Susan Rice and How Washington Works
Dirty politics stalls, but won't end, ambassador's career
It’s been a busy week for me here in Washington. The week started off with an all-day session focused on protecting our democracy and the right to vote. The next day was spent focusing on the Michigan Right-To-Work legislation that was introduced, passed and signed into law in the blink of an eye. Next up was a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the school to prison pipeline, which robs our communities of so many young, promising people who may just need a little help. And yesterday, I spent the better part of my day visiting Senate offices along with some of the Black Women’s Roundtable, to discuss the treatment of Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice by Republicans. Shortly thereafter and much to the dismay of many, she withdrew her name from consideration for nomination. This was all in a week’s work. It’s this work that I hope will allow me to continue to build a solid foundation here in Washington that will help me far surpass my wildest ambition.
No political news outlet worth its salt will let Ambassador Susan Rice’s self-removal from consideration for the position of Secretary of State slide under the radar. Immediately after the 5 o’clock news yesterday, my father called me asking why she had “quit” as he put it. In his mind, she all but had the position. Like my father, many others thought that she would in fact be nominated. But if she had been nominated, there would certainly have been some people who would have done everything in their power to make sure she was not confirmed. Unfortunately for us all, they didn’t even wait until the nomination process began before starting the vetting process and putting her on trial, in some senses.
It’s an unfortunate situation. While many Republicans know that Ambassador Rice had nothing to do with what happened in Benghazi, Libya, that has not stopped them from pointing the finger in her direction for simply being a proxy during news shows after the attack to explain what happened. I won’t say that the intelligence she gave was accurate, because we all know at this point that what she said was erroneous. However, the burden of carrying Benghazi squarely on her back may have factored into her decision to step aside. The confusion over what really happened and why will be examined for days (and maybe longer in some circles), but at the end of the day, the fact that she can no longer be considered for the role is something that does not sit well with me.
Many people don’t realize how Washington works—the many politics at play and steps needed to get things done, the constant push and pull in many different directions, the need to focus on one thing and then quickly on another. The more I learn about how DC works, the more I admire Ambassador Rice, who is not much older than I am, but has accomplished so much. Her career path is incredible, and the imperfections, the lessons learned, are what make me more inspired. When I think about my own aspirations to lead and ascend to higher heights, I know that I am going to have some obstacles. I will make mistakes; I will fall down and hurt myself and maybe others. But more than anything, I will get back up. It’s what my parents have taught me since I was a little girl.
Ambassador Rice did what was asked of her by appearing on those TV shows to talk about Benghazi in the aftermath of the attack. She read and reread the intelligence briefs and she went on the shows saying what she thought she was supposed to. Because of it, she has been knocked around and suffered some bruising to her reputation. But I know without a doubt that this is not the end of Susan Rice’s career. Her star will continue to rise and I am glad to just be witness to it.