Powell Addresses Westmont

Posted By Horizon Staff March 5th, 2013 in News : 0 COMMENTS

Sonora Sanchez
News Editor

Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell visited Westmont College last Friday, March 1, and shared his thoughts on a great spectrum of issues concerning politics. He began his time with the Westmont community by speaking at the President’s Breakfast, which took place at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. Over 750 people attended the 7 a.m. event.

“It’s good to be back here in Santa Barbara,” Powell mentioned with a wry smile. “I have to be very, very honest and candid – at this stage of my life and career, it’s a pleasure to be anywhere” (Santa Barbara News-Press).

Powell spoke of his time in the Reagan Administration and how fondly he thought of the past president, saying, “He was a remarkable man. I learned so much from him about perspective, how to go through life.”

He also spoke about the difficult changes he faced in this new stage of his life and career. “One day, you’re sitting there, diplomat of the free world. One day, you’re sitting there, you’re secretary of state. The next day, you’re not,” Powell said of his career transition.

He now looks forward to traveling around the United States and speaking to audiences such as those at the President’s Breakfast and Chapel. Addressing Westmont in Chapel on Friday, Powell encouraged young people to seek higher education in order to achieve their goals. Powell graduated from the City College of New York with a meager 2.0 GPA, but he went on to achieve unparalleled success in the military and national politics.  He later founded the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service, reports Santa Barbara News-Press.

Concerning technology, Powell addressed the ever-changing technological universe.  “I was born analog,” Powell said, “and I’m desperately trying to become digital” (SBNP). When told that a Facebook page had been made for him with a biography and picture to go with, he stated that he was initially upset, thinking someone was trying to steal his identity.  Despite learning that the Facebook page was a Fan Page, and that he had over 30,000 fans, Powell is still wary of the advances of a digital age marked by ever-present cameras and recording devices.

Concerning the political sphere, Powell, a political moderate, blames some of the national issues on the increasing partisanship of the Republican and Democratic parties. Powell said, “It’s harder and harder for our political leaders…they’re trapped in the orthodoxy of their parties.” He contrasted the founding fathers and today’s political issues, saying, “Our founding fathers could sit in Philadelphia for a couple of months and write a Constitution with their different, very strong views…we are simply unwilling to make the obvious compromise” (SBNP).

Powell emphasized a need for the nation to remain hopeful in the face of issues such as the budget, foreign affairs, and fiscal complications. He expressed his beliefs in American exceptionalism, saying, “America is still the shining beam that gives direction. Don’t expect everyone to follow it, but the democratic system of government and a free people is still the right direction.”

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