Monday, October 20, 2008

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.'

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

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."

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.

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Blogger sybil law said...

Damn straight!
I love Colin Powell. He's so smart and eloquent. Thanks for posting that, because I missed "Meet the Press" this week.

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger B.E. Earl said...

He said what everyone should have been saying all along.

I have family members who are Muslim and I would hate to think that my nephew or niece could grow up in a country where they couldn't even dream to be President one day.

Three cheers for Powell.

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger ggop said...

Powell went on to describe a photo essay he saw in the New Yorker after that comment.

My respect for him just increased ten fold.

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger Miss Britt said...

That was, in my opinion, the absolute best part of Powell's endorsement.

"What's wrong with a little Muslim boy thinking he can grow up to be president someday?"

You, my friend, are no less American than my Lilly white ass.

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger RW said...

I agree with you 100%. Three cheers for Gen. Powell! And how come nobody mentions that my friend Rizwan's son is a fighter pilot in the US Air Force?

Except Scientology is not a religion. Just to clear up a misconception.

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger Avitable said...

But doesn't Obama wear muslin?

Wait, doesn't Obama eat Mueslix?

What was the issue again?

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger slmnhq said...

Best piece of statesmanship I've seen this year. He looked more presidential than either candidate.

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Anonymous Stef Edwards said...

I have always been a HUGE fan of Gen. Powell! It's unfortunate that he is so intelligent that he won't run for office.... I'm of the opinion that no one in their right mind would WANT to be president. I cast my ballot today and am so relieved that (for myself) none of the propaganda BS matters anymore. I have to admit it was awfully tempting to write in "none of the above" but what fun would that be? :)

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger Faiqa said...

sybil: I think I was pretty clear in the post on how much I love him. But, jic, I love him, too.

B.E. Earl: Nothing sucks worse than killing a kid's dreams.

ggop: Thanks for posting the link to the photo. It was beautiful.

Miss Britt: Me and your ass thank you. Not that I would presume to speak for your ass, but it would be rude if it didn't thank you, too.

RW Now, you know why the Cruises won't invite you to Surrey's birthday parties.

Avitable He's a Mueslix eating muslin wearing non-Muslim. And that's exactly my point.

slmnhq Agreed.

Stef Me, too. I actually have his biography, "My American Journey." It's really good. I'm glad you didn't write none of the above. I mean, if a person doesn't want their vote to matter, they should just vote for Nader. He's a nice guy and he could use the self esteem.

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger RW said...

Oh they'd have another reason for that, and I'd explain it to you but it would hijack your terrific post. So check your email... :-)

Monday, 20 October, 2008  
Blogger Tariq said...

I have disliked Colin Powell ever since his speech at the UN security council trying to convince the audience of the presence of Nuclear weapons in Iraq and demanding an invasion. I have always believed that he knew the Iraqi invasion had nothing to do with their freedom, yet he did not stand up against it at the right time. However, time changes things. After this weekend's interview, he has gained my respect. He did look very presidential. These statements and the people who make these statements should be given more attention in the media.

Tuesday, 21 October, 2008  
Blogger Slyde said...

powell is the man....

HE'D win the presidency hands down if he ever wanted to run.. he's got no taste for politics, tho..

Tuesday, 21 October, 2008  
Blogger Faiqa said...

tariq:Yep. what you said. exactly. Cherish this. It doesn't happen often.

slyde: the fact that he doesn't want to run for pres. is the biggest the reason that he should.

Tuesday, 21 October, 2008  
Anonymous karmi said...

Tariq, and your evidence for the proposition that Powell's speech was a pretext for a US invasion is what exactly? The reason you won't be able to produce any evidence to that effect is that there isn't any. Powell's speech could just as easily be taken as the honest but mistaken judgment that Saddam had stockpiles of WMD (not just nuclear). The fact is, Saddam had every intention of restarting all his WMD programs as soon as he could rally world, or at least, Arab opinion to get the US to leave him alone. How do we know this? Because, the man who surreptitiously befriended Saddam while he was in custody said so in a CBS 60 Minutes interview. According to him, Saddam told him that he had to pretend that he had WMD in order to keep the Iranians from invading Iraq. The intelligence networks of every western nation believed that he had WMD, including the CIA and George Tenent, who said exactly that just this year. Powell is an affirmative action careerist, sucking up to Obama in hopes of getting a job in the new administration. FYI: he was never popular in Republican circles; he was a Bush lap dog and a liberal.

Monday, 15 December, 2008  
Blogger K A B L O O E Y said...

I completely agree with you and applaud the straight-talking Gen. Powell. And your getting that perfunctory form letter, while likely just a function of some hasty reading by an overworked staffer, is just salt in the wound. You have reason to be irate, yet your post was measured, calm and cogent. People are just as reactionary and racist regarding the "Ground Zero mosque" which has been at the site since before the World Trade Center. (And this is a New York Jew writing this comment.)

Monday, 06 September, 2010  

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