Move over Tina Fey, the greatest moment in television history (for this election season anyway) occurred live on Sunday morning.
I have a love/hate relationship with Colin Powell. I believe he is one of the greatest military minds of any time and that intelligence translated amazingly well into the private sector when he entered the political sphere. He was one of the few Republican leaders I trusted and I found his ability to strengthen non-partisan politics extremely reassuring.
Then came word of torture talks in my White House. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed. Devastated.
I go back and forth on the concept of defining a man – any man – by one instance in their lives. My gut tells me that Colin Powell regrets his involvement, if any, in such shameful events. That blemish will be tied to the necks of all of those participants until the end of their days.
But I can’t discount the decades of service he offered this nation. I can’t forget the leadership he maintained in the Army and the lives saved because of this leadership. None of us can.
So when word started to leak that Powell would not only endorse this past weekend, but likely endorse Obama, my heart swelled.
If there is one sure way for Powell to redeem himself, it’s to redeem this country. I hope this endorsement is the beginning of a long standing relationship between Powell and the Obama White House. No one knows more intimately what got us into this military mess, and I believe no one has a greater ability to find resolution. The left got far more than a boost of support with this endorsement. The whole nation received a most valuable tool as we begin to rebuild.
More than another vote for Obama, Powell defined so brilliantly the reasons why Obama is the better Presidential choice for him and this nation at this very pivotal time.
“I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one. And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor.”
Knowing their history (Powell and McCain’s), one can only imagine how difficult it was to come to these conclusions:
“In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me, sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had.”
“I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.”
But far more than the why not’s on McCain’s side and the why’s on Obama’s, Powell spoke a truth that each and every American needs to hear and hear again:
“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?”
For months, in living rooms and at water coolers all over this country, Obama supporters have shouted that ‘Obama’s a Christian! Obama’s a Christian!’ when they should have been demanding ‘This is America and it doesn’t matter what God you pray to, if you’re a Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist…you’re an American, period.’ That’s the only qualification when it comes to service to this country.
When the hell did we lose sight of this simple truth?
On November 4th we regain our vision.
On November 4th we redefine our priorities.
On November 4th we repeat the words of long ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.
On November 4th we reclaim our nation.