Scott Tibbs

A few thoughts on the death of Colin Powell

By Scott Tibbs, October 29, 2021

When General Colin Powell passed away a couple weeks ago, it was predictable that some would celebrate a significant political figure's death. It is unfortunate, but we see it so much that it is not at all surprising. It was especially sad to see the argument from the trollish Right complaining that not going along with this is "why Republicans constantly lose."

No, this is wrong. Republicans do need to fight back more, but basic human decency should not be sacrificed in the process. And really, what political advantage is gained by dancing on someone's grave? You will not persuade progressives, who will be angered. You will not convert moderates. You will even turn off many on your own side. There is no upside, no votes to be gained, and no public relations win. Do not try to disguise your moral depravity as political strategy.

Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but died of a breakthrough infection. This has been used to perpetuate the hoax that the vaccines are ineffective. Powell had a blood cancer that weakened his immune system, and was 85 years old - two significant risk factors for a severe case of the disease. The fact that Powell died proves nothing other than the fact that co-morbidities actually do matter.

Now, to Powell's political affiliation. No, he was not a Republican and has not been for over a decade. Powell voted for Barack Obama twice, and then voted for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. This is not something a Republican does. Powell was a republican earlier in his career, but has not been since 2008 - no matter what his official voter registration said.

Regarding his "big mistake" in Iraq: Powell said he was wrong and retracted his speech making the case for war years ago. It takes strength of character to admit one is wrong, and that was an act of character. There is plenty of time to adjudicate the march to war in 2003, and it has been examined thoroughly in the nearly 20 years since. It is not appropriate to exploit a man's death to make that case. And to be honest, how many of us have not made mistakes? How many of us would have made that mistake, had we been in his place?

Colin Powell was a man of character and integrity. We were fortunate to have him serve in a high capacity on our federal government. We should honor his patriotic service to our nation.

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