The Vulcans - the cats who were on scene, large and in charge when 911 changed the world and officially escorted in the new millennium had one thread in common that separated them from all previous Great Satan's Oval Office cab members and advisers.
FDR's collection of wise men had Wall Street as a common denominator - JFK's best and brightest had the ivory ivy league halls academia.
The Vulcans had the Pentagon.
Taking Alabama's statue of Vulcan - a larger than life size omage to Birmingham's steel industry as their nom de guerre - the Vulcans (v1.0) included Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, General Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, VP Cheney and Dr Condoleezza Rice.
The Vulcans shared several central beliefs - they lived by them, they knew them to be true and they never wavered on those central values:
1. America ain't what's wrong with the world. Events and history totally bear this out. Any time rowdy trouble makers in the world act out it always because they cannot tolerate the sexyful, glistening promise of tolerant, egalitarian societies and transparent periodic elections - as Uncle Tony once awesomely put it "The rule of law - not the rule of the secret police."
2. America's position in the world should be maintained as THE dominant power. Not just military - but everything - trade, tech, R and D, and cultural as a means of constantly confronting and confounding illegit, unfree regimes and their very existence.
3. Free nations and democracies don't cause problems. They solve them. Democracies are often slow to get riled up - but as de Tocquville hinted - happy hands building, creating, inventing and tending to peaceful, capitalistic or academic endeavours can sweetly be switched over to building, fielding and deploying the deadliest armies of their age with creative destructive precisely visited upon the heads of internat'l naughtiness and villans decked out in despotic couture.
The best source about the Vulcans, their histories, personalitites and beliefs up to 2004 is James Mann's "Rise of the Vulcans". Great Satan fans will love it - Great Satan haters fear it (and actually try to hide all the copies at Barnes and Nobles in the alternate lifestyle section. That's weird - but true!)
One by one the Vulcans began dropping out of the scene. Secretary Powell, Deputy Def Sec Wolfowitz (who is also one of neoconservatism's top intelligentsia) and Deputy Sec of State Armitage (now here's irony for you - Great Satan's top covert cat from the Vietnam and it's aftermath days blown out of the water by a moment of kiss and tell about Valerie Plame. Kinda gives loose lips a new millennium motif), and the ever cheerful communication combatant, the most awesome cat to ever talk with his hands, Donald Rumsfeld.
The two Vulcans who made it through to the end were the ever avuncular, nigh indestructible cardiac wise, unrepentant VP Cheney and Dr Condoleezza Rice.
Sec of State Rice cut her way to the top with hard work, a giant brain almost too huge for her tiny hot little body and proved an ancient adage from right before the 2000 election that "She's so smart - she's beautiful."
Back in those days, girls coming up in the Great Satan pretty much ignored mom and poppa. Their influence was to be resisted.
Hey, they seemed to be wrong about everything. If they really dug something - it was suspect, eschewed and ignored.
If they disliked or feared something - that was the cue for girls to seek it out, embrace it and own it.
And for those of us who were little, the one role model that insinuated herself into nearly every aspect of our emerging ego's and id's was the hottest thing on the charts.
Right before 911 time Miss Britney Spears taught us it was cool to dress like a hoochie, act like a hoochie and still be as pure and virginal as the girl that poppa married.
"The video for her debut single, "Hit Me Baby One More Time," outfitted
her in full Catholic-school regalia and sent her well on the way to becoming an international sex symbol.
Britney proved that girls could dance all around the fire, over the fire, through the fire and (unlike the preacher, 'rents and older siblings tried to teach) never get burned! Mom and poppa were soooo wrong!!
Yet Spears' handlers seemed to be trying to have it both ways --
there was a definite tension between the wholesome innocence Spears tried to project for her female audience, and the titillating sexuality that enticed so many male fans. Those marketing tactics made Spears a somewhat controversial figure, the subject of endless debates concerning appropriate role models for teenage girls. "
Certain benevolent despotic 'rents used reverse psychology in a wicked maneuver to install more productive role models. And certain girls fell for it.
Of all the Vulcans, Dr Rice was savaged by the stuck up press and political opposites in a way that tried to diss her on a personal level - actually - racist.
"Honey, just promise me you'll stay away from Condi Rice. She is sooo wrong. Using her education to get ahead - instead of getting married and raising a family, uncool - a southern girl gone bad like that actually having a place in decision making that could effect the entire planet. Who does she think she is? Why is she so special?"
"Can anyone remember a racist caricature of such esteemed dignitaries like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton? Where are the racist cartoons of Yassir Arafat, OBL or any of the terrorists that kill civilians as a military tactic? While Al Jazeera is overplaying the shooting of a supposed unarmed terrorist by a US Marine while choosing not to air the execution of CARE President Margeret Hassan by Iraqi
militants, where are the cartoons of those animals?"
Other critics - like Dr Fred Kaplan - kept it semi cerebral - but still were horrified that Rice proclaimed their precious Realpolitk was as incinerated as surely as the nearly 3K innocents who made it to work that ungodly AM in early September.
Dr Rice never lost her cool, she always kept her charm. And she used it. Like hitting Deutschland on tour wearing those sexy hot knee high boots.
"Rice challenges expectations and assumptions. There is undeniable authority in her long black jacket with its severe details and menacing silhouette. The darkness lends an air of mystery and foreboding. Black is the color of intellectualism, of abstinence, of penitence. If there is any symbolism to be gleaned from Rice's stark garments, it is that she is tough and focused enough for whatever task is at hand."
"She was not hiding behind matronliness, androgyny or the stereotype of the steel magnolia. Rice brought her full self to the world stage -- and that included her sexuality."
On tour with Great Britain's Foreign Sec Lord Jack Straw during a long flight, Condi gave up her own comfy bed to the ancient old man and crashed out on an impromptu pallet on the floor.
Later events - like proclaiming the non negotiable demands of human dignity (curiously overlooked because some doofus with fake blood on her hands tried to sourmouth the event calling Dr Rice a war criminal) or calling out Mookie - a big fat coward who was willing to fight to the last drop of innocent blood to impose a caliphate on Iraq - led by himself - natch - from a secret lair somewhere in Preacher Heights in Tehran proved Rice could bare fangs and spit razor blades in any league.
Her recently released Foreign Policy opus "American Realism" is powerful meds for future leaders of the Free World and their aid de camps
Take care Dr Rice, rest, relax - enjoy those brainiac sessions at Stanford, NFL games and hopefully - fire up a volume of memoirs soon.
This may not be a professional 'farewell' for Condi. Such an august, brilliant presence like Dr Rice may again be summoned to serve Great Satan.
And, certainly not farewell from a thankful fangirl who learned how to think - sometimes Machiavellian, how to attempt to succeed and how to retain a bit of southern charm, to reshape drive and ambition, to focus, and well, how to live.
Dr Condoleezza Rice was and is a tremendous influence for moi - like a hip, cool older sis.
In a way - she made me.
Not 'farewell' Dr Rice - yet 'til we meet again' from a spiritual daughter.
Pic - "I love Dr Rice and I don't give a dayyum what anybody thinks"