Does anyone else get the feeling that Colin Powell really regrets having any historical ties to the Dick Cheney administration? Perhaps it’s more of just a case where Powell still has a conscience and a soul, two things seemingly lacking in most Republicans these days. For whatever reason, Powell has been very willing to be very critical at many times of the state of the GOP. As a person of color he certainly has a very unique perspective on his party’s thinly veiled racist attempts to suppress the minority votes in red states.
You can’t deny that Powell is a man who is willing to take a stand — even if that stand is delivering a ton of false intelligence to the world about Iraq in the lead up the our ill-fated war there. Maybe it’s him trying to balance his karma accounts, but this week while in Raleigh, NC Powell trashed the Republican efforts in North Carolina to suppress the minority and college votes. “I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote. It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs… These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away,” Powell told the assembled crowd.
Speaking in front of a CEO conference in North Carolina, Powell in this instance is completely astute and correct in pointing out how stupid and self-destructive it is for the GOP to continue to harass and subjugate African-Americans in this country when they so sorely need some votes outside of the “white, angry, male” vote that they definitely have locked down. Mitt Romney secured around 60% of the white vote and still lost in epic fashion. As Powell points out, more ethnic diversity isn’t just advisable at this point, it’s downright necessary. Without it, they will drop further and further in the race to 270 electoral college votes as more and more mainstream Americans find the GOP message divisive, racist and homophobic.
But if you’re going to slam a North Carolinian voter ID law in North Carolina, what’s the only way to take your message to the next level? What’s the best way to show just how appalled and disgusted you are at the overt racism of your own party? How can you best nail your message to the wall so to speak? You can deliver that message while the racist moron governor who signed the law into the books is attending the very same conference.
That’s right, Colin Powell took the state of North Carolina to task for the unconstitutional voter ID law they just rushed into existence right in front of Governor Pat McCrory. I hope Powell’s remarks made the governor shrink so far down into his seat that he had to be carried out in someone’s breast pocket. I may not always agree with everything that comes out of General Powell’s mouth, but you have to be willing to give credit where credit is due.
Perhaps his transgressions of the past will never be wiped completely clean. After all, it was on his solid reputation as an apolitical member of our Armed Services that we trusted his warnings about impending doom from Saddam Hussein’s palace in Iraq. It was because we had trusted him to check his Republican ID card at the door and level with us that we believed him. There are theories that Powell really didn’t know the depths to which Cheney, Rumsfeld and others sunk to hide the truth and lie their way into a money-making venture known as the Iraq War. I’m not really sure how much stock I do or don’t put in that theory. That time was a very dark period in our nation’s history and a lot of people said and did things in the aftermath of 9/11, while emotions were at their most raw, that perhaps they regret now.
I don’t know that Powell’s efforts since Obama was elected to try to be the voice of racial sanity in the GOP makes up for the over 4,000 Americans and countless scores more Iraqis that died thanks in large part to his sales job on the whole disaster. What I do know is that right now he’s at least trying to hold off the most wicked and cynical forces in his party, and likely fighting a losing battle. The way this country’s political theater is playing out right now, it feels to me like we’re in for a major fight in the next act — the 2014 mid-terms, and the stakes could not be higher, nor the cheating tactics of the GOP anymore plain.
For this one brief moment, we have to give Powell credit where credit is due and thank him for standing up to forces that far outnumber him within his own party. The odds of enough people listening to make a difference are low, but there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that not all sane and rational Republicans have left the party. The question is how many of them are still there, and if they have the same courage of their convictions that General Powell seems to have found again.
Not a good time to hold your breath though.