"Oh what a circus, oh what a show
The Beltway has gone to town
Over the rise of a woman named Condoleezza Rice
They've all gone crazy
Mourning all day and mourning all night
Falling over themselves, to get all of the misery right!"
You'll have to forgive my bastardization of the song sung by Che, the protagonist anti-hero of Lloyd-Webber's "Evita". I'm feeling more than a bit peckish after the display in Senate chambers yesterday.
It is with true sadness that I continue to see the Democratic Party attempt to define what it means to be black, and move to punish those who don't adhere. The 'Festival of Lies' that has been the Senate Confirmation of Dr. Condoleezza Rice is a shameful, racist episode, one that is is especially troubling when one considers that just two days ago we were celebrating the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I do not profess to know what political affiliation Dr. King would hold if he were still alive today, but I do believe he would be horrified by the social and political bigotry Dr. Rice has bravely faced this past week.
When Dr. King spoke of being judged by the content of one's character, he was speaking directly to those who would seek to impose on black men and women what qualities of thought, word or action they could possess. In the actions of his life he sought to expand the opportunities of his 'sons and daughters'; to give them the chance to succeed or fail based on their own efforts; to allow them the breadth of experiences and associations that, until then, were the privilege of the white majority.
Whether or not one agrees with Dr. Rice's neoconservative political slant (and I will admit that I do), she is inarguably the living fulfillment of Dr. King's dream. The America of today is a meritocracy, and Dr. Rice's ascension confirms this fact. She is almost unfathomably bright. She is appreciated by the President for speaking her mind. She is respected for the discernment of her mind, and she ably manages crises during a time of extreme political and socioeconomic uncertainty. Each of these qualities is remarkable, and Dr. Rice is being granted the ultimate reward for her loyalty and service. She will be the first black female Secretary of State, the person whom Kings, Prime Ministers and Presidents the world over will receive in the grandest palaces and statehouses the world over. It is a remarkable moment in our country's civil rights movement, one that is being stripped of its' significance by those who claim to hold civil rights paramount.
Rather than celebrating the heights to which a black woman, the daughter of sharecroppers, has risen, so-called civil-rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and the NAACP have criticized Dr. Rice for her lack of liberal points of view. Democratic political leaders such as Senator John Kerry - MASS and Senator Barbara Boxer - CA castigate Dr. Rice as an obfuscator, a turncoat, a liar. Sen. Kerry, as you may recall, spoke during his campaign of his desire to be the "Second black President". Amazing.
The point of these Senate hearings is to query a nominee on his or her positions, and to discern the direction in which said nominee intends to deal with the US's unique foreign policy challenges. It is right and it is proper that any nominee, woman or no, minority or no, be made to sit for questions from our elected officials.
Yesterday's antics, however, were engaged towards no such goal.
Kerry and Boxer, having divested themselves of their responsibilities at the hearing chamber's door, played more for the edification of bitter Democrats than to determine how Dr. Rice may act once she is Secretary of State. Yesterday's dog-and-pony show illustrated the petty, malicious games career Liberal obstructionists will stoop to in order to strike at President Bush, and any black man or woman disloyal enough to think for themselves and ally themselves with a conservative political philiosphy. What we witnessed yesterday was Kerry and Boxer participating in the most condescending form of racism: you will think like we tell you to, or you will be treated as one underserving of dignity and respect.