Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Crumbling of An American General

Book ReviewAs a United States Army veteran who served during the first Gulf War, when General Colin Powell served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I find myself today extremely disappointed not only with his endorsement of Barack Obama for President of the United States, but mostly with many of the comments the former Secretary of State and life-long Republican made while announcing his endorsement of Obama. [full video of the endorsement follows my comments below]

Speaking with Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press, General Powell made the comment that either candidate would be a good President. He went on to mention first several reasons that he could not support Senator McCain, then several reasons that he was throwing his support behind Barack Obama.

General Powell said that the Republican party has moved more to the right than he would like to see. I guess I never took him to be a Centrist Republican, but I'm afraid it's much worse than that. The General went on to reveal his extreme liberal leanings when he added, "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." Shocking to hear that anyone who has claimed to hold the conservative morals and values of the Republican party throughout his life would have a problem with conservative appointments to the Supreme Court.

The General said that the candidates have "taken a final exam over the past six or seven weeks" based on the economic crisis. He added that Senator McCain seemed unsure how to deal with the economic crisis, taking several different approaches to address the issue. He neglected to mention that any approach to the crisis is more leadership than Barack Obama displayed in his sit back and wait for a phone call approach. While Barack Obama cried about the possibility of a Presidential debate being canceled, Senator McCain put his country and the people ahead of his own personal and political interests and suspended his campaign to return to Washington and ensure that Congress took action. While Obama cried, Senator McCain displayed true leadership in the face of adversity.

The General said he was concerned about the selection of Governor Palin: "I don't believe she's ready to be President of the United states, which is the job of the Vice President." I would be more concerned that the individual elected to actually be President should be ready than that the Vice President be ready. And what makes General Powell feel that Barack Obama is ready to be President? His cited reasons included:
  • Obama has shown intellectual vigor.
  • He has a definitive way of doing business that will serve us well.
  • 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.
I could spend hours picking apart such rhetoric, but I would likely be labeled as a bigoted racist for pointing out that the "inclusive nature" of Obama's campaign is only natural. What else would be expected but for him to include people of his own ethnicity? And lest Senator McCain be accused of exclusion, the General pointed out that "John McCain is as non-discriminatory as anyone I know." If there is any exclusion involved in this race, it is the exclusion of people of ethnic backgrounds excluding Senator McCain based on a preference for the race of his opponent.

If we want to talk about inclusion, what of the inclusion of the average American, like Joe the Plumber? The Obama campaign has taken to mocking both Joe the Plumber and Senator McCain, saying, "now he says he's fighting for a plumber? How many plumbers do you know that make a quarter of a million dollars a year?" Of course Senator McCain is fighting for a plumber! Senator McCain is fighting for every American, just as he has throughout his life of service to his country. Barack Obama, in contrast, is fighting for the prestige of the office to which he aspires.

The General continued, "I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks the approach of the Republican party and John McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama has given us a more inclusive and broader reach into the needs of our people. He's crossing lines -- ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines." Ethnic and racial, essentially, are the same thing. Is it crossing ethnic and racial lines to gain support from people of your same ethnic and racial background? No. In fact, the only line crossed there is the line of common sense that would dictate that ethnicity should not be considered grounds for choosing a candidate. And I'm not so sure that crossing generational lines is such a good thing, as it appears to result in the registration of seven year old children to vote (if you need a link to verify that allegation, you've been asleep over the past several weeks).

There were two things General Powell cited during his time on Meet the Press that I found most disturbing of all. First, he said "I've also been disappointed by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently on issues that are not really central to the problems that American people worry about. This very, very limited relationship that Mr. Obama has with Bill Ayers." He thinks it's inappropriate to try to connect Obama to some type of terrorist feelings. "These kinds of approaches to the [McCain] campaign trouble me." The General is troubled that Senator McCain might be concerned with a President who has worked with, supported, and been supported by (recently, in fact) a known terrorist who wishes he could have done more to harm his country. Yeah, that concerns me, too.

Second, and most disturbing of all, the General is "also troubled with the Republican party pointing out that Obama is a Muslim." He says, "the correct answer is that he's not a Muslim, he's a Christian, he's always been a Christian." First of all, I don't care if Barack Obama is Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Christian. What disturbs me is the General's assertion that Obama has "always been a Christian." Not only has the General not known Obama long enough to know how long he has been whatever he claims to be, but no one has always been a Christian. Being Christian is not tied to a nationality, as many in the world seem to believe. Being American does not make one Christian by default. Being a Christian means believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and accepting him as your personal Savior. Barack Obama does not profess to have the morals and values that were taught by Christ. His stance on key issues is rarely inline with the teachings of Christ. It is not my place to judge whether Barack Obama is a Christian or not, but his actions and his stated beliefs tell me all I need to know to form my own opinion.

I am extremely disappointed with General Powell. I am disappointed because, like many, many Americans he has abandoned all that he has ever claimed to stand for and believe to support a candidate for President that would be historic. Historic because of his ethnicity. Historic because of his lack of experience. Historic because of his documented ties to unsavory elements. Historic because of his support for socialist principles. I am disappointed because, as a military veteran myself, I cannot comprehend how such a respected military leader as General Powell can support someone who has shown such blatant disrespect for those serving in our military today.

Sadly, to this writer, it appears that General Powell is not voting his party line, he is not voting his faith, he is not voting his principles. To this writer, it appears that General Powell is voting his ethnicity. I say that not because he and Obama have a common race, but because their race is the only thing they have in common. Unless General Powell has been lying about his conservative principles all this time, which would mean he and Obama have another thing in common: dishonesty.

Your comments?



Anonymous said...

I think when he's talking about reaching out to races and ethnicities, he's not just talking about blacks. Latino's and all the other non-white groups are going D this year. In fact, Bush did fairly well reaching out to latino's in particular. But, the immigration debate (and McCain's retreat to the party line) drove them all away.

There's more than black and white in the world.

Corie said...

Your reaction to General Powell's endorsement is so right on that as a minority, this does not encourage me.

Cassandra Troy said...

One straight from the heart. I fully concur: a major disappointment from someone thought to be post-racial. He went for ethnic solidarity on the flimsiest of arguments.

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