WhyColin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bushpresidency
Special to USAfricaonline.com
USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
TheBlack Business Journal
Powell's choice is an excellent commentary on Bush'spromise to surround himself with "good company... and solid men" (andhopefully, women, too). In my view, Powell holds outstandingsocialskills, highly-valuable academic qualifications, practical andprofessional knowledge, operational zest, carries on like a teamplayer and possesses a global knowledge of how the deconstructed ColdWar era international geopolitical and ideological paradigms havecollapsed and should be managed into the 21st century. In one shortsentence, Bush made a wise choice! Powell's rise validates the factthere are millions of first-rate African Americans who are the verybest in what they do; not for some bare-face lie by right-wing nutsand distortion artists who say that, more often than not, AfricanAmericans are "not qualified" and are merely employed because of some"quota", plus other fallacies against affirmative action. In fact, atthe management level, they are even held to a higher, more taskingstandards than their colleagues.
President-elect George W. Bush has namedretired Gen. Colin Powell as his Secretary of State, on Saturday,December 16, 2000, at a school in Crawford, Texas. I believe thatPowell, one of the most admired personalities in theUnited States brings definable knowledge of international relations,gravitas, star power and bipartisan credibility to the emerging Bushadministration.
Powell, 63, is the first person named to the new cabinet (to beconfirmed by Congress), and the highest-ranked African American inthe history of U.S. government. He had served Republican PresidentsRonald Reagan, G.W's father George Herbert Walker Bush, and brieflyincumbent Democrat President Bill Clinton.
There are a number of issues which are important for our community ofAfrican Americans regarding the Powell choice as Secretary ofState.
First, I agree entirely with president-electBush that "General Powell is an American hero, an Americanexample and a great American story," He is agenuine public servant with an admirable integrity. Like the finestamong them, he is not perfect but he aspires for the best; longbefore and even after he stepped down as chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff in 1993. Also, Bush is accurate in describing Powellas having a "towering integrity" and showing a "soldier's sense ofduty and honor."
Second, Powell's rise validates the fact there are millions offirst-rate African Americans who are the very best in what they do;not for some bare-face lie by right-wing nuts and distortion artistswho say that, more often than not, African Americans are "notqualified" and are merely employed because of some "quota" and otherfallacies against affirmative action. In fact, at the managementlevel, they are even held to a higher, more tasking standards thantheir colleagues.
Third, Powell's choice is an excellent commentary on Bush'spromise to surround himself with "good company... and solid men" (andhopefully, women, too). In my view, Powell holds outstanding socialskills, highly-valuable academic qualifications, practical andprofessional knowledge, operational zest, carries on like a teamplayer and possesses a global knowledge of how the deconstructed ColdWar era international geopolitical and ideological paradigms havecollapsed and should be managed into the 21st century. In one shortsentence, Bush made a wise choice!
Fourth, Powell's choice advances a major socio-economic debate inthe United States: the issue of affirmative action. Fact: affirmativeaction merely opened the door to let the skills of the Powells ofAmerica to shine so bright. Affirmative action unlocked the good oldboys network of the American establishment for us to see one of ourown, a good man, Colin Powell, son of Jamaican immigrants withAfrican roots, to rise to carry the flag of America to all corners ofthe world, with all of its power, majesty and shall we add, itsburdens, too. He's more than capable. May be, Bush himself, shouldspeak directly to the fact and way beyond his campaign time dance andtwist he had about whatever-you-say-affirmative-action-is-what-Imean-it-to-be. It not quotas, Mr. President-elect. Speaking the truthabout the fundamental difference between affirmative action andquotas will be another defining moment for the Bush presidencyregarding social and economic justice and access for theunder-privileged and the Historically deprived; excuse me, but Irepeat , historically deprived. Regardless, African-Americans shouldwelcome and commend his continuing effort at wooing and seeking Blacksupport. In the recent past, most of his fellow Republican partyleaders had what they call the Southern Strategy - which soughtbasically to go, primarily for the White/Caucasian/Anglo votes bydrawing wedge and racially polarizing issues and code words.
Fifth, for my immediate constituency, Powell isfamiliar with the African continent, and hopefully, will cause afundamental rethink for president-elect Bush 's (debate/campaigntime) dismissal of Africa as not being an area of priority for hisgovernment. Certainly, Powell knows better than to pursue such aflawed and economically defeatist approach towards Africa. Theinternational community and almost 32 million African-Americans arehopeful that Powell will, as he has done in the past, elevate theissues that are important for his community and ancestry. Thankfully,he has not yielded on the useful points he articulated very wellregarding affirmative action before and at the Republican Nationalconvention. How Powell treats a significant part of hisAfro-Caribbean heritage will be a major benchmark for his tenure asSecretary of State.
Finally, as the professional media network forAfricans in America and other Americans with interests inside theAfrican continent, USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica TheNewspaper will support Powell's service (with his team) to fosterAfrican and American interests. Where we disagree on principles, orunderstand the realities and agenda of African peoples better thanthe Bush-Powell team, we will say so without equivocation and offerwhat we consider to be more useful. Therefore, in recognition of hisimpeccable credentials as easily the most qualified American, notjust for the fact that he is African-American, to serve as chiefsteward and guide for America's international relations, and with dueregard to his impeccable credentials, on behalf of USAfricaonline.comand USAfrica The Newspaper, I hereby endorse his nomination to becomethe 65th secretary of state of the United States ofAmerica. We wish him well. Congratulations,Brother Powell!
Nwangwu,an adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business(Africa), is the Founder and Publisher of the first African-owned,U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the InternetUSAfricaonline.com;USAfrica The Newspaper, The Black Business Journal, BBJonline.com,and NigeriaCentral.com.He is the recipient of the Journalism Excellence Award, 1997, and iswriting a book on the experiencesof recent African immigrants in the U.S.
Readers response and viewsmay be published here an in our print edition, USAfrica TheNewspaper Election 2000 Special edition.
Bush's position on Africais "ill-advised." Theposition stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor ofTexas, George Bush where hesaid that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidencyhas been questioned by USAfricaonline.comPublisher Chido Nwangwu. Headded that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by theeconomic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our twocontinents."
These views were stated duringan interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst JeffGreenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 duringa special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu,adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S.,and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "theissues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans inAfrica, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.Sand Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend anybasis for Governor Bush's ill-advisedposition which removesAfrica from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Alverna Johnson
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