Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama and Honors American Muslims (Video)

By now you've probably heard that Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama this morning, during an appearance on Meet the Press. This move has done a lot to redeem the former Secretary of State in my eyes. I've been disappointed with him for his role in pushing for the Iraq War, which he still doesn't seem to regret. But he also went further with his endorsement this morning by criticizing the McCain campaign—and the Republican party—for their subtle bigotry and intolerance peddling. In describing his disdain for Republican accusations of Obama being a Muslim, he said the correct answer to that charge shouldn't be to deny that he's a Muslim, but to say, "What if he is?" Powell continued, "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is 'No, that's not America.'"

The photo above, originally appearing in the New Yorker, is what Powell went on to refer to in this morning's interview:

"I feel strongly about this particular point 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 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 a Star of David. It had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American."

He then added that Khan was only 14 years old at the time of 9/11 so he waited until he could join the Army. The Powell endorsement—and his break from the Republican party to support Obama—was, in some small way, a fitting tribute to that kid's life.

Watch the full interview below (I love MSNBC's video player)

1 comment:

Ben said...

I could not agree more. The link to terrorism and the Islamic faith is something that has bothered me for quite some time: it is racist, unwarranted, and incredibly troubling...and yet not at all surprising that America's suits would go through such trouble to link all Muslims to terrorist activity. To some, Powell is stating the obvious. Unfortunately, to most, this is a video they need to watch. Although I was angry at first how Obama denied the accusation of being a Muslim, I suppose his Presidential Candidate status gave limitations to his response. But I am glad Powell has mentioned this here...and he is right. The correct response should be, "What if?" Sadly this response could have swayed many people, not giving Obama the upper hand he has now. Point being, we are not even close to improving the racial problems this country has and has had since the beginning, but I am happy in seeing that Powell has addressed some of them here, and fully agree that this permits the man some respect where due. Very interesting post.