Pittsburgh Speakers Series: Valerie Plame Wilson and Ambassador Joe Wilson

22 Nov

Valerie Plame Wilson and Ambassador Joe Wilson’s speeches at the Pittsburgh Speakers Series last night were phenomenal.  A good chunk of the talk was laying out Plamegate from their perspective.  This was interesting and helpful, because I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t know much about them beyond that she worked for the CIA, her identity was leaked as political retribution, and that there’s a movie about her with Naomi Watts.

Both Plame Wilson and Ambassador Wilson are engaging and articulate.  Despite the hard years they faced at the hands of the Administration, their speeches were not laden with bitterness.  Yes, they still have anger over the ordeal, but they are not letting themselves be weighed down.

The overriding theme of the night was civic engagement.  They both had careers in public service that they loved, and their careers were completely destroyed by unchecked abuse of political power.  They both encouraged the audience that the only way to enforce governmental accountability is for citizens to be engaged and take part in the political process, whether on the local level, or on a grander scale.  By the time I left, I was all riled up to GO MAKE SOME CHANGE!

I steer clear of autobiographies (they are too often self-indulgent and poorly written), but I am now interested to read Plame Wilson’s Fair Game, and see the movie as well.  Perhaps it is because I so recently listened to Outliers, that I would have really liked to learn more about how the dots in her life connected, and how she had opportunities and access to the things that made her life so unique.  Plame Wilson came from a military family, went to college at Penn State, and said that she was “asked to join” the CIA.  I’m pretty sure that the CIA didn’t spot her at The Crowbar and think “Oh she looks like she’d be a good covert agent! Let’s send her an e-vite!” I assume that her military parents were probably big important people military parents, and there was some connection there…but even my connection-less self would have been interested to hear how she went from State College to a life of mystery and intrigue.


One Response to “Pittsburgh Speakers Series: Valerie Plame Wilson and Ambassador Joe Wilson”


  1. Pittsburgh Speakers Series: Tom Brokaw « BeezusKiddo - April 27, 2012

    […] was Michelle Rhee, whom I had never heard of before buying my tickets.  My second favorites were Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson, and tying for third were Ron Chernow and Michael Pollan. (Brokaw lagged far behind in fourth […]

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