Meet Rick Perry. He’s been the governor of the great state of Texas since Dec. 21, 2000.
Meet Hannah Treadway. She’s my little sister, who lives with my family in Oakville, Ontario, Canada and was born on July 20, 1999.
Gov. Perry and Little Sister Hannah seem like they have a lot in common — strong leadership skills, great hair and my best guess is that they’re both into watching cartoons.
While on the surface it seems like my 11- year-old sister and Perry aren’t so different, the obvious truth is that they couldn’t be more dissimilar given their age and, um, the fact that he’s the governor of Texas. Right?
I decided it would be a fun exercise to test how closely they align or differ on policy issues. To do this, I called up my little sister before she went to her soccer practice one day and asked her a few questions relating to Texas politics and various situations that Perry has addressed during his time in office. Although my little sister was born in Texas, she moved to Canada when she was a year old, so suffice it to say, she has little to no knowledge of current affairs in the Lone Star State.
To create an element of fun for the reader, I’m going to write out the question I asked my little sister, and then I’m going to put two answers. One will be the response my little sister gave me, and one will be a quote from our governor. I encourage you, the reader, to play along and guess who said what.
Question 1: What is Juarez, Mexico?
Answer 1: “It’s a place in Mexico. My dad says it’s not very safe.”
Answer 2: “Juarez is reported to be the most dangerous city in America.”
If you guessed that it was Hannah’s dad that told her that Juarez is not very safe, you are correct. In February, Perry delivered the second answer to reporters, but in fairness, it was an honest mistake that any politician who doesn’t speak in front of the media very often could have made. Now, moving on to question two.
Question 2: Who is responsible for the BP oil spill?
Answer 1: “From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”
Answer 2: “BP.”
Answer 2 belongs to my naive 11-year-old sister, who in her youth thinks oil companies that skirt regulations are accountable for their mistakes. Fortunately our governor, in all his experience, has enough perspective to realize that it could have just been God’s fault.
Question 3: There are wildfires going on in Texas right now, how would you respond?
Answer 1: “I would recommend we hire people to monitor the dry places where fires are more likely to happen so that we can quickly go to the fires and put them out. Maybe if we could know about the fires faster they wouldn’t grow so big.”
Answer 2: “It seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires.”
Answer 1 belongs to Hannah, who provides a relatively sound solution for a sixth grader. Perry, on the other hand, decided to issue a proclamation calling for three days of prayer in response to the fires, which is fine, except when it’s used as a primary mode of attack rather than a contingency plan. As Andrew Dressler, an atmospheric sciences professor at Texas A&M said, “I certainly don’t think that praying will hurt. My concern is that the Governor has no Plan B.”
Question 4: How much should it cost to get a University degree?
Answer 1: “I’m challenging our institutions of higher education to develop bachelor’s degrees that cost no more than $10,000.”
Answer 2: “Education’s really important. I’d say $10,000.”
Interestingly, both parties seemingly landed on an arbitrary number that happens to be $10,000. While many higher education officials have called Perry’s request to develop a $10,000 degree plan ludicrous given the cuts that have been made to education and the basic tenets of inflation, he can take solace in the fact that the number he came up with makes sense to at least one other person.
It’s thought by many that Perry will make a run for president of the United States in 2012.
It’s likely that Treadway will make a run for student council at her middle school in 2012.
Who would you vote for?