To: Gen. Colin Powell
From: A Dear Friend
Re: Your Possible Candidacy
Dear Gen. Powell,
General, I haven't heard from you forever .
I know that you're busy with your mammoth marketing tour promoting your book, My American Journey. I know that you won't decide whether or not you'll declare your candidacy until the tour ends. You told Time magazine (Sept. 18, 1995), however, that afterwards, you were going take advice from "... some very dear friends who care ..."
Gen. Powell, I care.
Please, General, don't leave America in suspense any longer. Tell mainstream America what they want to hear. Tell them that you'll make a run for the presidency.
You're a rare breed of leader that has earned America's respect rather than demanding it. You worked from being a floor-mopper at a South Bronx bottling plant to being part of the nation's most powerful military elite. You've realized the American Dream and now serve as an inspiration to those who strive for similar success.
You say that you don't want to run as America's "Great Black Hope." Why not? You're in the right place at the right time, and you have an opportunity to show that even Harlem's children can obliterate racism's nationally-fortified walls. It's called poetic justice.
By the way, did you see the recent U.S. News & World Report poll? It revealed that half of all Republicans surveyed said they wanted you to run for office. Another poll found that 73 percent of whites and 57 percent of blacks had a favorable view of you (USA Today, Sept. 11, 1995).
Good numbers, General. Really good numbers.
When you decide to run, and I know you will, I advise you to give some serious thought to not running as an independent. Look what happened to Ross Perot. He split the vote and never had a chance. Run as a Republican, and use the party's already established political power to assist you with your campaign.
While I'm on the subject of political parties, I noticed that you describe neither party as fitting your political perspective comfortably. You say you're "put off" by liberals because they don't devote enough thought to financing their programs, but you remain disillusioned with extreme right conservatives who "claim divine wisdom" on political matters.
You have hinted at liberal support for abortion rights, gun control laws, and some affirmative action programs. You side with conservatives, however, who still want American businesses to make more money and pay less taxes. Looks like your views stand right in the middle of the political spectrum.
Americans want a middle-of-the-road candidate like you. They want someone who realizes that this country is always in social flux, someone who realizes that the needs of this country don't always fall to the far right or left.
Take some lessons from Dwight Eisenhower, who won the 1952 election as a Republican. He said, "I wish that both parties had the courage to go out for militant advocacy to the middle of the road" (Time, Sept. 18, 1995).
Be courageous, General, and the public will adore you.
As a friend, I need to tell you that you have to solidify your views on controversial issues before you declare your candidacy. Please don't leave yourself open to the loads of criticism that will surely follow if you answer tough campaign questions with your trademarked line "I'm not an expert on these matters yet."
Don't be fickle with issues like abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, welfare, or school prayer. Make a stand, and Americans will appreciate your being straightfoward and honest about your beliefs.
You're right when you say that American politics is "untidy." Clean up the process by being candid, and America will respect you even more.
Gen. Powell, I urge you to trade in your timeworn camouflage fatigues for a White House standard-issue Armani. You've already proven your effectiveness as a national leader, and you say that you "would fight for the right to lead ..."
Declare your candidacy, and American voters will fight for you.
Adam Djurdjulov is a journalism junior. His column appears every other Thursday.
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