Texas A&M University recently elected their first openly gay student body president—Bobby Brooks. Rick Perry, the former Republican governor of Texas and current head of the Department of Energy, also attended Texas A&M (40 years ago) and thus felt compelled to comment on the news, according to The Slot.
Brooks was elected after the first-place winner of the student elections, Robert McIntosh, received 14 accusations of voter intimidation and was charged with failing to document the purchase of glow sticks he used in a campaign video. “All of these decisions were made by their fellow students, who serve on a judicial court for student body government conflicts,” according to The Slot.
In an op-ed for The Houston Chronicle published Wednesday, Perry criticized the election process and those who carried it out for not respecting the true nature of diversity. “Every Aggie [student at Texas A&M] ought to ask themselves: How would they act and feel if the victim was different?”
By conveniently swapping out a number of marginalized social identities that Perry seemingly thinks are interchangeable, Perry exposes his complete lack of awareness of the systemic prejudices faced by LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and people of different ability, class and educational background.
In the piece, titled “Did A&M shun due process in the name of ‘diversity’?,” Perry claims to have been impressed and humbled upon hearing the news that Brooks was elected. “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.”
Perry is also an apparent expert on all things ~diversity~ related (it’s not a buzzword you get to employ as you see fit) given his privileged background. I’m not making this up. “Campus diversity is something every school and student should strive to consistently improve. But it must be done the right way,” Perry writes.
Perry has a well-documented anti-gay history, so it’s relatively unsurprising that he felt the need to criticize his alma mater’s student government election practices by releasing this op-ed.
Um, due process seems to me like exactly what was carried out here. As reported by The Battalion, a student-run publication at Texas A&M, the student government judicial court voted unanimously “to uphold the election commissioner’s decision to disqualify Robert McIntosh.”
Texas A&M students themselves are unclear on why Perry wrote the op-ed. “Honestly, we were just surprised to see that the secretary of energy would take the time to weigh in in detail,” said Amy Smith, Texas A&M’s senior vice president of marketing and communications, to the Texas Tribune.
This is just tiring, honestly. White manly man feels threatened that gay person could hold a position of power, white manly man writes angry, chauvinistic rant, people respond saying they don’t understand why he’s spending time on this at all. Same! I’m bored!