This morning I watched Colin Powell’s very moving endorsement of Barack Obama for president. It was moving for many different reasons – Powell, a life long Republican and long time friend of John McCain, is one of the most uniformly respected figures in America. He plainly and eloquently stated what most centrist people have been thinking about John McCain: McCain is a respectable candidate and hero, but his campaign has simply gone too far to the right with its choice of Palin and its negative tone. He then goes on to praise Obama as a transformative figure in U.S. politics.
Most importantly, I believe, Powell is uniquely situated (as he is respected across party lines) to honestly state the obvious. The obvious being, first that Palin is (categorically) not qualified to be vice president, second — and it is shockingly amazing that this needs to be said — that
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.
Ironically, after listening to Powell’s straight forward reasoning and overwhelmingly statesman-like presence, I wonder how many voters out there are thinking that this election has nothing to do with military experience or race because they would much rather elect Colin Powell as president than John McCain or Barack Obama.