Editorial: Stop booing: If political figures fail, you fail too

TexasMobileBaylor students are representatives of their university. It is up to those attending Baylor to shape the university’s reputation.

Everyone is entitled to their own political views, but this does not entitle them to disrespect, which is all too common. “Obama is a terrorist,” “Perry is an idiot” and other comments that cross the border of obscene are online daily. That does not mean Baylor students have to stoop to such levels.

On the contrary, we should embrace the values on which the university was founded. One such core value, listed on the Campus Living and Learning website, states that residential areas are “places that encourage dialogue about student differences and foster relationships across socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and religious lines.”

This extends to students living off campus with the phrase at the top of Baylor’s mission statement. It says, “The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”

Given Gov. Rick Perry’s recent arrest and the infamous “Smug Shot,” it is no surprise that people would have split opinions about him. That being said, it was still highly inappropriate for Baylor students to boo him as Perry stepped onto the fresh turf Aug. 21 prior to the game against Southern Methodist University.

There is a time and a place in which it is appropriate to voice strong opinions. However the first game of the season was not one of them. McLane Stadium was host to former President George W. Bush, Gov. Rick Perry, Waco mayor Malcolm Duncan, as well as some of the most prestigious Baylor supporters. To top it off, the game was nationally televised. Baylor students booing set a low bar at an important event.

This behavior extends beyond the booing incident, which was only noticeable from a small portion of game-goers.

It is easy for people to align to a particular side or party before actually researching what that side stands for. However, Baylor students should be above the easy route. Do research before criticizing, and even then, don’t bash. Politicians are humans. Humans make mistakes. It is inevitable. Students are able to avoid the mistake of appearing uneducated by refusing to give in to trashing figures in office.

Politicians are public figures. When they run for office, they are signing up for public scrutiny. This scrutiny is often accompanied by less than diplomatic comments and opinions. While it is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, for students to have varying opinions of politicians, it is not OK for them to succumb to nasty remarks.

Bill O’Reilly said, “ In this country famous people deserve no protection . . .” but he has also been quoted saying, “The Internet has become a sewer of slander and libel.” The first statement seems juxtaposed with the latter comment. However, both have truth to them. As previously stated, politicians are public figures and are in essence signing up for the vocal jabs they receive. However, this talk belongs where the second quote indicates: in the sewer.

The work of a politician is complicated. It is impossible for he or she to please everyone. Students should keep this in mind before letting foul words fly.