was different.
Perry did an effective job of publicly exposing and calling out the Texas A&M administration, which he said, “must explain why it stood passive while equal treatment was mocked in the name of diversity, and why officials did not brief the Board of Regents.”
However, when we consider the totality of his remarks, they are as indicative of how far our prevailing society’s values have drifted away from traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs toward morally neutral progressivism.
Consider Perry’s initial reaction to the news that Texas A&M’s student body had elected an “openly gay” man as its president. Did he lament the fact that a lifestyle once universally condemned by practically all Christian faiths (and their Jewish forebears) as being contrary to God’s will was now considered to be perfectly acceptable?
Even beyond moral considerations, until 1974, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) classified homosexuality as a mental illness. (After several years of lobbying and pressure from gay activists to the APA membership to change its classification, homosexuality was no longer listed in the seventh edition of the APA’s DSM-II (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), which was issued in 1974.
While Christian charity and conventional medical opinion might dictate that those with homosexual tendencies be given the opportunity to receive compassionate religious and psychiatric counseling — such compassion does not necessarily include Perry’s pat-on-the-back approach.
Remember, he said: “I was proud of our students because the election appeared to demonstrate a commitment to treating every student equally, judging on character rather than on personal characteristics.” (Emphasis added.)
If Perry were writing about race or ethnicity or gender (natural gender, not transgender) then he rightfully should have felt proud that the student body did not discriminate against the candidates’ inherent personal characteristics. However, being “openly gay,” is a behavior, not a “personal characteristic.”
So while no compassionate individual would advocate that homosexuals should be denied an education or any of the privileges associated with that education, to say that one should be “proud” of electing such an individual to the supreme leadership position among the student body is decidedly unorthodox.
Perry observed that campus diversity is something every school and student should strive to consistently improve. If by “diversity,” Perry means cultural diversity, and that diversity is a natural outgrowth of the diverse makeup of the population of Texas, few could disagree.
Perry’s condemnation of the obvious “fixing” of a student body election to create “sexual orientation” diversity is right on target. But he told only half the story. In trying to straddle the fence and adopt a “progressive” image, he ignored an unfortunate trend in our society and on our college campuses, a trend that says all morality and behavior is subjective and not subject to absolute biblical principles.
That trend, unfortunately, is nothing to be proud of.