Condoleezza Rice tells it like it is
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is quite a success story. She has earned respect and the right to share her views with the American people, which she did last week at the Republican National Convention. Speaking about the pursuit of the American dream, she said, “Ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement. We have never believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well. ... Ours has been a belief in opportunity.” (This stands in stark contrast to the views of our president and his party.) Rice addressed our values, our opportunities, our challenges and the leadership they require. Her views are not about race or gender, but about the belief in individual freedoms and pursuit of happiness for all.
Rice, who earned a doctorate from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, was named the first female and first African American provost of Stanford University in 1993. Rice had a long journey from the Deep South, where she grew up, to be appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005 to serve as the 66th U.S. secretary of state.
Rice has traveled many roads and around the world in her 57 years—gaining knowledge, experience and perspective. She speaks with authority. She has been a pioneer for women and African Americans. Just last month she was one of the first two women admitted as members to the Augusta National Golf Club.
Some of the things she said at the convention deserve repeating and the attention of every voter before Nov. 6. They reflect a clear difference in the choices we have for president and the next four years. We will choose our course. Rice said:
“The essence of America—that which really unites us—is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion—it is an idea—and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn't matter where you came from but where you are going.
“Ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement. We have not believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well. We have not been envious of one another and jealous of each other's success. Ours has been a belief in opportunity and a constant battle—long and hard—to extend the benefits of the American dream to all—without regard to circumstances of birth.
“But the American ideal is indeed endangered today. There is no country—no, not even a rising China—that can do more harm to us than we can do to ourselves if we fail to accomplish the tasks before us here at home.”
“We have been successful, too, because Americans have known that one's status at birth was not a permanent station in life. You might not be able to control your circumstances, but you could control your response to your circumstances. And your greatest ally in doing so was a quality education.
“Let me ask you, though, today, when I can look at your zip code and can tell whether you are going to get a good education—can I really say that it doesn't matter where you came from—it matters where you are going? The crisis in K-12 education is a grave threat to who we are.
“My mom was a teacher—I have the greatest respect for the profession—we need great teachers—not poor or mediocre ones. We need to have high standards for our students—self-esteem comes from achievement, not from lax standards and false praise. And we need to give parents greater choice—particularly poor parents whose kids—most often minorities—are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights struggle of our day.
“If we do anything less, we will condemn generations to joblessness, hopelessness and dependence on the government dole. To do anything less is to endanger our global economic competitiveness. To do anything less is to tear apart the fabric of who we are and cement a turn toward grievance and entitlement.”
“And on a personal note—a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham—the most segregated big city in America. Her parents can't take her to a movie theater or a restaurant—but they make her believe that even though she can't have a hamburger at the Woolworth's lunch counter—she can be president of the United States, and she becomes the secretary of state.
“Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect. But of course it has never been inevitable—it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values…
“May God Bless You—and May God continue to bless this extraordinary, exceptional country—the United States of America.”
Most folks notice big differences in the coverage of politics between Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. (Watch how they each cover the two conventions.) But according to a Rasmussen poll, a majority of voters seem to think a bias exists among all media.
In the Rasmussen poll, taken Aug. 8-9, 1,000 likely voters were asked, “When covering a campaign, are reporters unbiased or do they help who they want?” More than two-thirds of respondents (74%) said they “help.” Only 13% replied that they “offer unbiased coverage,” and 13% answered “not sure.”
Voters were then asked, “Will most reporters work to re-elect President Obama or elect Mitt Romney?” A majority (51%) said Obama and 9% said Romney—with only 22% saying they would be “unbiased.”
A reader can expect that opinions will be expressed in opinion columns and editorials (and personal blogs if they are clearly labeled as opinion). But news reporters in print, broadcast and online media should just report the facts and quote those involved. Based on the poll results, the public doesn't think editors are doing a very good job of making sure journalists just report the news—and keep their opinions out of it.
La. Business Symposium Oct. 10
The Louisiana Business Symposium is set for Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge. It kicks off with the Louisiana Technology and Innovation Breakfast, featuring keynote speaker Jay Adelson. Adelson is known for founding and running companies such as Digg and SimpleGeo. In 2008 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Four free business seminars will follow the breakfast, running through 11 a.m.
The symposium concludes with the annual Top 100 Luncheon. This event honors the CEOs of the Top 100 private companies in the Capital Region. Keynote speaker Loren Scott will unveil his economic forecast for 2013-2014 for Louisiana and the Capital Region.
For information and tickets, go to businessreport.com and click on “Events.” The symposium is presented by Business Report and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge, Whitney Bank, Detel, Assurance Financial and WAFB-TV.
Nanette McCann, principal of Baton Rouge Magnet High School, was recently honored as the 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the Louisiana Department of Education. Soon after that, McCann and others cut the ribbon on the newly renovated BRMHS. From principal to building to students, BRMHS is gem for our city and state, which we can all be proud of.
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