I was pleasantly surprised to hear Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama Sunday on Meet the Press. He fervently delivered his well thought out reasons behind his endorsements. He answered the questions that will definitely arise in the wake of his choice such as if this is nothing more than an Africa American endorsing another African American, which was quite insulting by the way. Just as insulting to think that every woman would support Sarah Palin simply because she is a woman. Colin Powell also answered the question of how he feels in relation to the differences in opinion on key issues such as a timeline for a withdrawal. But the part of his endorsement which surprised me the most was when he eloquently voiced his disapproval of the negative direction the McCain campaign has taken. He distanced McCain from some of the negative tactics, but his point was not only well taken, and should have been made a long time ago. But as the saying goes, better late then never.
Powell spoke passionately against the insinuations by some Republicans that Obama is a Muslim.
"Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian," he said. "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."
Powell went on to paint the illustration of a young U.S. soldier who sacrificed his life fighting in Iraq:
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
Unfortunately, these have been the tactics of the conservative right for some time now.
Sen. Barack Obama proclaimed before a national meeting of the United Church of Christ, that some right-wing evangelical leaders have exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division. He then went on to say,
Somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart. Faith got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, all too eager to exploit what divides us.....
At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design....
Senator Obama hit the nail right on the head. The Christian right will tell you that the battle is between Godly conservatives and Ungodly liberals. That couldn't be further from the truth. The Republican Party has transformed what used to be a common thread uniting just about all Americans, into an exclusive department of the GOP. An area that they have sole jurisdiction over. Political pundits will have us believe that Americans fall into two categories. One being the good, Christian, Christ loving, patriotic, red blooded Americans who voted for Bush, loves God, and wants nothing but the best for this country. The other being, evil, Christ rejecting, unpatriotic, blue state, animals with no standards, principles, or morality as a whole, side with the terrorists, and do not want the overall success of America. This is the reason they continue in their attempts insisting that Senator Obama is a Muslim, because this tactic worked so well in the past.
I do not need to repeat the story of how republicans such as Ronald Reagan, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, or Karl Rove and George W. Bush mobilized the army of Christian foot soldiers. They were successful in their attempts contort the teachings of Jesus from love and compassion to greed, corruption, intolerance, and a holier-than-thou philosophy that offends me as a Christian.
The election in November 2004 was not, although that's the way the republicans spun it, between one party with moral values and the other without it. It wasn't a good versus evil battle. Nor was it a fight to preserve Christian values in this country, and to stop the crumbling of our society as we know it into the destined future of revelations. It was simply a battle between two parties, both of which were driven by moral values, but only one of which spoke about them. Why, you ask, were the Democrats so reluctant to talk about their faith? Why were they so afraid to speak about God, morals, or their belief in Jesus Christ? That my friends, is the million dollar question, and it may have cost them the election.
Senator Obama illustrates the situation as,
Evangelical Christians are the heart and soul of the Republican Party's grass roots base. A core following continually mobilized by a network of media outlets that technology has only amplified...Democrats meanwhile are scrambling to get religion. Even as a core segment of our constituency remain stubborn; secular in its orientation. And fears, rightly no doubt, that the agenda of an assertively Christian nation may not make room for them or their life choices.
It's almost as if Democrats are afraid that if they admit to being a Christian, they are going to be thrown to the lions, and persecuted for their beliefs. Ok, maybe a little dramatic, but they do act as if they will be wrongly associated with certain political stances due to their belief in God. They have allowed the Republican Party to completely brainwash them. Smother them in a blanket of fear. Senator Obama has broken away from this as he has repeatedly expressed his devotion, love, passion, and commitment to his faith, and yet, the Republican machine still attempts to convince the entire nation that he is a Muslim. Which brings me back to Colin Powell's point, if he was Muslim, what would that mean? Would that mean that his policies were no longer legitimate? Would it make his plan for improving education through increased funding, investing in early education, paying teachers higher salaries and in turn demanding a higher standard no longer valid? Or would it make his plan to actually bring back diplomacy to our foreign policy null and void? Would it destroy his plan to bring about universal health care? Would it obliterate the tax breaks he plans to give to 95% of working families once he is in office?
Republicans put the stamp of Christianity on their politics, and it sounds nice, even if it is far from the biblical teachings of Jesus Christ.
There is nothing Christian about consistently and unswervingly lying to the American people time and time again, about something as important as going to war.
There is nothing Christian about invading and ultimately destroying an entire country that neither threatened nor attacked us. Or invading a country for the reason of revenge, revolt, the desire to exploit, dominate, rob, or force conversion or compliance at gun point.
There is nothing Christian about torturing prisoners and/or conquered people of war.
Accepting a policy that prisoners are no longer guaranteed any form of protection, resulting in a re-interpretation of the Geneva Conventions.
There is nothing Christian about murdering innocent civilians by the thousands.
There is nothing Christian about a war that doesn't bring about peace. Especially if the aftermath of the war brings about a situation much worse than if the war would not have occurred in the first place.
There is nothing Christian about denying the 45 to 50 million American people who don't have health insurance.
There is nothing Christian about refusing to protect and preserve God's creation by linking with other nations to do something about global warming , one if not the greatest environmental danger attempting to destroy the very formation of God's construction.
There is nothing Christian about allowing 35 to 40 million Americans who continue to live in poverty .
There is nothing Christian about capital punishment. Murdering someone who you feel does not deserve to live and making it a law, is not in accordance with the bible.
There is nothing Christian about allowing the one out of every six children in this country to go to bed hungry.
I applaud Colin Powell for having the courage and commitment to be able to cross party lines and endorse the person who he feels will be better suited to lead this country. I tip my hat to Collin Powell for having the bravery to publicly denounce the dirty politics that his party has adopted (although this is not the first time) in an effort to instill fear in the hearts and minds of the American people as a tactic to winning the election.
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