Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama

Here’s the video. The best part (to me) was this:

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. 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.

3 thoughts on “Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama”

  1. I’m glad he said that. The trouble is, most people associate Islam as a whole with the violent, intolerant crazies the media’s been pushing on us since 9/11. I bet less than 10% of Americans even know what the word “jihad” actually means, much less what it really refers to. I know I didn’t, until I started talking to my Muslim friends. They pointed out to me how the equality of women to men, the absolute sacred nature of any human life, and the importance of tolerance are quite clearly spelled out in the Qur’an. Unfortunately, just as in any religion that is believed passionately, it is quite easily to bend the text until it means what you want it to mean. What gives me hope is that ignorance is something that is becoming harder and harder to hold on to, as information becomes easier and easier to come by. Perhaps one day it will join polio and pox on the list of extinct diseases.

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    1. I don’t think ignorance will ever die, but at least what people are ignorant about will move forward. Maybe in 50 years racism and, um, religion-ism will be mostly gone but some new sort of prejudice will spring up in their place. Maybe we, as the old people then, will be the prejudice ones, not wanting to accept direct brain connections or whatever 🙂 I hope not!

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