Well, the rumors were correct. Colin Powell today officially endorsed Barack Obama. That is who he will be voting for. I think the Palin pick coupled with the tone of the McCain campaign did it. He’s not happy with the Ayers stuff. He’s not happy with the “Is Barack a Muslim”? stuff. That may have put him over the top.
Shit. Watching this and Colin Powell just jerked a tear from me. His photo-essay story of a mother leaning on a soldier’s head stone in Arlington National Cemetery was extremely powerful. He tells it in the context of the Muslim smears against Obama. He says that Obama is and has always been a Christian. But Powell says that is not the real question. The real question is so what? So what if there was a Muslim in this country who wanted to be President. Is there something wrong with some 7 year old Muslim growing up in this country wanting to be President?
The mother leaning against the head stone? When you focus on the details of the head stone, there was no cross. There was no Star of David. There was a Crescent and Star. The soldier was Muslim. He was an American.
That story moved me like none other I’ve heard recently. It’s precisely the point. Why does it matter so much in this land of the free what religion you are or if you are religious at all? Christians are Americans. Jews are American. Buddhists are American. Muslims are American. Atheists are American. They all die for this country. The surface of this Obama Muslim smear is bad enough. It misrepresents him in a way so as to tie him with terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 and sow the seeds of fear. Underneath it, though, is an underlying premise that you have to be Christian to matter in this country. That is the larger point and I’m thankful that General Powell brought it to our attention.
This endorsement is big. It signals a massive shift away from Bush/Chene/McCain and toward Obama/Biden. Don’t listen to the spin on this from the right. They will be in full on spin mode so furious we’ll all be dizzy. They’ll blabber on about how Powell’s credibility is diminished. They’ll blabber on about how many generals support McCain.
None of this is the point. The point is that someone intimately involved in the Bush administration is breaking with those policies in support of new leadership. Powell lends Barack Obama instant credibility. His endorsement of Obama demonstrates the transformational nature of the Obama campaign. He’s not only inspiring lefty Democrats. He’s inspiring millions of Independent voters as well as reasonable Republicans.