The General's Got My Back
"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.'
This whole "Isn't Obama a Muslim" issue has really started to upset me. And not upset in the sense of, "That-makes-me-so-mad," but upset in the sense of "if-I-hear-one-more-person-say-that-I'm-going- to- start-sobbing."
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. "
--General Colin Powell (Ret.) at Meet the Press
That question really, really hurts my feelings. People are certainly entitled to their opinions. Still, to intimate that the status of Muslim precludes a person from being American enough to be President of the United States equates to the suggestion that I am not American enough, in general.
I believe that Gov. McCain isn't a prejudiced man, but I do fault him for not addressing this issue in the "really right" way.
And just to be fair, I understand the need for political expediency, but Sen. Obama's repeated focus on the fact that he's Christian instead of saying something to the effect of "you would be better served by asking yourself why that is important to you" hurt my feelings, too.
A few weeks ago, I wrote the campaign an e-mail about it.
I got a form letter directing me to a page on his site which enumerated all the ways that he was Christian as well as the many ways in which he supported the American Jewish community. And that's great, good for him and all the Christians and Jews in this country. But, really, all I wanted was one measly sentence that said, "Hey, back off, you narrow minded bigots, Americans can be Muslim, too."
This whole thing made me feel victimized.
Yes, that's a strong word. But, it's in response to a strong accusation. When people assume that a Muslim president automatically translates to a president aligned with terrorists, they assume that Muslim Americans don't take the responsibilities of American citizenship as strongly as others. I don't presume that all Muslims in this country take their citizenship as seriously as myself, but I'm sure that the same can be said of any religious group in this country.
I have an argument that is well reasoned, in my opinion, regarding how my faith doesn't at all preclude me from fulfilling every obligation incumbent upon American citizens.
But, you know what? Until I see Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Scientologists, or any other religious group having to defend their religious choices in the context of their obligations as American citizens, I don't think I should have to share my defense with anyone else.
That said, I would like to end this post thanking General Colin Powell (Ret.) for his statements made on "Meet the Press."
Thank you, General, for giving the "really right" answer.
Thank you for sticking up for me when no other politician would willingly do so. I know you don't have an election to win, but it still made me feel better to see someone do the right thing.
Thank you for reminding everyone that I, the soldier who gave his life for his country, and that seven year old boy have a right to all of the privileges, honors and aspirations that any other American in this country does.
Watch Powell's interview here and admire how a real American stands up to injustice.