And You Thought <i> YOU </i> Knew From Guilt? : Politics: Powell is such a perfect cure for the white man’s burden that he has left even the Republicans speechless.
Like the town drunk who’s always out to prove his sobriety, white people of this country are at the psychological mercy of the blacks, unable to resist an opportunity to prove that they have overcome the indecency of their past behavior. It’s called “white man’s guilt.” White people are like Jews in a temple on Yom Kippur. They’re constantly asking for forgiveness. That’s why the myth that black candidates running for public office face an uphill climb is both stupid and outdated. A white father may still not want a black man for a son-in-law, but he’s dying to vote for a black man because then he can solve the problem of the major guilt trip he’s been on his whole life. He can march around his house the next day looking at mirrors with pride that he is staring at the face of an unprejudiced man.
This is the reason for Colin Powell’s amazing popularity.
White people have such a desperate need to find a black hero that they can’t even remember how he became their favorite candidate in this campaign. They don’t even remember that when they were thrilled by the heroism of the Gulf War, it was Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf they were admiring and lionizing, not Powell. It would have been perfectly natural for the excitement to follow Schwarzkopf all the way to the White House. How did he get lost in the crowd? The brilliance of Schwarzkopf’s military accomplishments suddenly became submerged by the presence of Colin Powell, a man about whom most people know next to nothing. The answer is white guilt. That’s why the question of what he stands for is the only thing about Colin Powell that doesn’t seem to interest anyone.
White people ignore every barometer of judgment and any test of his stand on the issues that they would consider fundamental to their consideration of any other candidate. A few weeks ago, all the pundits agreed that he’s so popular only because he hasn’t taken a stand yet on major issues. But the pundits don’t understand psychology. They are too busy studying history and there is no historical precedent of the weight of white man’s guilt in this campaign. That’s why the pundits didn’t realize that it didn’t matter whether Powell avoided the questions or gave the wrong answers--and he’s done both. It might have hurt the pundits, but Powell’s popularity is as high as ever.
Why wasn’t he hurt when he said he’s for some degree of affirmative action when most of the country is against it? Why does the gun lobby, a group that would normally fight to wipe out the candidacy of anybody in favor of gun control, find themselves hopelessly silent in his case? They act like they went out of business or moved to a foreign country for fear of being caught disparaging him.
Why would the Republican candidates look so helpless and afraid waiting for Powell to decide if he’s a presidential candidate? They act like if the answer is yes, a mass suicide of the candidates will take place because instead of running for President, they look like they will run for the hills. And why is this happening even after he made the statement that violated the most important tenet of the Republican Party--that you can be a viable Republican candidate and also be pro-choice? Supposedly, the power structure of the party would never accept such a person. Wrong again!
The Republicans are not trying to see if they can accept Powell, they are wondering if Powell will accept them. This is so because their views on certain issues mean nothing to them compared to winning the next election. As long as Bill Clinton’s popularity stays high enough for him to beat any other Republican front-runner, they will turn to Powell whether they agree with him or not.