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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Colin Powell - 2450 words
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Everywhere he goes, Colin Powell is besieged. Bicycle messengers in spandex tights stop him on the streets of Washington and urge him to run for President. Waiters at restaurants advise the retired general to aim for the White House. CEOs quietly pledge money should Powell decide to run. Political operatives of both parties would like to ignore Powell--but can't. 'I don't think about it a lot,' claims a senior White House official, before admitting, 'If Powell does run, he will be a significant player.' Another in the White House is more fatalistic: 'If he runs, we're dead.' Says William Lacy, Bob Dole's top strategist: 'If he jumped in the race today, he would be the principal competitor for us.' Everywhere he goes, Colin Powell is applauded. In the hall in San Diego where the Republican Party will nominate its presidential candidate about a year from now, the crowd is instantly on its feet as his presence is announced and he bounds down to the podium.
He speaks for 50 minutes, without notes, taking the crowd through the cold war, through Korea, Vietnam, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Operation Desert Storm and the occupation of Haiti. Powell, 58, tells moving tales of his upbringing in Harlem and the South Bronx, of sitting in the Hall of St. Catherine in the Kremlin, where he heard Gorbachev declare that the cold war was over. And when Powell has delivered his set speech, the inevitable question rises from the floor: 'When are you going to announce that you're running for President?' The rapt audience carefully weighs the well-rehearsed answer, word by word. 'Thank you very, very much. And I'm very, very flattered
I'm honored and humbled. It's a question I receive regularly, and I don't know what I'm going to do with my life after my book is finished. The book is out this fall, and then I'll have to make some choices. 'I tell people that I'm not a professional politician. I was truly a soldier.' Another wave of applause washes over him.
'Even after working two years in the West Wing, there isn't a single one of my White House friends from those days who could tell you today whether they think I'm a Republican or a Democrat. That was part of the code I lived with. Now I'm no longer protected by my uniform. As I go around the country, I'm trying to develop a political philosophy, just to be a good citizen, not necessarily to run for office. 'I want to keep the option of elective office open because I think I should do that.
Why close off possibilities? I want to be of some service to the nation in the future. I just don't know if it will be an appointed office, charitable work, educational work.. 'I don't find a passion for politics. I don't find that I have that calling for politics. But I want to keep the option open .. So the only thing I could say in answer to your question is, 'I don't know if I'll ever announce.
Just watch this space. I'll be around somewhere in public life.'' Clinton, Dole and millions of American voters are watching the Colin Powell space. More than half the country says it wants an independent candidate for President to break up the duopoly enjoyed by the two parties. And in a TIME/CNN poll, nearly a third of the voters say they would vote for Powell in a three-way race against Clinton and Dole, putting the retired general in a virtual dead heat with the candidates of the two major parties. Moreover, the poll shows that if Powell were the Republican nominee, he would edge Clinton by a few percentage points.
In the Republican field, Powell is preferred by 22 percent of G.O.P.-leaning voters, second to Dole's 43 percent and well ahead of Pat Buchanan and Phil Gramm, each of whom attract only 6 percent. If Powell were Dole's vice-presidential choice, their ticket would beat Clinton and Al Gore, while a face-off between just Clinton and Dole shows Clinton ahead. There are four reasons why Powell could emerge as a major figure in the 1996 race: Powell himself, by disposition, inclination and personal history, is perhaps the ideal candidate to seize the large ideological center of American politics. Public discontent with the two-party system has been growing over the decades, and the voters who refuse to label themselves Republicans or Democrats outnumber either party's loyalists. The 1996 contest is quickly shaping up as a race between a wounded Democratic incumbent and a Republican who is a two-time presidential loser of advancing years and whose record is scrambling to get in synch with the right-wing fervor of his party. Unhappiness with these options could yield a search for a new candidate.
Perhaps most important, Powell, while he has not decided whether to run, is methodically positioning himself to make his own run for the office either as a Republican or independent, or to be the vice-presidential nominee on the Republican ticket. No man in modern American political history has ever had a better chance to become President of the U.S. on his own terms, and thus to redefine the public debate in a profound and lasting way. At the same time, no man with such an advantage has seemed less driven to seize the opportunity. This reluctance, in the jujitsu of American politics, is a huge plus for the time being.
As the campaign heats up, it will start to become a big negative. A dithering Powell would become the Hamlet of the 1996 race, a kind of Mario Cuomo with medals. It's not nice to fool with the political affections of the American people. Powell will soon have to say yes or no. Even if he runs as an independent, which would allow him to skip the primary races early next year, he cannot stay on the sidelines much longer and still build the kind of war chest and organization necessary for this campaign. There is nothing easy about becoming President.
Powell's appeal makes it less daunting. What exactly lies at its root? Why does nearly everyone who has worked with him sing his praises? Why is his reputation in the cynical, self-aggrandizing world of Washington nearly without blemish? 'I'm sure he has faults,' says Charles Duncan, a former Secretary of Energy, who worked with Powell in the Carter Administration, 'but I couldn't point to one.' Some associates have seen Powell as thin-skinned in the past, but they say he monitors his flaws carefully and is quickly 'self-correcting.' Military figures often carry an intrinsic appeal as tough, decisive leaders, and Powell starts with that quality. He advanced rapidly inside the Army, was the youngest Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and got huge credit for his organization of Desert Storm. But his appeal overflows the confines of the armed services. On a photo of Powell and Ronald Reagan going over a document together, Reagan wrote, 'If you say so, I know it's all right.' At a press conference following the mission to Haiti, Powell stole the show from former President Jimmy Carter, Senator Sam Nunn and President Clinton.
His performance in public is superb. Gerald Ford, who even as President never had such bearing, calls Powell 'the best public speaker in America.' In many recent speeches, Powell has taken his audience with him into Buckingham Palace as he received his honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in a way that makes him seem like a regular guy but also reminds people of how much he has accomplished. In San Diego in early June, he had the audience laughing at the little indignities he suffers now that the full power and glory of being Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is no longer his. He tells them he can't get his wife Alma to make him lunch and says, 'One of the saddest figures in all Christendom is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once removed, driving around with a baseball cap pulled over his eyes, making his strategic choice as to whether it's going to be McDonald's or Taco Bell.' 'He has that rapport good politicians have with people,' says Paul Wolfowitz, former Under Secretary of Defense. 'A lot of them go through the motions very well and convince people that they care.
Then there are the gifted ones who are really connecting. He does that, and I think it's related to the fact that there are things he cares deeply about. There is an intensely human quality about Powell that I think is exceptional.' The personal story of Colin Powell is exemplary. Born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx, he grew up in a solid and supportive family, worked hard to move up (although not so hard in college, getting only average grades) and succeeded mostly despite his race but sometimes because of it. The Powell success story is reassuring to those Americans who want to believe that although racism persists, the system is not so corrupted by it as to prevent talented minorities from succeeding.
Powell plays to that emotion in his speeches, talking unselfconsciously about race. 'How did I deal with racism?' he asked rhetorically at a speech in San Antonio, Texas. 'I beat it. I said, 'I am not going to carry this burden of racism. I'm going to destroy your stereotype.
I'm proud to be black. You carry this burden of racism, because I'm not going to.'' He seems to be aware of the peculiar advantages of his race. In 1972, when he was plucked from a successful but still obscure career to become a White House Fellow, he remarked with knowing irony to a friend, 'I was lucky to be born black.' His race also gives Powell license to recognize and even joke about the ethnic differences in America in the face of both tiresome political correctness and simmering racial hatred. In his San Diego speech he parodied a pompous white military officer speaking in empty and orotund phrases. Then he mimicked a black sergeant talking about the coming war in the Persian Gulf: 'We gonna kick butt and go home.' Describing an encounter with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at his White House treaty signing with Yasser Arafat, Powell put on a New York Jewish accent. And he even worked around the edges of gay sensibilities.
'Arafat .. is so taken with the moment that he starts to pull me toward him and hug me and give me a two-cheek kiss. But I can only stand so much new world order..' The audience laughed with him. Powell's views on specific political issues are not fully articulated, and most Americans see him largely in policy-neutral terms. Thus he is something of an empty ideological vessel into which voters pour their own beliefs.
But in the scores of speeches he has given since his retirement as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the message he has crafted is a brilliantly balanced mix of conservative values and a somewhat liberal view of the proper role of government. His most powerful theme has been the importance of family, of America as a big national family, and of reconciliation among warring forces abroad and hostile groups at home. He repeatedly tells the story of a young African-American soldier being interviewed just before going into battle in Kuwait. The soldier was asked whether he was afraid. 'He said,' Powell relates proudly, ''I am not afraid.
And the reason I'm not afraid is that I'm with my family.' He looked over his shoulder at the other youngsters in his unit. They were white and black and yellow and every color of the American mosaic. 'That's my family. We take care of one another.'' Powell leads toward his larger point: 'If we can build a spirit of family into the heart of an 18-year-old black private, send him 8,000 miles away from home, join hundreds of similar teams and have them believe that, can there be any question in your mind or in your heart that we have the capacity as a nation to instill that same sense of family, and all it entails, in every workplace, in every community, in every school, in every home back here in America?' He draws the contrast between his message and that of other politicians. 'There's a lot of shouting and screaming going on in our political system.
But we have to keep our lives on certain fundamental principles, and one of those is that America is a family .. We've got to start remembering that no member of our family should be satisfied if any member of our American family is suffering or in need and we can do something about it. 'We've got to teach our youngsters what a family means, what giving to your community means, what raising good children means. We've got to restore a sense of shame to our society. Nothing seems to shame us or outrage us anymore.
We look at our television sets and see all kinds of trash, and we allow it to come into our homes. We're not ashamed of it anymore.' But just how, either as candidate or President, he would bring about such results he doesn't say. Powell carries a basic set of old-fashioned, conservative social values--he is against sending women into combat, and fought against letting gays serve openly in the military. But he is adding specific and fairly centrist views on other hot-button issues. He is basically pro-choice, against the proposed flag-burning amendment and a supporter of Medicare, which helped him care for both his parents in their final years. On affirmative action he makes a nuanced distinction.
While he is against programs that give advantages to people who no longer need them, he supports programs that recognize that 'racism has been unfortunately an ingrained part of our society for a couple of hundred years.' Unlike politicians with long and detailed records, Powell has not had to vote yes or no, not had to enunciate positions in sufficient detail to stand up to real scrutiny and tough debate. He thus runs the risk of seeming naive and unknowing when the public debate sharpens. Yet the details of his positions may be less decisive than the overall presence he projects. Says Democratic pollster Peter Hart: 'Voting for a legislator, we say, 'I've got problems with him on this or that issue.' But voting for a President, we say, 'What kind of a leader will this person be? Do I ...
Research paper and essay writing, free essay topics, sample works Colin Powell
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