Believe it or not, after watching the two recent GOP debates, there are a couple of places where I agree with Perry. I find the possibility that he might be elected president horrific, of course, but I find myself on his side in two areas in which the other Republican candidates have attacked him.
The first is on the issue of giving in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who are pursuing their educations at Texas colleges and universities. This issue has also been controversial in North Carolina. Many of the immigrants who are in the United States illegally are among the hardest working people among us, doing some of the most backbreaking and unpleasant work for little pay and usually no benefits. What many on the right seem not to comprehend is that if we summarily eject those immigrants from the country, as most of them advocate, the effect on the US economy would be devastating, particularly in areas such as farming and food production. Undocumented immigrants are here, they will continue to be here, they are productive and contributing members of our society, they pay taxes (no matter what the right wants us to believe), and if they and their children want to improve their lives, get an education, and contribute to society at a higher level, then I believe that this should be encouraged, not prohibited.
The second issue is that of the vaccinations for the HPV virus for which Rick Perry issued an executive order in Texas. The order called for girls at the age of twelve to be vaccinated unless their parents opted out of the program. Other candidates have criticized Perry for this order, especially Michele Bachmann, who accused Perry of forcing the vaccinations on "innocent little girls" against their and their parents' wishes as a favor to the pharmaceutical company, Merck, that marketed the vaccine. This program is controversial among Republicans because the HPV virus is usually transmitted through sexual activity. The virus is a leading cause of cervical cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer since it is often undetected in its early stages.
While Bachmann and other conservatives see Perry's executive order as an invasion of parental rights, they should consider the catastrophic effects of cervical cancer that these girls could face later in their lives. Since the vaccination is no more invasive or risky than the other vaccines that are routinely given to almost all children, it should not be any more controversial than those other vaccinations.
As I have made clear, I am thoroughly and utterly opposed to Rick Perry's candidacy. It is almost painful for me to support his positions on anything. However, given the attention that has been focused on these two issues, I felt that I wanted to throw in my two cents on them.