Friday, November 19, 2004

Requiem for a Lightweight

To quote Malvolio in Twelfth Night: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em." Add to that "And some, in turn, cast greatness off of themselves" and you have the curious case of our Mr. Colin Powell.

Never had the American political scene expected so much of one man and never before have these expectations been left so wanting. Having been billed as that most remarkable of Black men- accomplished, polished, connected--in the harsh light of day he seemed to wither within himself, unable to act as he was undercut on all sides. So when they marched him into the U.N. Secretariat on that fateful morning he proved to be little more than he was, a man carrying water for forces greater than himself. Only the times didn't call for another companyman. We were up to our eyeballs in men and women of questionable ethics and more questionable spines. We'd had all the water we could take and so we needed a great man. We needed a man willing to the live or die for something greater than himself--a principle. Not a focus group "principle" but a Muhammad Ali I-ain't-going-to-Vietnam principle. But we forgot that our man was a soldier. He wasn't there for the principle. He was just a man with a bucket of water for the throne on which he had so lovingly been perched. And on that cold winter morning, he flushed.


Blogger FishBowlDream said...

Nice commentary. I've often felt bewildered and disappointed by Powell myself. Mostly, I've just felt sorry for him.

4:34 PM  

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