Colin Powell’s Words of Wisdom

From the only Republican I like, Colin Powell, on Meet the Press, October 19, 2008:

…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.

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign.  But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist.  Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?  And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted.  What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings.  And I think that’s inappropriate.

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 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.  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.

So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we’ve got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president.  But which is the president that we need now?  Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time?  And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities–and we have to take that into account–as well as his substance–he has both style and substance–he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.  I think he is a transformational figure.  He is a new generation coming into the world–onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

The full transcript of the interview can be found here.

I’m slighty proud to be an American again. Only 16 more days to go!!!

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  • http://nouvellevieenfrance.blogspot.com/ Katie

    I’m soo happy about this! I watched the whole interview on the NY times website. I really hope we win!!

    Katies last blog post..Mon Dieu

  • http://nouvellevieenfrance.blogspot.com/ Katie

    I’m soo happy about this! I watched the whole interview on the NY times website. I really hope we win!!

    Katies last blog post..Mon Dieu

  • http://islandgirl4ever2.blogspot.com/ Leesa

    Hey Jen,

    Thanks for posting this.. I saw it on the news yesterday… but it was just for a few seconds, so it was great to read this… One thing that has really chapped my hide from the McCain side is that Palin/McCain have been spreading false infomation and inciting the masses by inciting and provoking racist comments…. It utterly disgusts and horrifies me!! I don’t even think they should have been able to get away with all of that… I am really fearing for Obama and his family when he is elected… Anyhow.. Good for CP for speaking up! What he said about it is EXACTLY my own thoughts… I think that no matter WHAT religion you are… if you are an American- a natural born one, you have the RIGHT to run as president… AND that it doesn’t MATTER what religion you are anyhow… There’s no rule for running as a pres. candidate that states you must be a certain religion.. I am going to post a link to this post and send it to others…
    Thanks for putting this up!!
    Take care and I HOPE we win, too!!!!!

    Leesas last blog post..Both of my Presidents!!!

  • http://islandgirl4ever2.blogspot.com Leesa

    Hey Jen,

    Thanks for posting this.. I saw it on the news yesterday… but it was just for a few seconds, so it was great to read this… One thing that has really chapped my hide from the McCain side is that Palin/McCain have been spreading false infomation and inciting the masses by inciting and provoking racist comments…. It utterly disgusts and horrifies me!! I don’t even think they should have been able to get away with all of that… I am really fearing for Obama and his family when he is elected… Anyhow.. Good for CP for speaking up! What he said about it is EXACTLY my own thoughts… I think that no matter WHAT religion you are… if you are an American- a natural born one, you have the RIGHT to run as president… AND that it doesn’t MATTER what religion you are anyhow… There’s no rule for running as a pres. candidate that states you must be a certain religion.. I am going to post a link to this post and send it to others…
    Thanks for putting this up!!
    Take care and I HOPE we win, too!!!!!

    Leesas last blog post..Both of my Presidents!!!

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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