Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Obama

Colin Powell came on MtP, and finally ended months of speculation as to who he would endorse for President.

His words were very powerful, and very direct with regards to his reasons:
On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one. And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a, a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well. I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines--ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He's thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.

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.

Elsheba Khan at the grave of her son, Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan.
He and three other soldiers, including a corporal from Washington Heights, were killed in Baquba after a bomb detonated while they were checking abandoned houses for explosives. They served in the Stryker Brigade combat team of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, based in Ft. Lewis, Washington.

Mr. Khan graduated from Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin in 2005, and enlisted in the Army a few months later, spurred by his memories of the 9/11 terror attacks. "His Muslim faith did not make him not want to go. It never stopped him," his father, Feroze Khan, told the Gannett News Service in a story printed shortly after his death. "He looked at it that he’s American and he has a job to do."

This is what I find most troubling about some of the extreme right wing Republicans. They casually link Terrorist to all Muslims, and the uneducated and uninformed voters are making the connection, just as the irresponsible GOP party members are hoping for. In their minds Muslim=Terrorist.

Mr. Khan served his country bravely, and he died for our country, and these despicable individuals are belittling Muslim and Arab Americans in this country, by promoting these racist attitudes. They are shamelessly stepping on the principles upon which our country has been founded, and what many soldiers have given their lives and limbs for.

Ever since, the Clarion Fund started distributing DVDs of movie called "Obsession" about extreme fundamentalist muslim suicide bombers, there have been a rash of violence and vandalism that have been popping up. I find it disgusting, that in this country, there are those out there who would automatically judge and terrorize other Americans, simply because of their religion or ethnic background. They do this out of cowardice, fear, and most of all because they are simply ignorant.

The GOP are indeed playing with fire if they continue these divisive tactics. It is true they are becoming more and more narrow in those who they consider part of America and their party. This is why they are losing. People are rejecting the direction and the hijacking of the Republican Party to the far right. If they are not careful, they will soon truly resemble an extreme Christian Fundamentalist version of the Taliban.
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