Colin Powell on Principles & Values

America’s Promise: keep “The Five Promises” to children

Powell says, “We cannot provide all our young people with idyllic childhoods, as much as we would like to do so. But we can - and we must- provide them with the minimum requirements they need to grow up into self-supporting and contributing members of society. We do this by keeping the Five Promises.”
    Many communities across the country are now mobilizing to fulfill these Five Promises for children and youth:
  1. Ongoing relationships with caring adults - parents, mentors, tutors or coaches;
  2. Safe places with structured activities during nonschool hours;
  3. Healthy start and future;
  4. Marketable skills through effective education; and
  5. Opportunities to give back through community service.
These Five Promises contain the seeds for a national movement capable of advancing the health and well-being of the next generation. But, we all must take responsibility and get involved to make this a reality.
Source: America’s Promise Web Page Jan 8, 2001

With GOP on economy; wants bipartisanship on social issues

I am voting for our Republican team, and I urge you to do so as well. We have offered a positive vision of hope, opportunity and common sense reform. We have forthrightly addressed the big issues: education, Social Security, access to quality health care for all Americans, tax relief, and a strong national defense.

At home, the economy is strong and the budget is balanced. A growing surplus provides the means to both cut taxes and finance important reforms. On education, Social Security and health care, our Republican team is right and our opposition is wrong.

On the social issues that have divided our nation for so long, we are committed to forge a bi-partisan approach to solving America’s problems. We are committed to a future that leaves no one behind. We believe individual liberty is rooted in personal responsibility.

The moral dimension of leadership respects the moral and religious foundations of our Republic. We trust the American people to manage their own lives.

Source: Pre-Election Message from Colin Powell, DuPage County GOP Nov 6, 2000

Raised poor, but rich in spirit & belief in America

Q: What basic message did you receive from your parents and what would you say were the keys to your success?

A: They raised two children to whom they gave a precious gift, a set of core beliefs. A value system founded on a clear understanding of the difference between right and wrong and a belief in the Almighty. They taught us Integrity, kindness and Godliness were right. Lying, violence, intolerance, crime and drugs were wrong and, even worse than wrong, they were shameful. In my family we were taught that hard work and education were the keys to success. My sister and I were taught to believe in ourselves. We might be considered poor, but we were rich in spirit. But, stick with it, because in America, justice will eventually triumph and the powerful, searing promise of the founding fathers will come true. We were taught by my parents to always, always, always believe in America.

Source: Home Business Magazine interview, Bakersfield, CA Oct 11, 1997

Big Tent of GOP restores the American Dream

I became a Republican because I believe our party best represents the principles of freedom, opportunity, and limited government upon which our nation was founded. I became a Republican because I believe the policies of our party will lead to greater economic growth. I became a Republican because I truly believe the federal government has become too large and too intrusive in our lives. I became a Republican because I believe America must remain the leader of the free world.

I became a Republican because I want to help fill the big tent that our party has raised to attract all Americans. You all know that I believe in a woman’s right to choose and I strongly support affirmative action. And, I was invited here by my party to share my views with you because we are a big enough party to disagree on individual issues and still work together for our common goal: restoring the American Dream. I am a Republican because I believe in that dream, and I believe we are the ones to keep it alive.

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

Colin Powell’s 13 Rules of Life

    Colin Powell’s 13 Rules of Life
  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, and then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done!
  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell Jan 1, 1996

Keep options open for presidency, but not ready yet

Q: When are you going to announce that you’re running for President?

A: 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. I’m not a professional politician. I was truly a soldier.

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 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, or 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.

Source: John Stacks, Time Magazine Jul 10, 1995

Voted for Kennedy & Johnson on civil rights grounds

In 1960, while Powell was stationed in Germany, there was a presidential election, the first in which Powell was old enough to vote. He cast an absentee ballot for JFK. His result wasn’t the result of any in-depth analysis. It was simply that, “In those days, he and his party seemed to hold out a little more hope for a young man of my roots.”

In 1964, stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, Powell pulled into a drive-in hamburger stand on Victory Drive. The waitress said she was not allowed to serve him, but if he would go behind the restaurant, she would pass him a hamburger out the back window. [Powell left in anger. Later that year,] Pres. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, outlawing discrimination in places of public accomodation.

In 1964, LBJ ran against Barry Goldwater, who had cast the lone vote in the Senate against the civil rights bill. Powell said, “I mailed my absentee ballot to my New York voting address. LBJ, all the way. And I treated myself to another burger on Victory Drive.”

Source: Colin Powell and theAmerican Dream, p. 94-95 & 118-22 Jul 2, 1995

Fiscal conservative & social conscience; neither party fits

To sum up my political philosophy, I am a fiscal conservative with a social conscience. I have found my philosophy, if not my political affiliation. Neither of the two major parties fits me comfortably in its present state. Granted, politics is the art of compromise, but for now I prefer not to compromise just so I can say I belong to this or that party. I am troubled by the political passion of those on the extreme right who seem to claim divine wisdom on political as well as spiritual matters. On the other side of the spectrum, I am put off by the patronizing liberals who claim to know what is best for society but devote little thought to who will eventually pay the bills.

I distrust rigid ideology from any direction, and I am discovering that many Americans feel just as I do. The time may be at hand for a third major party to emerge to represent this sensible center of the American political spectrum.

Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 592 Jan 1, 1995

Would run with a vision; but doesn’t hear call yet

To be a successful politician requires a calling that I do not yet hear. I believe that I can serve my country in other ways, through charities, educational work, or appointive posts.

Nevertheless, I do not unequivocally rule out a political future. If I ever do decide to enter politics, it will not be because of high popularity ratings in the polls. I am fully aware that in taking stands on issues, I would quickly alienate one interest group or another and burn off much popularity. And I would certainly not run because I saw myself as the “Great Black Hope,” providing a role model for African-Americans or a symbol to whites of racism overcome. I would enter only because I had a vision for this country. I would enter because I believed I could do a better job than the other candidates of solving the nation’s problems. I would not expect or desire to have anything handed to me; I would fight for the right to lead. And I would enter not to make a statement but to win.

Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 593 Jan 1, 1995

Made newly aware of heritage on trip to Nigeria

[On a tour of restored slave facilities in Nigeria], I felt something stirring in me that I had not thought much about before. The previous year, my wife and I had made the trip to Jamaica. Until now, roots, to me, had always meant the West Indies, the homeland of my parents. But I now began to feel an earlier emotional pull, my link to Africa. Gazing down into those cattle pens for human beings, I could imagine the smells of packed bodies. A great-great grandfather of mine must have stood in a place as horrible as this.

In my departure speech, I said, “I am the son of Jamaicans who emigrated to the US. But today, I am something more. I am an African too. I feel my roots, here in this continent.”

After the visit to Nigeria, my wife and I headed home with a new awareness of our heritage. What we had witnessed was tragic, but also uplifting. It demonstrated, no matter how far down people are driven, how high they can rise when they are allowed to slip their chains and know freedom.

Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 534 Jan 1, 1995

Buffalo Soldiers: acknowledge black service in army history

In 1992, ten years after the idea had first struck me, the monument to the Buffalo Soldiers had become a reality. The Buffalo Soldiers, as they became known, were four “colored” regiments authorized after the Civil War. At the unveiling ceremony, I reminded the audience that African-Americans had answered the country’s every call from its infancy. “Yet, the fame and fortune that were their just due never came. For their blood spent, lives lost, and battles won, they received nothing. They went back to slavery, real or economic, consigned there by hate, prejudice, bigotry, and intolerance.“

Today, I pointed out, African-Americans were scaling the barriers, gaining overdue recognition: ”I am deeply mindful of the debt I owe to those who went before me. I climbed on their backs. I challenge every young person here today: don’t forget their service and their sacrifice; and don’t forget our service and sacrifice, and climb on our backs.“

Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 540-2 & p. 60 Jan 1, 1995

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Colin Powell on other issues:
John Ashcroft
Pat Buchanan
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton (D,NY)
Elizabeth Dole
Steve Forbes
Rudy Giuliani (R,NYC)
Al Gore
Alan Keyes
John McCain (R,AZ)
Ralph Nader
Ross Perot
Colin Powell
Jesse Ventura (I,MN)

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