Monday, October 20, 2008

Separating Leadership from Demagoguery

When Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama this morning, he did so in primetime with a full explanation. He pointed to the intellectual deficit of the GOP and the disappointing tactics of the McCain Campaign. He contrasted the erratic decision-making style of Senator McCain to the impressive temperament and intellect of Senator Obama. It was a clear-cut decision: For a nation battered by short-sighted and ill-devised policies, Colin Powell opts for the transformational leadership of Barack Obama.

In discussing his discontent with his Party and with the McCain campaign, Gen. Powell got specific. To my delight, he picked on an issue I raised in a recent blog: Gratuitous right-wing anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice. He explained:

...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 is 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? (NBC, Meet the Press, 10/19/2008)
The General, then, illustrated his point with the moving story of a young Muslim-American soldier who gave his life in defense of this country, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star along the way. In a matter of seconds, Colin Powell showed more wisdom and leadership than Senator McCain was able to show during weeks of campaigning as he gave audience to blatent anti-Muslim rhetoric at his rallies.

The heart-felt wisdom of General Powell this morning may be heresy to right-wing demagogues, but it is a fresh breeze of hope for the rest of us - those who believe that this nation is far better than the remnants of its darker history.

We are ready for change. And we can not wait for the transcendent leadership of Barack Obama.


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