Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Beat the Hell out of Al Qaeda

I have a bit of a crush on Bob Gates. I mean President of A&M Gates. Or Secretary Gates. Anything but Bob. We're not really on a first name basis.

When I transferred to Texas A&M University, I could not have told you who was President of my new school for one million dollars. But, after I read the Texas Monthly cover story on him (published immediately prior to the annoucement that he was the President's nominee for Seecretary of Defense in Nov. 2006) I developed a huge soft spot in my heart for him.

Unassuming. Non-political. Respectful of tradition. Honorable. Inspiring. Brilliant. Loyal. Determined.

Most students that I knew at Texas A&M followed his nomination and clearance process extremely closely. I read an article in our school paper about how he took the weekend to think about accepting the position from President Dubya - Gates said he had to talk it over with his wife, and he wasn't sure he was ready to leave a place he loved so much: TEXAS A&M. He admitted to walking the campus late at night with tears in his eyes, knowing it was his duty to serve his country as the Chief of the Pentagon, but not wanting to believe he had to go to Washington.
In an emailed letter to all students, Gates had this to say:
""You already know that I am leaving this incredible university reluctantly and with a heavy heart. By the same token, Aggies more than anyone else understand why I must do so."
I saved that email in my inbox for the rest of my tenure as an undergrad. I can vividly remember standing among the crowd at his farewell "yell practice" (read: pep rally) with my roommates as we sang the fight song one last time with President Gates. A&M has a familiar, somewhat crass, chant- "Beat the Hell Out of ___(insert opponent here)!!" Good Ole Bob yelled out, several times, "Beat the Hell Out of Al Qaeda!"

The only reason he was leaving this university he had helped and loved so much was to fight a much bigger fight. He announced this past Monday, December 1st, that he will continue to serve in the Obama administration. What a brave man. He is a registered independent but has worked closely with both President George Bushes. He worked at one of the most conservative schools in the nation. (I googled this to make sure I wasn't exaggerating. Princeton Review listed TAMU as #8 on its list of "Socially Conservative" colleges for 2009.)
To get to the point- the great Robert Gates is definitely a middle-of-the-road type of guy. He'll be sitting next to Barack Obama, with Joe Biden on the other side, and across from the likes of Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton in the cabinent meeting room. Certainly harsh words and opinions will be cast around the room as quickly as you can say "Yes We Can!" Again, he is a brave man. I'm proud of his decision - and I'm proud of Obama for asking him to stay. I will say this: the cabinent meetings in 2009 are going to be ROWDY. In all caps.

Can I just take a quick second to ask - is Obama going to count this REGISTERED INDEPENDENT as his token "Republican" cabinet member that he promised the American public during election season?? Oh, wait, was that just fancy election-season rheotoric?
On behalf of Texas A&M, we're proud of ya, Bob Gates. We'll be watching. (Along with Al Qaeda.) Send us an email every now and then, would ya?

Oh- and a ps - found this quote, pay attention Dad:

"Were we to become a top ten university and lose that spirit, those traditions, our culture, we would be nothing more than another giant education factory. A big brain with no heart. Hell, we might as well be in Austin." -Gates 2004

1 comment:

kimberly said...

oh C-Rob... how I love you! And right on about Gates... ROWDY is the word for sure!