Washington Post Article: Susan Rice Withdraws as Candidate for Secretary of State by Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan

Early in the afternoon on Thursday, December 13, it was reported that Susan Rice, the United States’ U.N. Ambassador, withdrew her name from consideration for the Secretary of State position.

The article notes that Rice felt that she would have been confirmed, had she been nominated, but that it would be “a lengthy, costly and disruptive” process that would have been “incredibly distracting and disruptive.”

The controversy surrounding the possibility of Rice’s nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State focused, primarily, on what turned out to be inaccurate statements she made regarding the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya resulting in the deaths of four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.

The Rice nomination controversy has, once again, revealed the fissured political landscape in the United States, wherein everything becomes about election cycle politics.  That is, issues and appointments and decisions and (fill in the blank) are transformed into tools for political parties and their politicians to win points with the American populace with a view toward bettering their chances in the next election.

The issues constantly change because they are simply the means, not the ends.  Solutions reached through realistic, thoughtful investigation, discussion and compromise are not sought, so much as opportunities to better position oneself and/or one’s party for the next election.  In recent years we have seen this with health care legislation, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with immigration, with national debt, with taxes and, currently, with the “fiscal cliff” or “fiscal curve.”

A New York Times article published yesterday (December 13), provides some insight into Rice’s personality and approach, which has caused issues in the past.  So, there may have been more to her nomination for some (most?) than was publicized and talked about.

Yet, the primary focus of Senator McCain’s and Senator Graham’s campaign (of sorts) against the possibility of Rice’s nomination focused almost solely on her handling of the 9/11/12 attack in Libya.  As such, it must be lamented that our nation has become so unforgiving, so lacking in compassion, grace and general decency, that one misstep, one mistake, one error disqualifies one for a job.

In light of the ever-increasing partisanship in politics and society, faith communities across our nation need to help us all remember the need for civility, for dialogue, for discussion, for compromise and, perhaps most importantly, for grace and compassion freely given and freely received.

For too many people of faith, especially in the Christian tradition, grace has become wholly about what the divine offers to us that, when accepted, gets us into heaven after we die.  This erroneous idea that grace is only about life after death has contributed to much poor, graceless, compassionate-less behavior from those who gather each week to sing about the grace god has given them.

The best of the Christian tradition, and of all faith traditions, reminds us that grace, that compassion, that love, that mercy, that understanding is not just something we receive but something we give, share and scatter freely wherever we may go.  We need to remember this, to practice this kind of profligate grace, and to encourage our national leaders to do likewise.

The full-text of DeYoung’s and Gearan’s article can be found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/susan-rice-withdraws-as-candidate-for-secretary-of-state/2012/12/13/17ad344e-4567-11e2-8e70-e1993528222d_story.html?hpid=z1

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