Say what you will about Colin Powell’s willingness to shill for the Bush administration, but his endorsement earlier this week of Barack Obama’s candidacy reminds us that he is a man of integrity, eloquence, and reason.
Powell’s view on the role that American should play in the world was refreshingly enlightened, and noticeably devoid of leadership through military might.
Also, I think, the new president has to realize that the world looks to America for leadership, and so we have to show leadership on some issues that the world is expecting us to, whether it’s energy, global warming and the environment. And I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world. We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world. Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they’re not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.
Powell also takes the Republican Party to task for its exploitation of narrowmindedness and intolerance to promulgate a culture of fear in the interest of political expedience.
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.
Colin Powell’s principled endoresment of Obama stands in stark contrast to the malicious and slanderous attacks by McCain, Palin, Giuliani, and Fox News. Hopefully this is a signal that Powell will emerge from the columbarium of the Bush White House and continue to be a voice of reason on the world stage.