Saturday, May 1, 2010

Condoleeza Rice and Renewed Faith in the Future of America

Last night I attended the Southern California Chapter's Association of Corporate Counsel Association's Annual Event. I'll be honest, I did not expect to be "wowed" by the keynote speaker, Condoleeza Rice after hearing Bill Clinton speak at last year's event. But wowed I was. Rice is articulate, insightful, charming, honest and, in ways I never appreciated as she worked under President Bush, a brilliant thinker. She restored my faith in America, which my readers know was a bit shaken after last week's visit to Alberta. She reminded us that America was founded upon the "myth of the log cabin" and that she was proof that "it doesn't matter where you come from, it matters where you're going". She gave a few good lessons in leadership, my favorite of which was: "I'd rather be naive than cynical, because cynical people can't lead." She reminded us that this country was built by and enhanced by holding promise that the best and the brightest from all over the world could rise to their full potential here. She sees the wisdom and value in education for our children that includes a central place for the arts and despairs that the new global economic leader, if the historic American capitalism loses it's edge, will be replaced by the worst of America if we don't begin to address critical issues including immigration (which she seems to support in accord with the old plan developed by McCain and Kennedy under Bush), education and poverty. She set the audience on edge with respect to the threat by nations that are politically unstable, such as Iran and now Mexico, where the titular authority is unable to control a militant minority and where the government itself is subject to mis-dealings in ways that enhance rather than protect against the instability. As a former student of International Relations, I found her talk fascinating. I haven't yet found the thread which binds this to the work of a mediator--but I'm pretty sure it's there--perhaps sewn into the lining or between those logs, holding us all together.


シークレット アジアンマン said...

I felt the same way. The comment about Arizona's immigration law not being a solution was unexpected.

Joe Markowitz said...

What we realize when we listen to most diplomats and former Secretaries of State and people like that is that there is a lot more continuity and common interests in our politics than most people realize, especially on foreign policy issues. (You might not get that impression if you are listening to divisive types like Dick Cheney or John Bolton, but you certainly would with Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell or our current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.) And that means there are a lot of opportunities for consensus solutions to foreign policy, and possibly other political problems. Which ties in what you are saying with mediation.

You're welcome.