Before a packed hearing room on Capitol Hill John Kerry started his confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee for his nomination to be secretary of state.
In his opening statement, Kerry made reference to his long journey to this moment that began in 1971 in front of the panel then chaired by Senator William Fulbright. But he also stressed the world is far different — and in many ways more complicated.
“Nearly 42 years ago Chairman Fulbright first gave me the opportunity to testify before this committee during a difficult and divided time for our country,” Kerry said. “Today I can’t help but recognize that the world itself then was in many ways simpler, divided as it was along bi-polar, Cold War antagonism. Today’s world is more complicated than anything we have experienced — from the emergence of China, to the Arab Awakening; inextricably linked economic, health, environmental and demographic issues, proliferation, poverty, pandemic disease, refugees, conflict ongoing in Afghanistan, entire populations and faiths struggling with the demands of modernity, and the accelerating pace of technological innovation shifting power from nation-states to individuals”
As he was finishing his statement, a protestor from Code Pink: Women for Peace standing in the back of the room interrupted the hearing, shouting, “The Middle East is not a threat to us! I am tired of my friends in the Middle East dying!
As the protestor was led from the confirmation hearing Kerry, turned in her direction, and addressed her and the commitee.
“I’ll tell you Mr. Chairman, when I first came to Washington to testify it was as a member of group who came to have their voices heard,” he said. “That is what this place is all about.”
Now that is what you call Stateman like conduct.