Friday, Valdosta State University announced that Brian Kemp will be its incumbent commencement speaker. Once again, VSU is not “listening” to its students, and I, a member of The Spectator, am baffled. In fact, I find it ironic.
If you take a look at our editorial “Make commencement memorable,” on page two, from Thursday, you’ll see The Spectator’s top picks for speakers. The one we vied for most was Stacey Abrams, and why wouldn’t we?
But, it’s not as if he didn’t have any interaction with VSU. He sent a video congratulating VSU’s football team for its championship win and congratulated the team in person at the VSU Capitol Day. That being said, this announcement can’t be a coincidence.
That should make this a good thing, right? I mean, what’s not to love about the Georgia governor speaking at your commencement?
Maybe it’s the voter suppression allegations surrounding him. Maybe it’s the investigation led by the actual House Oversight and Reform Committee that stemmed from said allegations. Maybe it’s the fact that all this stemmed from him simply not stepping down as Georgia’s Secretary of State while running for office.
Even former president Jimmy Carter called his actions a conflict of interest running akin “to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections—that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial electoral authority.”
So should we run, yelling, “The governor is coming! The governor is coming!”—akin to Paul Revere’s signature phrase—or should we open ourselves to what he has to say?
I say listen. Yes, he’s republican, and yes, we know who his target election audience was—suffice it to say it wasn’t minorities—but political polarization has done enough to America.
We should open our hearts and minds to listen. Perhaps if we do, we’ll find something to help us on our journeys forward.
Just a thought. Later.
Story and photo by Bryce Ethridge, Content Editor.