One teenage girl, responding on Twitter to the news that the elected leader of Boys State earlier this month proposed a measure to repeal women’s right to vote, said this: “That’s wack.”
“Wack,” for those who don’t know, is a slang word, an adjective, meaning “messed up,” “crazy” or generally not good.
We agree with her.
Boys State is a mock government camp put on by the American Legion that in Kansas dates back to the late 1930s. It’s held every year at K-State. And we should mention that the girls’ counterpart, Sunflower Girls State, put on by the American Legion Auxiliary, started shortly thereafter. It’s held at the University of Kansas campus.
The 17-year-old governor of Boys State, Dalton White of Leavenworth, near the end of the simulation apparently tried to push through an executive order doing away with the 19th Amendment.
Of course, the measure didn’t go anywhere. It didn’t pass, and we hope since the whole operation is geared toward learning about government, he learned that it’s not possible for a governor to eliminate a constitutional amendment.
Boys State organizers responded appropriately, apologizing and calling the incident “a teachable moment.” White has not made any statement, so we’re not sure what he was thinking when he did this.
One teenage boy in a government simulation ultimately doesn’t have much effect on the real world, but this boy was elected leader by hundreds of his peers. He’ll likely be — or try to be — a leader in the future. And frankly, it’s embarrassing that something like this, which made national news, happened here.
The 19th Amendment passed 100 years ago this month. Kansas allowed women to vote eight years before that, becoming just the eighth state to do so.
That may seem like a long time ago, but equality for women is something the United States is still working to achieve.
We bet the young women at Girls State take that seriously. We hope that White and the other young men at Boys State will think about them in the future.