Colin Powell on Families & Children

Secretary of State (Pres. Bush Cabinet)


1990s: Focused on kids, not think tanks

[Former Bush administration officials met during the Clinton presidency], approximately every three months until 2001. They enabled Republican leaders to develop their critiques of the Clinton administration, selecting issues and lines of attack, thus laying the groundwork for the next presidential campaign.

It is revealing to note not only who attended these meetings from 1998 to 2000 but who was absent. Colin Powell was not at the table.

Even if Powell had been invited, he would probably not have come. He avoided foreign policy study groups. In private life after retirement from the military, he devoted his energies to several youth organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Howard University and the United Negroes College Fund. He prided himself that he liked to focus on kids, not think tanks.

Source: Rise of the Vulcans, by James Mann, p.239 , Sep 7, 2004

Promise One: Ongoing relationships with caring adults

Powell says, “We need to make sure that no boy or girl in America is growing up without having in his or her life the presence of a responsible, caring adult. Where else does a child learn how to behave? Where else does a child learn the experience of the past, the totems and traditions of the past? Where else does a child look for the proper examples except from responsible, caring, loving adults in his or her life.”
Source: America’s Promise Web Page , Jan 8, 2001

Promise Two: Safe places during nonschool hours

Powell says, “It is just common sense that if we don’t provide young people with some kind of sanctuary - I call them ‘safe places’ - and give kids something constructive to do once the last bell rings, they are going to be easy marks for drug dealers, gang recruiters and other predators.”
Source: America’s Promise Web Page , Jan 8, 2001

GOP values fuel families; families build communities

Our vision [in the Republican Party] rests on values. Values because they are the conscience of a society. Values which must be lived and not just preached. Children learn values by watching their parents in their homes. Values which are then reinforced in their churches and places of worship, in their schools and in the communities in which they live.

And values fuel families. Families that are bound together by love and commitment. Families that then have the strength to withstand the assaults of contemporary life -- to resist the images of violence and vulgarity that flood into their lives every day. Families that come together as communities to defeat the scourge of drugs and crime and incivility that threatens us. That’s why we Republicans believe that the family, fueled by values, must be restored to the central place in American life if we are to keep the dream alive.

Source: Speech to the Republican National Convention , Aug 12, 1996

Family is important, but don’t impose “family values”

The family must be the first & final arbiter of basic human values, and the source of a moral education. In response to the loaded right-wing phrase, “family values,” Powell condemns any imposition of values by one group over another, while reinforcing repeatedly the importance of family. He describes his own family, his model, as “good people, believing in this country, wanting a better life & wanting to raise a family that would do better than they did. That’s the American dream, the immigrant dream.
Source: Powell & the American Dream, by Cummings&Rudnicki, p. 13-14 , Jul 2, 1995

A sense of shame is not a bad moral compass

We say we are appalled by the rise of sexually transmitted disease, by the wave of teenage pregnancies, by violent crime. Yet we drench ourselves in depictions of explicit sex and crime on television, in movies, and in pop music.

A sense of shame is not a bad moral compass. I remember who easy it was for my mother to snap me back into line with a simple rebuke: “I’m ashamed of you. You embarrassed the family.” I wonder where our national sense of shame has gone.

Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 594 , Jan 1, 1995

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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014