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Colin Powell Goes Beyond Just Endorsing Obama

This morning on Meet the Press, former U.S. Secretary of State and Republican Colin Powell formally endorsed Barack Obama for President. This was much anticipated, and though it comes as no surprise I hope his clout and visibility serve Obama well.

But there’s a more important story to this endorsement.

Know when I first encountered real-life bigotry regarding Obama? It was eight months ago, and someone I know and love—and who is both a big-city dweller and a Democrat—said he thought Obama’s name would really hurt him, because people would think he’s a Muslim. And then he went on further to say that he, himself, would never vote for a Muslim. I was appalled into speechlessness.

The blatant bigotry that’s been increasingly visible these last few weeks is startling and disgusting. And the nature of it is a little surprising, isn’t it? It’s not racism, per se. People aren’t fearing Obama because he’s black. They’re fearing him because they’re choosing to believe that he’s a Muslim. And so it’s incredibly important, and hopefully not too late, when Powell says that the appropriate response to people saying, “I won’t vote for Obama because he’s a Muslim,” isn’t to correct them and say, “But no, he’s a Christian.” It’s to say, “So what if he is?”

Is it because I’m Jewish and have always been reminded that my people have historically received the ugliest of hatred that I’m so disgusted by bigotry? It can’t be, since my acquaintance, above, is Jewish, too.

Tell me it ain’t so that in our post-9/11 world it’s become acceptable to trade one bigotry for another. Is that what it boils down to?

Watch the video.

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reesbees

Booyah!

LisaB

I'm glad SOMEONE finally said this!

Cassie

Thank you for saying this. I raised that point with a friend the other day when she received a hateful e-mail about Obama referencing a claim that he wants to use the Qur'an to be sworn in if he is elected. I stated the typical “I don't think that's true – he's Christian” but followed it up by asking, “Why does it matter if he does want to use the Qur'an?” Aren't we a country of religious freedom? I think you articulated my exact frustration in that moment in a very elegant way.

kpwerker

I'm so baffled and appalled that mail about a candidate that does nothing more than imply he practices a particular religion can only be interpreted as hate mail.

I've joked, but sorta meant it, that Tina Fey is the big winner of this campaign season. It's only now that I'm fully grasping how much Muslims in America are the losers. I shake with anger that people believe and spread such blind hatred. I don't feel so much for Obama on this one; he has the thick skin of a politician and the integrity not to put up with such crap. But I feel very much for average Americans who, after seven years of encountering the prejudice of frightened bullies, must now endure it more, and harder, and from gathered masses. Hopefully a win by Obama will serve more than to just reinvigorate the American state, but will also signify an end (or at least the beginning of the end) to the too-long, too-widespread tradition of hate in the U.S.

Ueyn

Powell's statements outside the studio are a must see, too. He is level-headed, smart, and you can sense his disgust with McCain…

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily

kpwerker

Thanks for the link, Ueyn. I also love what he says about taxes — they're
*always* a redistribution of wealth.

anony

People are so retarded. Obama's black and Christian, and that shouldn't matter. But guess what? He's white too. Came from the womb of a white woman, and he's still just a black, Muslim, terrorist. CTHU!!!!!!!!!

The most bigoted people would have to shoot themselves if they thoroughly investigated their family trees.

Mom

I am so proud to be your mother! And, I guess we did something right. As the song from South Pacific says, “you have to be carefully taught” to hate. And you were carefully taught to judge people by their actions, not their race or religion.

I sat and cheered as Colin Powell made his endorsement, and am thrilled that other intelligent Republicans are now endorsing Obama because they are ashamed of the actions of their party leaders. So, let us remember that there are many upstanding people of both parties who do not believe that people with differing opinions or differing beliefs are to be labeled as “Unamerican”! Just witness the Congressional race in Minnesota where the unknown Democratic challenger has raised over $1 million this past weekend after the incumbant make those ludicrous statements on Friday's edition of Chris Matthews show, Hardball, on MSNBC.

Amie

{LOVE 1,000,000} See how that Ravelry has changed all our lives?

Amie

It's like this Kim: I want to be baffled by the ridiculous mailings/emails, but I'm not.

Living in this post-911, tri-state area, I've seen the worst in people. The anti-Muslim (anti-foreigner) sentiment thrives here in those whose beliefs are, in my opinion, as fundamentally skewed as those who caused 911, although they might not wear their hatred with the same bizarre badge of distinction; they're more prone to call in radio shows, post online, or keep their racist/bogoted thoughts to themselves but act out in a passive-aggresive manner. Google, “muslim hate crime nj” and you'll see an array of news stories that has happened in recent years after 911, all of which were unprovoked hate and bias crimes. Many Muslims didn't feel comfortable wearing their traditional garb out in public for fear of retribution. How could I not empathize with that? It's like having a big target on your head.

“Ethnic Profiling” became a huge topic here with several different scandals involving the state police and local authorities. The hate crimes perpetrated against innocent Muslim families in this state alone skyrocketed soon after the attacks in NYC. We had a student whose turbin was burned – on his head while he was wearing it – by fellow students. We've had an outpouring of people who chant in online newspaper forums in essence, “Send the foreigners back home.” All of this has caused a backlash against other foreign groups including Latinos. These type of xenophobic thoughts and actions are disturbingly pervasive and deeply rooted.

And yet, if you check out fivethirtyeight.com, you'll see we Jersians are located in a virtual sea of BLUE states. Go figure.

kpwerker

One really big lesson I learned from the conversation I had with the guy I mentioned in my post is that racism/xenophobia isn't bounded by political affiliation. Democrats and Republicans, alike, fall into patterns of fear and bigotry. Makes me shudder.

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