Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Colin Powell, VP of Gov't Affairs

During the first Gulf War, I would rush home from work to watch the war. The voice of James Earl Jones, the faces of Blitzer and Powell became virtual guests in my home. I confess that the first time I laid eyes on Colin Powell, I was thrilled. How cool was it that someone who could have passed as a member of my family held such a prominent position in the military?

Clearly he did what he had to do to make it in an entity that is a microcosm of our society, historically racist. Good for him, good for the military, good for our country. Powell was articulate (code used by white folks to infer that he speaks English), smart and handsome.

A military rock star. When he retired from the military, he was paid well to speak at corporate events. He was recruited by both parties to run for elected office.

To the surprise of no one, Georgie the son added him to his team. A shameless, yet effective, means of recruiting minorities to the Republican party. The Powell addition was the lead story and front page news for the MSM. Little did the country know at the time, his selection was like corporate America's diversity practices in the early eighties. Minorities were recruited to positions such as VP of community or government affairs. Nice title, nice office, great photo op, no meaningful responsibilities. Rarely, were they groomed in operations or finance where the real decisions were made. When the "team photo" is taken, the appearance of diversity is captured. But if you remain on the bench and are not given the opportunity to contribute, what difference does it make?

The beauty about "making it" in our country, subjects one to criticism. I have read comments on some very popular blogs such as the Democratic Veteran suggesting Powell was used by this administration. Bullshit.

I respect Powell the man enough to question his judgment in joining this administration in the first place. Powell permitted himself to be used. According to excerpts from his latest bio he finally "blew up" on his last day of the job. Who cares?

In my opinion, Powell was clearly the only adult in the room. He was the only one who embraced his military responsibilities when Cheney was too busy being a husband, Georgie was tying one on and Ms. Rice was practicing the piano. He knew what a mess invading Iraq would be. Yet, armed with nothing but his credibility he passionately presented an argument to go to war before the UN.

I could be wrong, but I don't think he needed the money. He missed his opportunity to be the man we all hoped and thought that he was/is and resign in protest. If Powell walked away at that point, his departure would have raised eyebrows. Even if he said nothing, his silence would screamed volumes.

For him to him to pipe up now is a sad end to what could have been a wonderful legacy. Throughout history, men and women have stood up when it counted. Mr. Powell quietly sat on the bench.

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