Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Condoleezza Rice Is My Hero

Condoleezza Rice

I love Condi. So does my husband. We (and many others) would absolutely love it if she'd run for President.

And so, when I got a last minute invitation to the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, I accepted mostly because I wanted to hear Condi speak.

She was incredible. It was really interesting to hear some of her stories in conjunction with what I'd heard from President Bush, sometimes them telling two sides of the same story.  She is truly an amazing woman when you think about it. Born in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, what are the odds that someone who is both black and a woman would walk confidently into such a prestigious career as a professor, diplomat, and then national security advisor?

 Condi very clearly said that while a desire for freedom and rights is universal, freedom is not the same thing as democracy and compassion couldn't be provided by government. "Democracy is the institutionalizing of freedom," she said, and it happens with time and work and people taking responsibility. I love that she identifies that while the US was "free" when we gained independence, many within the country were not free, and it's only through hard work and a good amount of time that we have become a democracy.

Condi said, "Democracy cannot mean the tyranny of the majority. It must include the protection of minorities. Government cannot put into the hearts of all citizens the understanding that there should be no weak link. Democracy is only as strong as its weakest link."

I love that she is a Republican that also passionately defend the rights of the minority, the weak. I love also that she pushed further to the Christian audience and said that for us, it's not even just that each life is capable of greatness. We also believe that all people are equals not just by law but as children of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (at which point I squealed because she actually took it to the Trinity and that is awesome).

In  my post on Bush I mentioned that his telling of his testimony still seems very generic and folksy. Condoleeza, on the other hand, speaks a theology born of a lifetime in the Presbyterian church (under John Ortberg now, who is also great) and it clearly drives her work. Both mentioned the impact of a humanitarian trip they took to Uganda. Condi, though,  more clearly articulated that, "Government cannot deliver compassion. The work of compassion is what God has intended for Christians to do."

The seminar also included a Bill Hybels interview with Condi, in which I discovered that:

a) She loves debate. Hybels mentioned a debate he watched her in and something he'd learned from her tactics, and she responded that she really enjoys the real testing of minds and intellect that happens in debate. This is just like my husband, and I love it when a woman can intelligently and enjoyably participate in public debate

b) When asked who was the most dangerous person she ever met with, she said Sudan's Bashir. She said she had to really set her mind when she met with him and try to forget temporarily that she truly believed that he was a war criminal, a brutal man who was willing to do anything. She had to meet with him for the good of his people, but she said it was a very difficult meeting.

c) President Bush was very, very lucky to have her on his team. She is the essence of charming, cool, and collected and he was this brash cowboy type. For such an intellectual to be on his team, providing feedback and guidance and being (in her own words) a "truth teller", was really invaluable for him. Imagine if she wasn't on his team, and there was only Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the like? I shudder to think of it.

d) She keeps the respect of many by being respectful. She told a story about telling Bush that a public statement he'd made to the press had been out of line, and him admitting it was true and saying Laura would probably tell him the same thing. Condi actually got Bush's permission just to tell the story. She doesn't really need that permission, but the reason he and others trusted her and still do is that she speaks honestly to them and doesn't air dirty laundry. As a leader, that's immensely important as you work on a team.

e). Unfortunately, I don't think she's ever going to run for President. She was asked point blank about it, and she just laughed and said after five campaign stops with GWB, he'd be fired up and ready to go and she'd be exhausted and ready for bed. She said that some people were built for politics and some for policy making. She loves policy making, and will never run for President. *sigh*.

And... she's a concert pianist. *shakes head*. Amazing. Truly.


Rach said...

That's so cool that you got to hear her speak. She fascinates me. My uncle worked directly under her for years at the director of intelligence for national security, and really, it seems just about everyone only has good things to say about her.

Kacie said...

She said the NSA job was the hardest, because you're over all these heads of organizations and you're supposed to make them work together but don't have technical authority over them.