Well let's rewind to my high school years. I was in AP Government & Politics and so I would sometimes watch C-Span. I wasn't allowed to watch TV after school but if my mom wasn't home, sometimes I would turn it on. I remember getting really into two things: Justice Alito's Senate confirmation question thing, and then Condoleezza's appearance before Senate for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks from 9-11. I remember Charles Schubert (Democrat from NY) was asking her a question and just being a bit snooty and then she came back with this fantabulous answer. She wasn't even nervous at all (or at least didn't act like it) and presented her thoughts so nicely with such feminine poise.
Ever since then I have thought she was awesome and have even felt like I know her a little bit. When I would hear her name in the news or see pictures of her in the newspaper, I would seriously think, "Oh my friend Condoleezza just out doing her thing- changing the world." (Note: Even though she's my "friend," I don't call her Condie. Should I?)
Now fast forward to a couple weeks ago at BYU. We normally have our devotional/forum on Tuesdays but she is such a big deal that we moved around our campus schedule so she could speak to us on a Thursday morning. I knew it wasn't going to be broadcast so I had my pen, notebook, and back up pens prepared so I could glean all I could and share it with the good people of cyber-space.
My notes of her words:
- Headlines and history's judgement are rarely the same.
- After September 11th, everyday was September 12th and now we still need to defend out country beyond our sanctuaries and reach out to help failed states heal.
- Nowadays, the large and powerful countries are not the dangerous ones.
- (In reference to Afghanistan...) Despite the hard work, we have to complete the job.
- Every dictator fears the moment when the people will go against them (she was talking about the electoral process in the U.S. and how dictators live in anxiety and rule with fear.)
- (On the economy...) Growth is led by the private sector: risk taking, innovation, creativity can not all be funded by the government. The government is a foundation to make innovation happen.
- (In reference to China and their power growth...) Can a country that is so afraid of the internet and free thinking really be the one to lead the growth of knowledge?
- Our (U.S.) role in the international system is special. We have a constant renewal of energy with all of our immigrants. We need our immigrants because we want energetic and ambitious people to join us.
- (In reference to her grandfather who became a Protestant clergy so he could have a scholarship...) My grandfather knew that education would give him a different life. As educated people, you have special responsibilities.
- If you are good at English, take more math. If you are good at math, become more engaged in the arts. Overcoming and mastering something that is hard for you is good. We are caught up in our own territory, geography, and language.
- When she is lacking in optimism, she reads the biographies of the founding fathers.
- It is fine and good to ask questions and to want to know the full range of human knowledge.
- Find your passion while you are here studying at Brigham Young University. This isn't just what you are studying, but find out what you're excited to do every single day.
- At a university, world's open up to you that you never would have imagined.
- You have a responsibility to be optimistic about where you're going when you have been given so much to move forward with.
- Whatever is wrong with the world, it would be worse without the leadership.
So there we have it. Pretty incredible woman. Everyone I have talked to about it thought she was absolutely wonderful. She also talked a lot about family and heritage, Russians, and playing the piano. She started off with telling us about how nice it is to be out of D.C. now. She reads the newspaper with her breakfast and says, "Hm, isn't that interesting?" and goes on with her day.
And now for my soapbox. Sometimes I feel like as a woman I can not amount to anything until or unless I am married and have kids. And I do think that is the most important thing a woman can be doing with her time, it isn't the option for everyone. And being in my last semester at the Y, my plan of those pursuits are seeming like less of a near reality.
So that is just another reason why I think Condoleezza is great. She isn't married and while I have no idea what her man stories are, etc. It is nice to know that she is still powerful and has still has done so much for our country, even if it is not in the traditional ways. Go Cougs!