Yesterday, I didn't have an immediate reaction to Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, aside from basic happiness and a smirk, knowing how much it would piss off the likes of Limbaugh. The endorsement carried weight bestowed upon it not simply by Powell's rank, but by the obvious consideration he'd given to the decision. His seven-minute screed against the McCain campaign and the thoughtful response he gave to the question of it being about race made it pretty clear that it wasn't about race. And his comments about Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan was the most emphatic and potentially impactful rebuke of GOP-generated xenophobia I've seen in the years since 9/11:
It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way.