"With so many brave men and women from Fayetteville serving in our military, this is a city and a state that knows something about great soldiers. And this morning, a great soldier, a great statesman, and a great American has endorsed our campaign to change America. I have been honored to have the benefit of his wisdom and counsel from time to time over the last few years, but today, I am beyond honored and deeply humbled to have the support of General Colin Powell."
Meanwhile, the reaction to the most popular cabinet member to serve in the current and deeply unpopular administration endorsing his rival party's candidate for president has brought out cries of indignation from GOPers and their surrogates--from George Will to Rush Limbaugh and everyone in between--accusing Powell of basing his decision solely on race.
So, here's my simplistic retort to this simplistic statement: does Powell's dissing of John McCain by crossing party lines to endorse Obama make Joe Lieberman a racist too, for his endorsement of McCain over Obama? Of course not. Neither one was a racist move. Please. But these surrogates can't bring themselves to admit Powell's decision may have to do with wanting to distance himself from the failed administration in which he served, McCain's troubling campaign decisions and Obama being the better candidate. Nor the fact that other prominent conservatives, such as Michael Smerconish, Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Buckley, and even the Chicago Tribune have given Obama their support. Nope. Not when there's mud to be slung in a losing campaign.
And speaking of racism, Gen. Powell struck another blow to the GOP smear tactics of this campaign, particularly their equating Muslims across the board with terrorism.
"Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that [Obama] is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at 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 head stone, it didn't have a Christian cross. It didn't have a Star of David. It has a crescent and 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 fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life."This is the photo that inspired his above comments:
I wonder what that lady at the McCain rally would say about that.