This is the fourth Student Government election process in which I have contributed to the Texan’s editorial coverage. There has surely never been a campaign quite like this one.
The past has seen a lot of — and I use this word quite seriously — bullshit. Three years ago, we had a joke of a campaign between two identical candidates who only spewed out useless bromides. Two years ago, we elected the editor of the satire publication as a joke (though I did vote for him). Last year, the Tower committed a coup against the students by, in conduct befitting of a banana republic, invalidating an election for unknown and ambiguous reasons.
But most offensive to the students, the issues discussed were superficial and frivolous.
“What starts here?” was the first question Riley Brands, the editor-in-chief in 2015, asked in our editorial interview that year to the candidates. One can imagine the non-answers that were received.
The first question Alexander Chase, the current editor-in-chief, asked this year in the editorial interview was what the candidates would do to combat rising white supremacism and violence against Muslim students on campus.
We live in a different world now than we did even last year. College students vying for SG are being asked how they will fight back against neo-Nazis, what to do if our fascist president forces Muslims to register with the federal government, and how they would respond to ICE showing up at Jester and going door-to-door rounding up undocumented Longhorns, pulling them out of their dormitories and out of the only land they have ever known.
For these reasons, I cannot support the ticket of Blake Burley and Robert Guerra. I am impressed by their passion, and believe that they possess the best of intentions, but their emphasis on staying apolitical is simply unacceptable in these dark, sobering times. Pericles’s ancient quote about politics taking an interest in you, even if you do not care for it, feels relevant. Our new executive alliance must be willing to passionately, unequivocally stand up for students, no matter who they are — just as Kevin Helgren has.
The ticket of Isaiah Carter and Sydney O’Connell would be great for this University. However, their positions on “hate speech,” as explained in the Texan, could lead to a troubling clampdown on free speech at this University. And the so-called “email scandal,” though I think it is a bunch of malarkey, could prove distracting.
Likewise, the ticket of Alejandrina Guzman and Micky Wolf seeks to represent and fight for all students. I take pause, though, at Guzman’s previous support for both the hateful Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement and a dunderheaded move to kick the Young Conservatives of Texas off campus following their shameful antics. (Wolf opposed both these measures, and the ticket now reassures us that they have adopted Wolf’s position.)
Ultimately, I was most impressed by Guzman and Wolf’s passion for protecting their prospective constituents. They promised to register as Muslims if the dreaded registry comes about. They promised an initiative aimed at protecting undocumented Longhorns.
Carter often discusses separating himself from his office. This is misguided. We elect leaders because of who they are. Guzman and Wolf, I believe, will bring their unique perspectives and views to the office, and those traits, those views will be among their main strengths.
Vote for Guzman-Wolf.
Horwitz is a first-year law student from Houston. He is a senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @NmHorwitz.
Vote March 1 and March 2 at utexasvote.org.