Por QueEstelle Gonzales Walgreen
Alberto Needs A New Padrino!
The scandal plagued former U.S. Attorney General and loyal Bushie, Alberto Gonzales lands an obscure job helping minority college students find their way? ?POR QUE?
Amongst all the laudatory comments and praise of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, as the first Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court, was a story buried in the back pages of the news wires that caught my OJO and reminded me of the other Hispanic whose name was floated around to be the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice – Alberto Gonzales. No we aren’t related but do share the same last name; connected in the effort to Americanize our very Mexican names by both having “s” instead of “z” end our last names and also sharing the omnipresent Hispanic badge of honor, a great hard scrabble beginning. We also share the same cultural DNA requiring us to have padrinos, known in the American vernacular as godparents, throughout our life. What Alberto and I do not share is the plight of having a bad padrino or needing to exchange one for another along the path of life.
A phalanx of godparents surround most Hispanics, especially Mexican, Mexican-Americans, from cradle to grave, all taking solemn oaths and vows in front of God and family to look after their godchildren. I am sure Alberto, like I, has baptismal godparents, 1st communion godparents and maybe even some for his confirmation. There are even padrinos chosen to sponsor different elements of your wedding. The compadre system as it is commonly known is a life bond binding families forever, where at the very least you get stuff paid for and at its highest use garners advice, guidance and mentorship.
Knowing this cultural dynamic helps to understand why Alberto was never going to act independent as a U.S. Attorney General should and would and easily could justify torture and illegal wiretappings in line with his anointed padrino President George W. Bush. I and many others Gonzales’ clearly understood Alberto’s “lack of recall” when testifying before a Congressional inquiry because you never rat out your padrinos! Nonetheless, how embarrassing for each and every Gonzales out there.
It now seems that Texas Tech University has anointed Alberto Gonzales padrino to its minority students. “I am excited that Alberto Gonzales is bringing his experience to Texas Tech,” Kent Hance, Texas Tech’s chancellor, said in a recent statement. “His own upbringing in Houston as part of a migrant family with eight children makes him qualified to tell underrepresented Texas students that college is possible” What? Que? No mention of his lengthy legal career, okay, that might not be a good idea. What about the Rice University or Harvard law degree, no mention of that either. That it took Alberto Gonzales two years to find any ready employment as a former U.S. Attorney General; couldn’t sell a memoir or find a professional home in a high brow legal firm is a testament to his fall from grace and a clear sign to get a new padrino. Not even his padrino Bush was able to pull something better out of his hat, than a minority recruiter employment opportunity and a part-time teaching gig for his godson. Have no doubt; however, that padrino Bush did have his hand in this job placement regardless of its lack of luster, which speaks to Bush’s commitment to the compadre system which has benefited him greatly over the years.
Texas Tech University situated in Lubbock, Texas has many claims to fame from its illustrious research initiatives to its student body of approximately 26,000 to Bobby Knight and now they can claim a former disgraced-under-investigation U.S. Attorney General as one of their own. Maybe it’s no surprise that this year’s commencement speakers were none other than Karen Hughes, Bush confidante and Karl Rove, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff. Maybe the University was testing the waters to see if no one screamed in protest at Karl Rove on campus for an hour then bringing in Alberto full-time might not be a problem. PORQUE? – Why would they do something like this, even if they have him hidden in the diversity office? Of the 8.6 million Hispanic’s living in Texas they couldn’t find another qualified diversity officer? Its Board of Regents, that surely had a hand in luring Alberto out of unemployment and approving this hire, are all appointed by the Republican Governor Rick Perry. You know, the Rick Perry that was Lieutenant Governor and assumed the Governorship from Bush when he went to the White House.
In your adult years, godparents are done dispensing advice and are there for the birthdays and fiestas and if you are lucky you get a nice Christmas gift. I cannot recall any of my amigos receiving appointments to any State Supreme Court or a job in the White House from their padrinos, clearly putting my Madrina Leonora’s Wal-mart gift cards in a diminished light. From 1994 to 2007 Alberto Gonzales went from special advisor to the Texas Governor to the Texas Supreme Court to being appointed to the highest legal office in the U.S. all while Bush was either Governor or President. He rarely received recognition outside of his association with George Bush in spite of his great life’s journey from poverty to success and beating the Hispanic odds and going to college. It is this story that would have garnered him the most success and satisfaction in the future, if he could have only shaken off the shadow of his padrino.
I benefited from my padrino’s guidance in my youth and eventually did not need them to go to bat for me and I for them. Maybe if Alberto Gonzales would have realized that he also did not need his padrino he and the rest of the world would be in a better place today