We applaud Colin Powell for his honesty and courage in endorsing Barack Obama for President. Many on the right will just dismiss this as one black man supporting another. That's wrong, of course--you really need to read what Powell had to say.
Powell's most important point is that his own party has become increasingly dominated by people who are intolerant. They call themselves "patriots" and "true Americans" but they are the complete opposite, the antithesis of what America is really about.
In his endorsement, Powell said he is troubled that some Republicans are, quite knowingly, spreading false rumors that Obama is a Muslim.
"Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?"
"Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.' This is not the way we should be doing it in America."
"I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards—Purple Heart, Bronze Star—showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old."
"And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life."
"Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions."
Wow, that about says it all. Frankly, if John McCain were a conservative Democrat, we'd be pretty attracted to him. We don't think McCain is a bigot. But many of his supporters are, and we think his VP nominee is one of them. Or she's just plain stupid and thinks it's ok to fan the flames, which, come to think of it, may be the correct view of her.
In any event, if McCain is President, we don't just get McCain--we get the crowd that elected him. And while there are aspects of McCain that are attractive, including his record of bipartisanship, which is real, there are other aspect that make him, in our view, unsuitable as the nation's chief executive. In particular, his decisionmaking is erratic and impulsive, as evidenced many times in this campaign: his pick of Palin without vetting her; his announcement that he would "suspend" his campaign due to the economic crisis; and his sudden embracement of "Joe the Plumber" without, again, checking the facts.
His age is also a real concern.
Powell got it right. Folks should listen. All we're getting from the right wing is polarization--they won't talk about the issues; it's all about character--in this case, character assassination.