Donald Trump’s belligerent behavior toward the House’s Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) about the impeachment inquiry makes many look wistfully back at President Barack Obama’s days in office. With a crush of presidential tweets and one crisis after another, people are left feeling politically weary. Then, there was a glimmer of hope.
The Democratic leader Schiff set up an investigation into the current president’s potentially impeachable acts. Still, politics have been a heavy load to bear on top of all the day’s demands of us. Then, President Obama tweeted. He tweeted about his friend and former National Security Adviser and UN Ambassador Susan Rice:
‘As President, I leaned on @Ambassador Rice’s experience, expertise, and willingness to tell me what I needed to hear. In her memoir, Tough Love, you’ll see why. It’s a tribute to American leadership—and a unifying call for us to do our part to protect it. I hope you’ll read it.’
As one commentator noted, Rice became “the right’s favorite chew toy” after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. She continued to make the Sunday talk show interviews. Words like “cover-up,” “incompetent,” and “untrustworthy” hurt.
In spite of Rice’s confidence, the words hurt. As a way to “reclaim” her voice, she wrote the book in a clear and systematic way. She took on one Benghazi charge at a time, according to NPR:
‘Failure, as I discovered early, is an inevitable result of policy making. We did fail; we will fail. Our aim must be to minimize the frequency and the prices of failure, while learning from our mistakes — and hopefully not the wrong lessons.’
Rice will be partly remembered for her choices to support military intervention in Libya. She owns the consequences of her choices. She also went into what she called the “politics of personal destruction.” In other words, how does politics impact families?
The ambassador became the “bogey (wo)man of Benghazi and red meat to Fox News.
Her brother Johnny claimed that his sister “acted like a girl.” She did not promote or campaign for herself as a guy would have. She did not fight back as a man would have. Rice hit the glass ceiling. While she made several cracks in it, the ceiling has not been broken through. Politics has remained a man’s world. Still, she never wanted to leave public service.
Instead, she doubled down. Rice had the role model of her maternal grandparents. They moved from Jamaica to Maine. Her paternal great-grandfather was born a slave in South Carolina. Eventually, he founded a school in New Jersey.
Service to her country whether in a uniform, at a national park, or an overseas military base reminds employees of their patriotism more frequently than in the private sector. Donald Trump has turned the federal employees into “the Deep State” and to be avoided. He called the whistleblowers spies. She did criticize Edward Snowden for releasing classified information but rarely went public.
Rice has enough confidence to rise up above her own circle of leadership to praises the civil and foreign service colleagues for their professionalism. Yet, she was ultimately involved, working hard as the job required “sometimes over years,” that it takes to make policy.
During the Obama administration, her hard work led to the Iran deal. “It’s not just one person, it’s a team, Rice said. Despite the political attacks she has weathered, she does not believe that America’s political divisions are fatal or permanent. Her own family reflects that.
Rice left people with “an ode to public service.” That includes a “dignity to serving your country.” She was involved in the Iran deal, normalizing relations with Cuba, and even the Paris Climate Agreement. What a great time to be in public service.
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