Monday, October 20, 2008

Sometimes it's a big deal to state the obvious

I'm generally pretty skeptical that the presidential endorsements that people make around this time of the year are terribly important to most people. Does anyone really care if the Bloom Picayune endorses Obama, or if Charo is a die hard McCain supporter? By this point, I would imagine that most people's minds are made up as to who they're going to vote for and the "endorsements" are just an occasion to agree or disagree with others.

That said, it was nice to see Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama the other day, if just to hear articulated the reasons that a conservative might vote for Obama in this election. I think that many people have the idea that Obama voters are starry-eyed hippies who are dreaming of their idol carrying them to the worker's paradise on the back of a flying unicorn. But, indeed, there are conservatives who see legitimate reasons to vote for the man; hopefully, those reasons will be taken seriously by Republicans, as opposed to the handful of party apparatchiks who can be expected to respond, "Well, the one guy's black, and the other guy's black; so, there you go."

To be honest, I wasn't as interested in why Powell is voting for Obama; however I was very impressed by something that he said during the course of that endorsement:

Some have said, “‘Well you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’”
“He is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian,” Powell said.
“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.”

No freakin' kidding! It's amazing to me that we've gotten to this point in which almost nobody else is saying this in the public sphere. The same thing happens over and over again: someone "smears" Obama by calling him a covert Muslim, and the press, the Obama campaign, and "fair" editorialists feel compelled to "clear his name", as if we all understand that belonging to the second-largest religion on earth is a terrible blight that automatically disqualifies the man for the highest office in the land. A Muslim?! Perish the thought!

And here I am just as irritated with the people spreading the rumors about Obama as a "Manchurian candidate" as I am with the Obama campaign for listing, "Barack Obama is a Muslim" on their page of "smears". Since when is belonging to any religious group, or no religious group, a "smear" in American life? Since when are Americans the sort of people who care less about the issues than about who is the "most American", or the "real American", or the most religiously correct? Please! The Americans I know aren't like that.

So good for Powell for saying what every other public figure should have been saying all along.

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