Rick Perry Confronted with Sexually Explicit Questions While Speaking at Dartmouth
Texas Governor Rick Perry was on-hand at Dartmouth college this weekend, speaking on the results of the recent election, only to be shocked by sexually explicit questions from the audience.
Perry addressed several points while speaking at the Ivy League school this past weekend, criticizing Obama's foreign policy, and looking at the results of the election as a chance for the GOP to regain Americans' trust,
From time to time you’d see a bumper sticker on a car out there that said, ‘Lord, if you’ll just give us one more oil boom, we promise not to fritter it away this time. I think that may have been what the message was Tuesday to the Republican Party — ‘Lord, if you’ll just give us one more opportunity to govern, we won’t fritter it away this time.
After opening the discussion to questions from the audience, Perry and many attendees were shocked at the questions asked, mainly attacking Perry's stance on homosexuality and gay marriage. Before the event, Dartmouth student Ben Packer distributed a list of questions he encouraged the students to present to Perry. According to Packer's handout,
The goal of these question is more or less to mock the individual and the event. Governor Perry likely has practice dodging high-brow political questions about his economic and social policy, especially given that he will have the final word. The strategy to undermine him should therefore incorporate a little trolling or subversion. Come up with your own questions, either funny or serious!
These are intended to mock the idea that a policymaker should have opinions on our sex acts.
This was followed by fifteen questions all attacking Perry's stance on homosexuality, his support of anti-sodomy laws, his corruption scandal, and his comparison of homosexually to alcoholism. The questions also included sexual propositions and graphic questions for Perry. Dartmouth senior and school newspaper columnist Emily Sellers asked Perry if he'd engage in anal sex for campaign contributions. Sellers defended her question,
In my view, it would have been a disgrace to an institution of higher learning to engage only in superficial discussion that helps mask offensive and oppressive views behind decorum...
When confronting those in power who actively disrespect the rights and humanity of others, any demand to civility is ironic. The questions were offensive because they confronted his actual policies. Why is our tone — as politically powerless undergrads — more offensive and shocking than his enacted homophobia as a man with incredible amounts of money and power? Respect in this context is not a paramount or meaningful concept. I'm not advocating disrespect per se — rather, that incivility can be an effective and appropriate tool for such circumstances. My questions were disrespectful, but I reject the notion that I should respect a man who holds power simply because he holds it. It should matter what he does with that power, and what he does is oppress people he finds icky.
Ben Packer defended the distribution of the lists, saying that Perry's views on the subject are more offensive than any of the questions he came up with. Packer also noted,
This particular question occurred in the background of Perry's moral opposition to anal sex (which we are criticizing), and was motivated by the fact that if Perry has any moral boundaries that have not been carefully selected by a team of campaign managers to appeal to specific constituencies, he has almost certainly had to violate those moral boundaries for campaign contributions.
Representatives from both the Republican and Democratic groups on campus found Packer's questions offensive and unnecessary. College Democrats president Spencer Blair was disappointed by the nature of the questions,
I think it’s really disappointing that anyone would undermine a serious political event with sexually explicit questions, and neither I nor anyone from College Democrats would ever condone such behavior. We appreciate Governor Perry visiting campus, as we encourage any sort of political engagement and discourse here at Dartmouth.