Texas A&M Calls "Here" For Late President George H.W. Bush

Texas A&M Calls "Here" For Late President George H.W. Bush

There's a spirit.

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As students like myself heard the news of President George H.W. Bush's death, we fell silent. Though we were not shocked by the news, we were halted by the reality finally hitting us.

TAMU had a surprising kinship with George H.W. and Barbara Bush. Neither of the two attended the school I call home. In fact, George was primed to be aligned with stereotypical East Coast exclusivity, growing up in Connecticut and enrolling at Yale.

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How did he grow to love College Station, arguably the opposite of his privileged northeastern origin?

How did he bond with the ideals of TAMU so much that he decided to hold his presidential library and his resting place here? (Personally, I can vouch for the inspirational potential of this presidential library.)

How was he able persuade all the living former presidents to travel to Aggieland in the sweltering heat of summer for a charity event? (I went to this event. It was awesome.)

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Despite seemingly different roots, Texas A&M and H.W. had a lot in common. In his essence, H.W. Bush was a devoted Navy man and public servant. At its core, the university's culture of respect and tradition finds its genesis in an earnest reverence of service for others – in the military or otherwise. It comes down to a mutual pride in something bigger than yourself; we have a kindred hope in humanity to improve with enough humble work.

This is the attitude with which H.W. Bush led the country in his term as Commander in Chief. Although many young people don't recall the highlights of his single term presidency, he excelled in foreign policy and used his qualifications to problem solve locally.

My favorite aspect of his politics remains his bipartisanship, a concept foreign to modern mindsets. He had the rare desire to reach across labels and unify the government. He inspired Democrats and Republicans alike towards policy and change, so much so that he received the 2010 Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. He made domestic mistakes in power. My university makes many mistakes, (trust me). This article isn't supposed to nostalgically gloss over reality in favor of a fantasy that never actually happened.

The reason the late President had a soft spot for my school is that TAMU and H.W. Bush both strived for similar ideals, always falling short, but always remaining steadfast in the hope to manifest to again the principles and the purposes upon which we act every single day.

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As President George H.W. Bush is laid to rest on December 6, 2018, I will lean into the shared ideals of Texas A&M; and the man who believed in us.

As an Aggie, it is my duty to pay my respects to a man who strove to respect human dignity. With pomp and circumstance throughout my town, his funeral will be a military procedure fit for a war hero. A&M; honors 41 because he lived to honor humanity, just as we should exert our efforts.

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50 One-Liners College Girls Swap With Their Roomies As Much As They Swap Clothes

"What would I do without you guys???"
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1. "Can I wear your shirt out tonight?"

2. "Does my hair look greasy?"

3. "We should probably clean tomorrow..."

4. "What should I caption this??"

5. "Is it bad if I text ____ first??"

6. "Should we order pizza?"

7. *Roommate tells an entire story* "Wait, what?"

8. "How is it already 3 AM?"

9. "I need a drink."

10. "McDonalds? McDonalds."

11. "GUESS WHAT JUST HAPPENED."

12. "Okay like, for real, I need to study."

13. "Why is there so much hair on our floor?"

14. "I think I'm broke."

15. "What do I respond to this?"

16. "Let's have a movie night."

17. "Why are we so weird?"

18. "Do you think people will notice if I wear this 2 days in a row?"

19. "That guy is so stupid."

20. "Do I look fat in this?"

21. "Can I borrow your phone charger?

22. "Wanna go to the lib tonight?"

23. "OK, we really need to go to the gym soon."

24. "I kinda want some taco bell."

25. "Let's go out tonight."

26. "I wonder what other people on this floor think of us."

27. "Let's go to the mall."

28. "Can I use your straightener?"

29. "I need coffee."

30. "I'm bored, come back to the room."

31. "Should we go home this weekend?"

32. "We should probably do laundry soon."

33. "Can you see through these pants?"

34. "Sometimes I feel like our room is a frat house..."

35. "Guys I swear I don't like him anymore."

36."Can I borrow a pencil?"

37. "I need to get my life together...."

38. "So who's buying the Uber tonight?"

39. "Let's walk to class together."

40. "Are we really pulling an all-nighter tonight?"

41. "Who's taking out the trash?"

42. "What happened last night?"

43. "Can you help me do my hair?"

44. "What should I wear tonight?"

45. "You're not allowed to talk to him tonight."

46. "OMG, my phone is at 1 percent."

47. "Should we skip class?"

48. "What should we be for Halloween?"

49. "I love our room."

50. "What would I do without you guys???"

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Gabaldon

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Democracy Dies In Civility

When the civility police start to make a fuss, don't fall for it—you're not doing democracy any favors.

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Content warning: discussion of sexual assault in the context of the Kavanaugh confirmation.

Earlier this summer, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made headlines when they attempted to go out to eat and found themselves targeted for their roles in the Trump Administration, with Sanders being refused service and Nielsen driven out of the restaurant by protesters. Just last week, the United States saw one of the largest mass assassination attempts on political leaders in its history, with bombs sent in the mail to around a dozen prominent Democrats by a radicalized, Trump-supporting extremist. In most ways, these two incidents had nothing in common. One similarity, however, was particularly striking—in both cases, the powers-that-be immediately jumped to calls for a return to an era of "civility" in our politics.

To those concerned with the health of our democracy, this should be extremely worrying. The vast majority of the American pundit class appear to be laboring under the delusion that political discourse is a black-and-white duality, with no middle ground between silent acquiescence to our nation's steady descent into fascism on the one hand, and acts of political terrorism on the other. If we are to avoid culpability for the latter, they claim, we must consign ourselves meekly to the former.

Beyond its sheer ridiculousness lies the more uncomfortable reality that this line of reasoning runs directly counter to the most basic principles of democracy. Democracy is meant to be messy. It is meant to stir up vitriolic, highly public debates about hot-button issues regardless of the time and place. It is meant to arouse the passions of the people, even at the expense of giving the appearance that society may be more divided than it once was. It is meant to do all these things, because the democracy we hold so dear is predicated on the understanding that when the people are given the freedom to express their feelings, whether of support or outrage, using the public stage as a platform, the nation is made stronger and the union more perfect.

Establishment calls for the return of civility to our politics accomplish nothing more than to uphold the bourgeois social norms that preserve the status quo and close the door on the tough conversations necessary to bring about fundamental and direly-needed social change. There are some issues—the legitimization and proliferation of far-right conspiracy theories by senior administration officials, grotesque human rights violations committed against refugees and asylum seekers, and now a pledge to end the constitutional protection of birthright citizenship, to name just a few—that by their very nature necessitate more than the limitations of "civil" discourse can offer.

They strike at the very core of what it means to be American, and as such they require citizens to take extraordinary measures to address them in full—by no means extraordinary to the point of political violence, which should never be condoned in a democratic republic, but certainly extraordinary to the point of loudly and publicly confronting the government officials charged with representing and serving us, even when such confrontations may prove uncomfortable or even humiliating for those individuals.

Case in point: Jeff Flake's role in the Kavanaugh confirmation. Although he ultimately did vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in an outrageous but entirely unsurprising betrayal of women and survivors everywhere, Senator Flake played a critical role in negotiating an FBI investigation into the allegations of sexual assault made against the judge. Fatally flawed and criminally incomplete though that investigation was, it is clear that we would not have even won that concession without the support of Senator Flake, which in turn would not have been secured had he not been cornered in the elevator by two heroic women who caused him to walk back his initial support for the judge by, in a now-viral video, confronting him about their own stories of sexual assault.

By any standard of "civility," these women's demands to "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" while physically blocking the elevator door from closing would be considered grossly out of step with traditional rules of etiquette for addressing a sitting United States Senator. But had these women not engaged in the incivility so feared by the pundit class, we likely would have won no investigation at all. Does it really matter whether the confrontation occurred in an office elevator or while the Senator was out for dinner with his wife? Regardless of what the civility police may tell you in an attempt to justify the moral incoherence of their position, the answer is no. What matters is that when the time came, these women did what was necessary and put civility aside so that they could send a message to the nation that no matter how powerful and well-connected you may be, the American people will hold you accountable for complicity in the legitimization of toxic masculinity and rape culture.

When they clutch their pearls and bemoan the death of civility, those with powerful platforms and large audiences at their disposal draw dangerously false equivalencies between citizens publicly confronting officials who, by virtue of their positions in a democratic republic, should expect such confrontations and extremist ideologues, radicalized to support violence and genocide in the darkest corners of the American political landscape, committing acts of political and religious terrorism. In so doing, they not only demonize First Amendment-protected free speech and thereby discourage citizens from engaging in such speech, but also severely minimize the very real threat posed by political terrorism (a threat which, while by no means one-sided, currently comes far more from the right than from the left).

Let me be perfectly clear—violence and threats of violence have no place in political discourse, civil or otherwise. But it is not a direct jump from "incivility" to the normalization of terrorism, nor is it even a slippery slope, and the understanding that whatever we say or do to the other side will be used by them as justification to treat us the same way can and should serve as a sufficient check on the most dangerous impulses of democracy.

After the Trump inauguration, the Washington Post changed its slogan to "Democracy Dies in Darkness." The pernicious effects that misguided calls to return to some mythical days of calm civil discourse have on the functioning of our democratic system, however, indicate that another tagline might be more appropriate—democracy, it seems, dies in civility.

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