America’s greatness is measured in great individuals. When they are occasionally in possession of the public trust, together we touch greatness. Colin Powell was one of them. At times, greatness is embodied in the unshakable resolve of a Washington or Lincoln. Colin Powell’s greatness was of another, more subtle kind.
Powell considered himself a principled custodian of the public trust. When he realized he had betrayed that trust, he owned up to it, which resulted in his dismissal as Secretary of State. But the bar to great leadership is higher than simple sacrifice. It requires effectiveness. Powell realized that consensus is crucial to democracy, and compromise is crucial to consensus.
If he had been asked, “Who owns the dream?” I think he would have replied, “No one. And everyone.” To those who think they own the dream of America, look to Colin Powell.
Lead on, Colin Powell.