Alagaroooo! Go CCNY, yea team!
Sorry, but I got carried aay by the appointment of Colin L. Powell as secretary of State. Not just because he was in my class at the City College of New York, then called the immigrant's Harvard, but because it's important for George W. Bush to have people around him who know what it's like to make it without inherited wealth.
I've wanted to vote for Powell for President ever since I read his 1995 autobiography, which describes a guy who came up the hard way and knows he couldn't have done it without the very public assistance the GOP leadership in Congress so maliciously maligns. Writing of his years at CCNY (now City University of New York), Powell said, "I received a free college education because New York taxed its citizens to make this investment in the sons and daughters of immigrants and the working class."
Both of us were the children of immigrant garment workers, a group that is today still among this country's most exploited people. Yet less is done for their children now than was done for us. As Powell recalls, our college tuition was only 10 bucks, and there existed a vast network of community public programs to provide support.
It's true, as George W. Bush said in announcing Powell's appointment, that it's "a great day when a son of the South Bronx succeeds to the office first held by Thomas Jefferson." But the South Bronx then, like all poor quarters of the city, was not a symbol of public neglect but rather a vibrant place dotted with community centers and excellent schools. The burnt-out wreckage of the Bronx that followed was the direct consequence of government funding cutbacks in programs for the poor that had been the salvation of our generation.
Powell is a believer in the private sector's power to solve most of our problems and has done much recently to encourage an increase in private and corporate civic responsibility. But as he wrote in his autobiography, "I am not, however, knee-jerk, anti-government. I was born a New Deal Depression-era kid. Franklin Roosevelt was a hero in my boyhood home. Government helped my parents by providing cheap public subway systems so that they could get to work, and public schools for their children, and protection under the law to make sure that labor was not exploited–Social Security allowed my parents to live a dignified retirement. Medicare gave them access to quality care during long, painful terminal illnesses."