The Airing of Grievances
Monday, November 15, 2004
I Can't Stands No More
Powell has had enough.
As I'm hopelessly out of touch with how the majority of this country thinks, I'm not confident in any of what I'm about to say. But I'm led to believe that Colin Powell is respected enough that his resignation comes as a disappointment to most and is, at its core, not a "good" thing. After all, experienced foreign policy vets who behave like adults aren't found in large numbers these days. All of the articles I've read thus far portray Powell as a voice of reason in the Bush cabinet, but also as a man who is weary of fighting the good fight in the name of international diplomacy as an alternative to the go-it-alone, scorched earth policies to which so many in the Bush Administration adhere. Conventional wisdom also holds that his resignation comes as no surprise, because of the nature of his struggle, not to mention the neo-conservative bent towards affairs of state that we have taken. This leaves me with one question: if the departure of Colin Powell is such a blow, what does that say about the people who are running things? Actually it leaves me with two questions: if he is seen as a voice of reason in a group of rash cowboys, why the hell are these people still in charge? OK, three questions: taking all of this into account, what does it say about us as an electorate?
Nobody flinched when Ashcroft resigned because, except for people who find over-the-top 21st century versions of the Horst Wessel Song appealing and dancing to be an abomination, he was regarded as a pretty crappy Attorney General and a relatively psychotic human being. The indifference and sense that things were going to improve when his torture-endorsing successor was chosen speak volumes about what we thought of Ashcroft. Now, we face the possibility of Condi Rice making the move over to State, where maybe she'll be able to willfully ignore warning signs about deteriorating international relations as well as she did briefings on emerging terrorist threats. Great, grand, thanks a lot.
That's not to say that I'll miss him. Powell had many a chance to either resign in protest or at least voice his displeasure at recent events and pull the rug out from under the Adminstration. He chose not to do so, speaking in vague language and standing pat with his stock answer of "I serve at the leisure of the President" or some such cop out. To think that Powell could possibly be happy with the way we've conducted ourselves is equivalent to dismissing Liberace as just another snappy dresser. All the clues were there. The October surprise I longed for in this past election was that Powell would come out, guns ablazing, a few weeks before the election as, you guessed it, a respected voice of reason firing torpedos through the doublespeak and rosy Pollyanna blather put out by his cohorts. Despite his odious performance at the UN a couple years back, he's basically unimpeachable in the eyes of the American people and, I would guess, has approval and favorability ratings that top our own President's by a good ten points. He's 67 years old and doesn't have much of a political future to look forward to. What's to lose, except the continued degradation of the American ideal in eyes of the international community?