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...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, November 10, 2008

Condi's Happiness

I have pondered the effects of the recent Presidential results in more ways than I can describe here on Sundries.

You cannot imagine how torn I am between being desperately unhappy at the result, and surprisingly happy that we've turned some kind of page in our country's history. I've read the majority of conservative bloggers express similar sentiments, so I know I am not alone.

But Barack Obama's historic election as the first African-American president was never brought closer to home than when I saw Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, enthuse over the win.

She pledged that the transition would go as smoothly as possible, not only because it is the President's own wish (something few journalists have given him credit for...as ever), but because she PERSONALLY wants to make it so.

I love Condi. I think most readers here know that.

I continue to love her despite sometimes being disappointed by her skills -- especially given her forté, Eastern European/Russian studies. One of the serious problems the Bush Administration has left for the next ones is a rampant Russia again; their championship of Vladimir Putin was so obviously wrong. Not wrong in retrospect, but I felt that way in real-time.

I get the sense that much of what she has done, though, will not be known or appreciated fully for many decades, so I give her the benefit of the doubt.

There I was, listening to her talking about this transition.

"One of the great things about representing this country is that it continues...to...SURPRISE."

The way she belted out that last word, "surprise", was so pregnant with joy, gratefulness and no small amount of pride, that a little thought crossed my mind:

Do you think that Condi voted for Obama/Biden because of the historic nature of that ticket's candidacy? Or was she a loyal Republican, and voted for McCain-Palin, but nevertheless was genuinely happy when Obama became the first black President?

(Remember that Condi was once a registered Democrat, though her father was a Republican since the 50s. She changed after Jimmy Carter's disastrous foreign policies made it untenable for her to continue being one -- ironic, no?)

Maybe it's because I am white, and British, that in many ways I am left motherless by this win.

I simply do not take race into account in politics (and in very little else in life), as I also don't take gender into account either. It's the way I was raised by my parents, to believe that race is a non-issue and that character is paramount, just like Dr. King said. Finally, I was born to a nation which had had several women rulers before, and a few years after my birth, we had a woman Prime Minister.

As Wesley Snipes said in White Men Can't Jump, it ain't no thing.

But to women like Condi Rice, from Alabama, whose neighbourhood church was bombed in 1963, and who knew at least one little girl killed in it, these kinds of assurances I was born into did not exist.

Sometimes, you just don't feel you belong until you see someone exactly like you, at the pinnacle of power.

Again, I am not hardwired to think this way, but if one of the consequences of Barack Obama's win is that a woman as accomplished as Condoleezza Rice feels joyful at the news, there has got to be something in it.

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  • "Sometimes, you just don't feel you belong until you see someone exactly like you, at the pinnacle of power."

    All over the world, Ivy League grads who've never accomplished anything are beaming.

    By Blogger JSU, at Mon Nov 10, 03:05:00 am GMT-5  

  • All over the world, Ivy League grads who've never accomplished anything are beaming.

    Heh. I hear you. But apparently, they need to see it to believe it...


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Nov 10, 03:11:00 am GMT-5  

  • Well, it was a factor I thought you might have mentioned in your elites post...

    By Blogger JSU, at Mon Nov 10, 03:32:00 am GMT-5  

  • I once again agree with JSU.

    As for Rice, I've never been able to stand the woman, ever since her role in the senior Bush administration. She was profoundly incompetent during German reunification and she's been profoundly incompetent ever since. There's no doubt in my mind she voted for Obama because of skin color. That's character weakness. For what it's worth, the Telegraph had an article a while back saying that Rumsfeld had contempt for her, refused to recognize her, and drove her to cry in public. That speaks badly of him, but also of her. Good riddens.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 10, 06:53:00 am GMT-5  

  • If you slack enough, they'll give you The Bomb!

    By Blogger Ron, at Mon Nov 10, 07:32:00 am GMT-5  

  • Donald Rumsfeld was one of the people most responsible for almost losing the Iraq War. Rice was one of the people most responsible for winning it. Her part in this saga was to do what she could to gain as much control over Iraq policy as possible until the deeply isolated Rumsfeld was let go by the President. She was one of the people responsible for urging the President to bring in a close colleague of hers, Bob Gates, with some help from the Elder Bush.

    From this coup de main came David Petraeus' surge. As written above, much of what we know about Rice won't be known for another fifteen to twenty years, but I suspect her reputation will far surpass that of Rumsfeld's.

    Lastly, she gave hints throughout the campaign that she remained a Republican, and had deep disagreements with Obama over the origins of the Iraq War and the Surge itself. I actually suspect she voted for McCain out of this disagreement, as McCain had been on her side in numerious policy struggles throughout the years. However, I don't doubt that she had a right to be proud that this nation could elect an African American as President.

    By Blogger section9, at Mon Nov 10, 02:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I agree that Rumsfeld almost lost us Iraq. I'm happy to be corrected about Rice. I was not familiar with her alleged role in bringing in Gates and the Surge. And what was her view of Iraq when she opposed Rumsfeld? No policy statements of hers have stuck in my mind.

    I doubt she voted for McCain, precisely because she remains a Republican. She could simply have said: "Dr King fought for a country in which we judge people not on the color of their skin. In that spirit, while I am thrilled that an Afrian American has been nominated for president, I note that my views are much closer to those of Senator McCain and that I will vote for him accordingly." But she did not make such a statement.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Nov 11, 05:00:00 am GMT-5  

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