Sunday, October 23, 2005

 

An Unshattered Spirit

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit has an excellent summary of Secretary Condi Rice’s visit to Alabama, a highlight of which was her speech, "The Tide of Democracy is Rolling," part of the Frank A. Nix Lecture Series at the University of Alabama, on Friday, October 21, 2005.

As Hoft describes it, Secretary Rice made a direct connection between the democracy movement spreading through the world, and her own experiences relating to the Civil Rights movement:
Condoleezza Rice gave another exceptional speech to the delight of her homestate audience as part of the Frank A. Nix Lecture Series at the University of Alabama http://www.ua.edu/webcast/. Condoleezza weaved into her speech the Civil Rights Movement of her childhood, the great democracy movement we are witnessing in the world today, and the desire of each human being no matter what country, race, sex OR religion to the choices and gifts of democracy.
Hoft links to an account of Secretary Rice’s visit to Birmingham with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw published by the NY Times, which also included this excerpt of her speech:
"It was meant to shatter our spirit," she said of the bombing. "It was meant to say that we shouldn't rise up. Just a few weeks after Dr. Martin Luther King http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/martin_luther_jr_king/index.html?inline=nyt-per said, 'I have a dream,' it was meant to tell us that, no, we didn't have a dream, and that dream was going to be denied."
The NY Times article in which this account appeared intended this as part of a quite noticeable spin. The Times account suggests that Secretary Rice has pushed an activist Democracy spreading agenda on a reluctant Bush White House. It further intimates that Secretary Rice has previously avoided speaking of her youth in the difficult days of racial strife and the struggle for Civil Rights. Just from my limited experience with Secretary Rice’s public communications, this strikes me as mischaracterized.

What does occur to me, that does seem completely in keeping with the character of our Madam Secretary, is that she was not to be denied her dream, not by the Ku Klux Klan, not by the racists such as Senator Byrd, not by the common obstacles of anyone who strives towards the pinnacle of her profession.

How in contrast to what passes for liberal ethic today, as malpracticed by so many in the Democratic Old Guard. Condoleeza Rice did not let race stand in her way, and the real and lingering difficulties posed for African Americans in the ‘60s and ‘70s, as she progressed in a stellar career in International Relations and Academia. Condoleeza Rice did not let any glass ceiling or the persistent barriers to women in Diplomatic and Foreign Policy spheres limit her accomplishments.

She serves a Republican administration, pursuing a progressive, assertive, historic foreign policy. She is caricatured in cartoons variously as a Plantation Mammy, as a Minstrel performer, or other hateful stereotypes. She is eloquent in the cause of Democracy, she is loyal and dedicated and articulate.

The political enemies of this administration are as wary of attacking her as they are reluctant to be direct in their opposition to the war in Iraq or the Global War on Terror. She’ll be a formidable adversary, but they don’t quite know how to deal with her.

The American people may be growing tired of the War in Iraq, but they’ll grow a lot more satisfied with the result as history in time proves the rightness of the purpose. Democrats have a quandary on their hands. If they attack the war effort directly, they look unpatriotic (and often are, in the manner of personal attack and insults to our armed forces). If they go after the rising stars such as Secretary Rice, they diminish in the eyes of people who may not agree with policy but like and trust those who implement it. (Consider this the current version of the Colin Powell effect.)

She continues to shine. She continues to articulate a bold and progressive view, full of the power of our ideals, rooted in the finest of our aspirations and the richness of our legacy, all of it, the bad along with the good. Because America overcomes our obstacles. We make amends for our mistakes. And yes, we rise above our tragedies and become better than we would have been, without stumbling.

There was a time in Birmingham, Alabama, when a young girl might have trembled in fear, and resign herself to the limitations of hate and bigotry. Much like a young woman in Iraq, she might have stayed in that place of hopelessness. But she took that chance, she saw the possibility, she took hold of the hope of a Nation awakening to the evils of separate but unequal.

And we all are the better for her effort, today.

Condoleeza Rice in ’08. Whether she wins or loses, whether she even wants it, she’s a woman of character and substance, and representative of the best of America. The opponents of the Administration she serves should take note.

Hat tip: Powerline

Links: Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Wizbang, Indepundit, Outside the Beltway, Dawn Patrol at Mudville Gazette



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