Condoleezza Rice tells UNT crowd that 'revolutions are never pretty'

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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DENTON -- The road from revolution to democracy can be long and difficult, and the work of maintaining a democracy never ends, Condoleezza Rice, the nation's 66th secretary of state, said Tuesday night at the University of North Texas.

"When people seize their freedom, it is chaotic and disruptive and really, really frightening," Rice told a packed crowd at UNT Coliseum. "Revolutions are never pretty."

In a wide-ranging address that touched on immigration reform, education and terrorism, Rice urged Americans to stand with the protesters in the Arab Spring movement while remaining vigilant in maintaining our own democracy.

"We were once those people in Tahrir Square," Rice said. "We have moved step by step to a mature and stable democracy. The work of getting there is never done."

Rice started by calling for a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon attack and their relatives. When asked what the United States can do to prevent attacks, she said the U.S. has been successful for the past decade.

"I suspect this is just one that got through," she said. "The best we can do is continue to be vigilant and remember this is a very long war, not a short one."

Rice, who served as secretary of state from 2005 to 2009, was the second woman and the first African-American woman to hold the post. Rice also served as national security adviser to President George W. Bush from January 2001 to 2005 and was the first woman to hold that position.

Rice, now a professor of political science at Stanford University, said she owes much of her success to her education.

"The crisis in K-12 education is the greatest national security threat we face in this country," Rice said. "The very foundation of who we are depends on it being true that you can come from humble circumstances and go on to do great things."

That idea has long drawn immigrants from around the world to the United States, and Rice urged legislators to complete immigration reform.

"Comprehensive immigration reform is at the core of who we are," she said. "This is a nation of immigrants, and we forget it at our peril."

Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056

Twitter: @sarahbfw

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