Saturday, January 22, 2022

‘Our politics have always been dirty and ugly:’ Robert Gates speaks up at William and Mary event

“Our politics have always been dirty and ugly:” Robert Gates speaks up at William and Mary event (WYDaily photo/Tom Davis)
“Our politics have always been dirty and ugly:” Robert Gates speaks up at William and Mary event (WYDaily photo/Tom Davis)

At 7:56 PM Thursday evening, four minutes before College of William & Mary President Taylor Reveley would welcome former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on to the Commonwealth Auditorium stage in the College’s Sadler Center, the Washington Post was reporting on the White House’s warning to Congress to prepare for a government shutdown, the New York Times was reporting on the 1000 point drop in the Dow and a ten percent correction in the stock market, and the world is hoping the Winter Olympic games will somehow reduce the chances of a world war.

This was the backdrop of Reveley and Gates’ hour-long discussion on the “state of political affairs”. 

Gates, a William & Mary graduate and 2012 Chancellor of the College, joined Reveley last year  around the same time to engage in an informal question and answer discussion, bringing the expertise of his long career that, in addition to Secretary of Defense, included being the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and president of Texas A&M University.

Gates is known to be candid, and was so to an attentive and full auditorium of approximately 400 people. 

Reveley and Gates covered a number of topics during the evening.  Below are video excerpts from some of the topics. 

How optimistic are you about the country’s future?  

Quoting Mark Twain about Congress   

Checks and balance on nuclear war  

Immigration and DACA  

Cybersecurity and American readiness 

Climate change

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