An Ex-Soldier’s View of World Events

By Yvette Mendoza, November 16, 2021

With another semester wrapped up, a few of the LEAP Ambassadors headed to Houston for–of course–another World Affairs Council event. We arrived a bit early, as we try to do, and we enjoyed the Christmas ambience.

As with all WAC events, we were learning about foreign affairs, but this time it was from an ex-soldier’s point of view. And not just any former soldier: Dan Crenshaw.

Representative Crenshaw was introduced by WAC Director, Maryanne Maldonado, who welcomed us all to a wonderful lunch and program.

Congressman Crenshaw was a part of SEAL Team 3 that served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was injured while serving, leaving him with only one working eye, an outcome resulting in his ever-present patch–and two Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Valor.

After retiring in 2016 from the military as Lieutenant Commander, Congressman Crenshaw began to consider a political run, and in 2018, he was elected Congressman for Houston’s 2nd Congressional District.

Moderator Ronan O’Malley, the World Affairs Council’s Program Director, asked questions written by the attendees and directed them towards Congressman Crenshaw.

He began by discussing a few issues within our government: specifically, the adverse effects of withdrawing from Afghanistan “too soon.” Another topic discussed was the situation at the border, as the number of undocumented immigrants has increased in recent months.

Congressman Crenshaw spent part of his youth in Ecuador and Columbia, is proficient in Spanish, and he believes the US is currently spending insufficient resources developing relationships with countries in South America. Doing so, he believes, would alleviate some of the current problems, at least in the long term.

On all of the issues discussed, Representative Crenshaw noted that he is grateful for being a veteran, which he believes has given him a different approach when addressing issues.

He also reminded the audience several times about the book that he published, Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage, noting, somewhat jokingly, that it would be an excellent gift for a loved one for the holidays.

When asked about his potential future ambitions in the political spectrum, he left the audience with a cliffhanger: “We’ll see what comes.” And, with that, he left for his next event, leaving many in the audience wondering what the future, in fact, holds for Representative Crenshaw.