Sunday, October 19, 2008

Where was this guy in 2003?

Oh yeah, he was banging the drums for war.

Powell endorses Obama as 'transformational', by Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin, Politico via Yahoo! News and Meet the Press.

. . . Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that's good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration. 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 . . .

Then came an exchange which irritated me, and also provided an excellent example of white privilege:

MR. [TOM] BROKAW: And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.

GEN. POWELL: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud--not just African-Americans, but all Americans--that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world.

I wish Mr. Brokaw would have asked me that question so I could have given him a good what-for on national TV. How dare he ask such a racist question? How many white men have endorsed other white male politicians throughout the history of the United States? Has anyone ever dared to ask people like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Joe Lieberman if they were endorsing someone like John McCain because they are all white men? No. I have never heard that. Ever. But let a retired General and former Secretary of State endorse a US Senator who is leading the polls in the Presidential race, and the question that pops into Tom Brokaw's mind is, "you're not doing this because you're both black, right?".



Irwin Handleman said...

i hope you're gonna apologize to Tom Brokaw about this post, since immediately after this Rush Limbaugh and others said that Powell only endorsed Obama because they are both black. It's become the big story, Tom Brokaw knew this, and that's why he asked the question.

Bianca Reagan said...

I'm not going to apologize to Tom Brokaw. I do understand that Mr. Brokaw was trying to preempt the situation. However, I don't agree with it. The question should not have been brought up at all.