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Sunday, October 19, 2008

General Powell's Patriotic Grace

Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama today was so measured, so diplomatic, so graceful that I hope it gets played on many blogs and gets seen by Americans - and the rest of the world - over and over again. It is a beautiful example of what Peggy Noonan has labeled "patriotic grace."

Without ever insulting John McCain, a man for whom General Powell obviously has a great deal of respect and admiration, he managed to make a strong and stirring endorsement of Senator Obama. I am sure that General Powell has seen a great deal in the Republican Party during this election cycle that has disappointed him deeply. Yet with great dignity he stayed on the high road and spoke about what he admired in John McCain and gave well thought out reasons why at this juncture in history he is endorsing Barack Obama instead.

I'll let the video speak for itself.

This is what political involvment at its best looks like. This is what patriotism looks like. And I'm sure this is why most of us got involved to start with. But somewhere along the way our idealism got replaced with ideology and the desire to win at all costs. I think that is true of both sides. General Colin Powell's endorsement is a call to get back to what is the best in us regardless of party affiliation or ideological belief. It's a call to concentrate on what unites us rather than what divides us.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't have spirited debates on policy or that we should shrink from airing honest differences. But where did the basic respect go? There once was the concept of "the loyal opposition" which is very different from the hated enemy. We need to get back to that basic if we want to keep a democracy.


Brian Kirwin said...

Tell that to Nancy Pelosi sometime.

Cargosquid said...

He's still endorsing a candidate that has no problem associating with, not the Senate. Apparently, Gen'l Powell has no problem supporting a candidate that is friends with a man that wanted to bomb and kill Gen'l Powell's fellow soldiers. He is a hypocrite.
Then, for a man that says that race is not a reason to support Obama, he is now endorsing a candidate that is depending upon racial politics to win; a candidate that listened to racial politics for 20 years in his church.
Gen'l Powell is endorsing Obama because of two reasons. Powell, while not stating his affilliation, has always been more comfortable with Democrats and because Obama is black.
Obama's history goes against everything that General Powell has stated that he supports. Obama's associations are against everything Powell stands for.

So, either Powell is a hypocrite, or he is supporting Obama because he feels that its time for a black man, ANY black man, to be president. And you know what? I can understand General Powell's position on THAT. I don't think its right, but, I can understand it.

Anonymous said...

Great article and I agree completely. I do however, disagree with cargosquid.

It is the McCain/Palin campaign that continually misuses race and gender issues. When people question Gov. Palin's credentials they cried sexism. They attempt to link Sen. Obama to terrorism and in doing so imply that he is not american. I've seen many Obama bin Ladin signs. More recenlty, I have heard republicans discredit Gen. Powell's thoughtful endorsement by accusing him of voting race. Absurd and disgusting!

Intersting blog though. You may also like It is a site where everyday women talk about their concerns regarding election tactics as well as discuss thier needs from government.

Terry Carter said...

"I am sure that General Powell has seen a great deal in the Republican Party during this election cycle that has disappointed him deeply."

I think we all have. Even us Democrats.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

I do not for one moment believe that General Powell is supporting anybody based on race. If that were true, he would have endorsed Obama a lot sooner.

I believe he really wanted to endorse John McCain at the beginning at that he has a genuine respect for McCain and the service he has given to the country.

But I also think General Powell is genuinely disturbed by what he has seen in the Republican Party, including the not so subtle racism of this campaign, which has spun out of control.

General Powell was never a hard right winger. He was always a moderate and he is unhappy with the direction his party is going in. And he is unhappy with the tone of this particular race and disappointed in his friend John McCain for putting victory above honor.

He is merely saying what other Republicans have said both privately and not so privately.