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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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Images provided & from Creative Commons/US Department of Agriculture
Better President

Who was the best president? M. Katherine Banks, former Texas A&M president. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president. Craig, the ambitious incumbent president of my parents’ homeowners association, or HOA.

It’s a question I’ve frequently asked myself during my time at A&M. Three presidents, three vastly different leadership styles, three competitors for the title of “Best Pres.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What am I, a writer who normally avoids political topics like engineers avoid deodorant, doing writing about a highly disputed topic like this?

Well, my personal approach to political writing is what I like to call “bipartisan slander” — it doesn’t matter which side they’re on, clowning on them is a necessity. The one downside to that technique is that it’s difficult for me to come to any kind of conclusion — so that part is up to you, dear reader. Below, I’ve highlighted three contentious and politically relevant points between the three presidents. I’ll argue which politician has a hold on which point, and with that information you should be able to figure out who lays claim to the title of “best.”

A history of hand-to-hand combat

Folks who paid attention during 4th grade American history might remember that Abraham Lincoln was a successful wrestler, competing for over a decade in the ring and coming away victorious in all but one match. His impressive record may lead you to believe that he’s a shoo-in for this point, but Craig raises an important counterargument: he (Craig) used to wrestle in high school, and he even went to regionals once. It’s a fact most families in the neighborhood are familiar with since he’s fond of touting his record at all HOA meetings and block parties.

However, only one of these contenders ever made it into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame — and, believe it or not, it wasn’t Craig.

Middle names

Middle names, as politically relevant people like John Quincy Adams and Neil Patrick Harris have shown us, can be almost as important as first and last names. James Jones, for example, is someone to be ridiculed for eponymous alliteration, while James Earl Jones is a respected baritone villain.

Of our three contenders, we have quite an interesting competition.

Kathy, of course, goes by her middle name. This isn’t hard to understand when you realize that her first name is Margaret, so the only nickname options available to her are Maggie or Peggy, neither of which really strike fear into the hearts of all non-engineers. Lincoln actually didn’t have a middle name — he was clever enough to allow the strong syllables behind his first and last to stand for all three. Craig’s middle name might as well be something like Gretchen because he wouldn’t tell me what it was when I called him.

Is it better to lean on the credits of your middle name, like Margaret, or let your fore- and surnames speak for themselves, like Abraham? That’s up to you.

Suspicious of the U.S. Mail Service

This is a nonobvious point that I can deduce based on these individuals’ actions — namely, Banks’ refusal to open any of the packages I sent her during her term. I mean, sure, they may have been buzzing quietly, smelled vaguely like honey and marked “SHAKE WELL BEFORE OPENING” with Sharpie, but that’s no reason to ignore feedback from your loyal students.

Similarly, though less specifically, Craig neglected to open several of my packages during the duration of his dictatorship over my childhood home, making him a fierce contender for this point.

The legacy left behind

Who left the greatest legacy for those that followed?

For America, the clear answer is Lincoln. Neither Craig nor Banks ever came close to Lincoln’s notoriety or his national success. Though they tried with hobby wrestling and the Path Forward, Lincoln takes the cake for the U.S.

However, for my childhood stomping grounds, Craig clearly earns this title. His war against trash cans and cars parked on the road will be legendary for days, maybe even weeks after his reign ends. He’ll leave an important, self-serving tradition to be assumed by the next HOA president.

For A&M, Banks wins. I suspect we will never again be gifted with another president with her triangle-inspired hairstyle, her aversion to dresses or the blessed rhymability of her last name — the latter being a point that I, as a writer, really enjoyed.

But who left the greatest legacy of all? I don’t know, but what I can say is that each of these contenders has strong cases. Well, I’ve done what I said I would — I’ve laid all the facts bare and made a case for each of these three presidents. But as for who receives the top prize … that’s up to you.

Charis Adkins is an English junior and opinion columnist for The Battalion.

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