Meet the Press for Sunday, October 19, 2008
Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell endorses Sen. Obama -
"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 a 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 could go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourselves 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."
General Powell was able to put into words how I feel about the matter. I've been associated with the United States Navy for virtually my whole life - first as the son of a career Naval Officer and then in the Reserves as an Intelligence Specialist. The one absolute truth that I found during that time is that all kinds of people love this country and want to protect it. I had the honor of serving with people of every color, gender, and religion. As General Powell so eloquently put it, there are Muslim Americans who are fighting and dying on battlefields far away from the U.S. because they love this country as much as I do.
My parents told me a story about JFK and his campaign in the early 60's. There was a fear among some that because JFK was Catholic, if he was elected President, then the Pope would rule the United State from the Vatican. Well, JFK was elected and things worked out pretty well. Fear is something that American can do without these days. The phrase, "United we stand, divided we fall" means all of America, not just the White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestants that the modern republican party seems to focus on. To me, the republicans only issue is fear and how they can use it to get elected. They'll tell you who to fear (Muslims & immigrants) and what to fear but offer no solutions other than spending more money on the U.S. military, bombing foreign countries where the people don't look like republicans, and sealing up our southern border (they want to wall it up because those folks don't look like republicans but they don't want to wall up the northern border because the folks up there do look like republicans).