Thursday, August 30, 2012

Condoleezza Rice speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention

Like many of us, I have heard my share of political speeches.

Some are yawners, some are the same old thing, after some - I have to admit that I wondered why did anyone bother making because they were just that bad.

While watching the 2012 Republican National Convention, I listened to the many speeches and took note to the fact that the speeches weren't that bad at all.

There were times when speeches stood out from the others, Republican Governor of New Mexico Sasana Martinez gave a wonderful speech.

But for me, I sat with riveted attention as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke.

The following is a transcript of a speech that former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice gave at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29, 2012:

"Thank you so much. Good evening.

Good evening, distinguished delegates. Good evening,

fellow Republicans. Good evening, my fellow Americans.

We gather here at a time of significance and challenge.

This young century has been a difficult one. I can remember as

if it were yesterday when my young assistants came into my

office at the White House to say that a plane had hit the World

Trade Center, and then, a second plane, and then a third plane,

the Pentagon. And later, we would learn that a plane had

crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, driven into the ground by

brave souls who died so that others might live.

From that day on -- from that day on, our sense of

vulnerability and our concepts of security were never the same


Then, in 2008, the global financial and economic crisis

would stun us. And it still reverberates as we deal with

unemployment and economic uncertainty and bad policies that cast

a pall over an American economy and a recovery that is

desperately needed at home and abroad.

And we have seen -- we have seen that the desire for

liberty and freedom is, indeed, universal, as men and women in

the Middle East rise up to seize it. Yet, the promise of the

Arab spring is engulfed in uncertainty, internal strife, and

hostile neighbors our challenging the young, fragile democracy

of Iraq. Dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their people and

threat to regional security. Russia and China prevent a

response, and everyone asks, where does America stand?

Indeed -- indeed, that is the question of the hour. Where

does America stand? You see when the friends or foes alike

don't know the answer to that question, unambiguously and

clearly, the world is likely to be a more dangerous and chaotic


Since world war ii, the United States has had an answer to

that question. We stand for free peoples and free markets. We

will defend and support them.

We will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom.

Now, to be sure, the burdens of leadership have been heavy.

I know, as you do, the sacrifice of Americans, especially the

sacrifice of many of our bravest in the ultimate sacrifice, but

our armed forces are the surest shield and foundation of

liberty, and we are so fortunate that we have men and women in

uniform who volunteer, they volunteer to defend us at the front

lines of freedom, and we owe them our eternal gratitude.

I know too it has not always been easy though it has been

rewarding to speak for those who otherwise do not have a voice.

The religious dissident in China, the democracy advocate in

Venezuela, the political prisoner in Iran.

It has been hard to muster the resources to support

fledgling democracies and to intervene on behalf of the most

desperate. The AIDS orphans in Uganda, the refugee fleeing

Zimbabwe, the young woman who has been trafficked into the sex

trade in Southeast Asia. It has been hard, yet this assistance

together with the compassionate work of private charities,

people of conscience and people of faith, has shown the soul of

our country. And I know too -- I know too there is a wariness.

I know that it feels as if we have carried these burdens long

enough. But we can only know that there is no choice, because

one of two things will happen if we don't lead. Either no one

will lead and there will be chaos, or someone will fill the

vacuum who does not share our values.

My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. We cannot be

reluctant to lead and you cannot lead from behind.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality. Our

well- being at home and our leadership abroad are inextricably

linked. They know what to do. They know that our friends and

allies must again be able to trust us. From Israel to Columbia,

from Poland to the Philippines, our allies and friends have to

know that we will be reliable and consistent and determined.

And our foes can have no reason to doubt our resolve because

peace really does come through strength.

Our military capability and our technological advantage

will be safe in Mitt Romney's hands. We must work for an open,

global economy, and pursue free and fair trade, to grow our

exports and our influence abroad. If you are worried about the

rise of China, just consider this -- the United States has

negotiated -- the United States has ratified only three trade

agreements in the last few years, and those were negotiated in

the Bush administration.

China has signed 15 free trade agreements and is in the

progress of negotiating as many as 18 more. Sadly, we are

abandoning the field of free and fair trade and it will come

back to haunt us.

We must not allow the chance to attain energy independence

to slip from our grasp. We are blessed with a gift of oil and

gas resources here in North America, and we must develop them.

We can develop them sensitively, we can develop them securing

our environment, but we must develop them.

And we have the ingenuity to develop alternatives sources

of energy. Most importantly, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will

rebuild the foundation of our strength, the American economy --

stimulating private sector growth and stimulating small business


When the world looks at us today, they see an American

government that cannot live within its means. They see an

American government that continues to borrow money, that will

mortgage the future of generations to come. The world knows

that when a nation loses control of its finances, it eventually

loses control of its destiny.

That is not the America that has inspired people to

follow our lead.

After all, when the world looks to America, they look to us

because we are the most successful economic and political

experiment in human history. That is the true basis of American

exceptionalism. You see, the essence of America, what really

unites us, is not nationality or ethnicity or religion. It is

an idea. And what an idea it is. That you can come from humble

circumstances and you can do great things, that it does not

matter where you came from, it matters where you are going.

My fellow Americans, ours has never been a narrative of

grievance and entitlement. We have never believed that I am

doing poorly because you are doing well. We have never been

jealous of one another and never envious of each others'


No, no, ours has been a belief in opportunity. And it has

been a constant struggle, long and hard, up and down, to try to

extend the benefits of the American dream to all. But that

American ideal is indeed in danger 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 do not do the hard work before us here

at home.

More than at any other time in history, greatness is built

on mobilizing human potential and ambition. We have always done

that better than any country in the world. People have come

here from all over because they have believed our creed of

opportunity and limitless horizons.

They have come here from the world's most impoverished

nations just to make a decent wage. And they have come here

from advanced societies as engineers and scientists that fuel

the knowledge-based revolution in the Silicon Valley of

California, in the Research Triangle of North Carolina, along

Route 128 in Massachusetts, in Austin, Texas, and across this

great land.

We must continue to welcome the world's most ambitious

people to be a part of us. In that way, we stay young and

optimistic and determined. We need immigration laws that

protect our borders, meet our economic needs, and yet show that

we are a compassionate nation of immigrants.

We have been successful too because Americans have known

that one's status of birth is not a permanent condition.

Americans have believed that you might not be able to control

your circumstances but you can control your response to your


And your greatest ally in controlling your response to your

circumstances has been a quality education. But today, today,

when I can look at your zip code and I can tell whether you're

going to get a good education, can I honestly say it does not

matter where you came from, it matters where you are going? The

crisis in K-12 education is a threat to the very fabric of who

we are.

My mom was a teacher. I respect the profession. We need

great teachers, not poor ones and not mediocre ones. We have to

have high standards for our kids, because self-esteem comes from

achievement, not from lax standards and false praise.

And we need to give parents greater choice, particularly,

particularly poor parents whose kids, very often minorities, are

trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil

rights issue of our day.

If we do anything less, we can damage generations to

joblessness and hopelessness and life on the government dole

(ph). If we do anything less, we will endanger our global

imperatives for competitiveness. And if we do anything less, we

will tear apart the fabric of who we are and cement the turn

toward entitlement and grievance.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild us at home. And

they will help us lead abroad. They will provide an answer to

the question, ``where does America stand?'' The challenge is real

and the times are hard. But America has met and overcome hard

challenges before.

Whenever you find yourself a doubting us, just think about

all those times that America made impossible seemed inevitable

in retrospect. Our revolutionary founding act as the greatest

military power of the time, a civil war, brother against

brother, hundreds of thousands dead on both sides, but we

emerged a more perfect union. A second founding when inpatient

patriots were determined to overcome the birth defect of slavery

and the scourge of segregation.

A long struggle against communism with the soviets even --

the soviet union's collapse and in the aftermath of 9/11, the

willingness to take hard, hard decisions that toward us and

prevented the follow on attack that everybody thought


And on a personal note, a little girl grows up in Jim Crow

Birmingham. The segregated city of the south where her parents

cannot take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they

have convinced that even if she cannot have it hamburger at

Woolworths, she can be the president of the United States if she

wanted to be, and she becomes the secretary of state.

Yes, yes. Yes. Yes, America has a way of making the

impossible seemed inevitable in retrospect, but we know it was

never inevitable. It took leadership. And it took courage. And

it's a belief that our values. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have

the integrity and the experience and the vision to lead us.

They know who we are. They know who we want to be. They know

who we are in the world and what we offer.

That is why -- that is why this is a moment and an election

of consequence. Because it just has to be that the freest most

compassionate country on the face of the earth will continue to

be the most powerful and the beacon for prosperity and the party

across the world.

God bless you and God bless this extraordinary country,

this exceptional country: The United States of America."

Her speech was interrupted with applause after applause. Then at the end, there was a well deserved standing ovation for this most incredible woman.

Condoleezza Rice is an inspirational American.
She is an American political scientist and diplomat. She is a professor at Stanford University, and she is a Conservative and a Republican.

She received her education from the University of Denver (1981), University of Notre Dame (1975), University of Denver (1974), and Miles College.

She served as the National Security Advisor and then the 66th United States Secretary of State for President George W. Bush.

She is age 57, born on November 14, 1954, in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the daughter of a high-school guidance counsellor and later a college administrator (Reverend John Wesley Rice) and music teacher (Angelena Rice), a family that was a fixture of the rigidly segregated city's black middle class.

There can be no doubt that the mid-century Alabama of segregated water fountains, segregated restaurants and amusement parks, and of course segregated schools had an effect on the young black American girl surrounded by such injustice.

At the age of 9, a bomb exploded at a Baptist church a few miles from Westminster Presbyterian Church where her father was a minister. Four black girls were killed, one of them a kindergarten classmate of Rice.

Condoleezza Rice is an inspiration to all. She is proof, that against all odds, the American Dream is alive and well and obtainable.

  Story by Tom Correa

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