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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Student mind abductors

It’s 7:50 a.m. and I’m bitterly cold from my walk to campus. Even though it’s 30 degrees, it will top 80 degrees later, and I stupidly chose to dress for the afternoon. I’m wondering if it’s going to take Japanese subway stuffers in white gloves to cram me onto a Wehner bus when suddenly, I’m surrounded by a crowd of screaming banshees.
“What’s going on?” I wonder as candy pelts me and flyers buffet my face. “Vote smart, vote Martin!” yells one, frantically. Suddenly, I realize in horror: student body president campaign season has begun. Only an SBP candidate groupie would attempt to pseudo-rhyme smart with Martin. Worse yet, in my frigid stupor, I’ve walked right into Gig ‘Em Alley, the strip of Rudder Plaza between the Stark Galleries and Rudder Fountain.
I hate this time of year, and not just because I have to adjust my route to the buses. I hate seeing fellow students turn into raving, mindless acolytes trying to sell a candidate like a poorly marketed Aggie Messiah.
It used to be that if you avoided the main hotspots, Gig ‘Em Alley and Fish Pond Demilitarized Zone, you could dodge the worst of the zealots. Now they’re flooding my inbox on Facebook – there is no escape.
What is it that turns Ags into cultist fanatics? I think the obvious answer is brainwashing. It’s the only way to explain how former friends become the disciples of well-meaning, but woefully over-promising, wanna-be politicians.
For weeks, these collegiate crusaders hawk T-shirts and push free scantrons on unsuspecting passersby. Supporters of some candidates have been known to jump in front of oncoming bicycles in a desperate bid to hand the rider a flyer and spread their message. Others stand fast, holding bedsheet-sized signs in the face of College Station’s fiercest winds at risk of being carried away. Clearly, people would not put themselves in the way of a moving bike or stand in a windstorm holding what amounts to a giant parachute unless they were being controlled against their will.
Disciples also sometimes “chalk” the campus. This practice of drawing propaganda graffiti with chalk on sidewalks under the cover of darkness breaks campus regulations. Since Aggies live by the Aggie Code of Honor and are known to be good, law-abiding citizens, it’s clear that forces outside themselves must compel them to carry out these acts.
Followers are often militant, gathering en masse to perform ritual chants and dances called “yell practices,” which are meant to work them into a frenzy and strengthen them as a unit. Other times, a single devotee will be taken with mania and carry out a yell practice alone. Remarkably, a crowd of “willing” participants soon gathers.
This form of brainwashing, commonly referred to as “Aggie Spirit,” is prevalent at all times of the year. It’s best described as an unexplainable, localized phenomenon to non-Aggies and bewildered, badgered “two-percenters.” However, during election season, even many Aggies are left in the dark about what it all means, who cares and why we can’t ride our bikes through the MSC Breezeway anymore.
I oppose the use of brainwashing, especially against fellow Ags, so this year I’m going to vote for the candidate who didn’t try to buy me with free scantrons, hound me with Facebook requests or send a man in a gold bed sheet to accost me at 8 a.m. as I was running late to class.

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