We have already begun the journey of a second Bush administration. It is a journey in which, for the first time in the history of the United States, the face and voice of a Black woman will be the face and voice of America in the global political arena. Whatever we may think of Condoleezza Rice, she clearly is of the academic, professional, political and social pedigree from which secretaries of state are drawn. And, like her predecessor, she embodies the potential for achievement within us that often leaves those of other races with their mouths hanging open in amazement.
I was having my hair cut at the Community Barbershop (Mr. Mack retired and Damien and James run the shop now), when President Bush announced that Rice would succeed Colin Powell as secretary of state. A much-too-young man had just described his military experience in Kuwait and his refusal, with about 200 others, to sign up for service in Iraq. While the reaction to the president’s announcement was no love-in for Rice, it was heartwarming to note that no one was surprised—nor impressed, for that matter—that the president of the United States was naming a Black woman to be his secretary of state. In this most mundane venue, where ordinary Black people vigorously exchange news and views, no jaws dropped, no mouths hung open.
Yes, I told myself, we have finally owned up to our achievement potential. For this reason—whatever comes of Rice’s tenure, however she may deliver herself on the world stage—I will always remember day the world was told that Condi would be secretary of state.
True, all is not well in the America that the new secretary of state will be showcasing to the world. The post-election semblance of normalcy notwithstanding, Americans are still deeply divided over the direction the country has taken in the last four years. (Forty-eight percent, that’s 55 million people, voted for Sen. John Kerry.) Many are truly fearful of the terrorists that we are being told are at our doorsteps, preparing to strike and take away “our way of life.” Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some European countries reportedly have received record numbers of immigration inquiries from Americans who dread the influence of fundamentalist Christians on the administration’s domestic policies. And, in spite of big business’s and Wall Street’s initial euphoria at Bush’s re-election, they are deeply concerned that the nation’s mammoth budget deficits eventually will rain on their profit parade.
In our own Black community, we still face enormous challenges in health, education, employment, growing our businesses and, yes, in fending off racism.
Condi just isn’t enough.
This issue of TNJ is the last of 2004 and the first of 2005. Publisher Aziz Gueye Adetimirin joins me in extending our deepest gratitude to the extended TNJ family—our readers, advertisers, editorial and production contributors, business associates and myriad well wishers—for your support and in wishing you the very best for the new year.
|By Rosalind McLymont|