Two day ago, General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State for George W. Bush,
announced his endorsement of Barack Obama for President of the United States. This is the
same Colin Powell who sat before the United Nations, putting his reputation on the line,
verifying that in fact Sadam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological labs and
imposed an almost immediate threat to western civilization and world peace. This is the same
Colin Powell who after, it came to light that he was misled by the CIA and almost intentionally
used as a pawn by the Bush Administration because of his good will and almost universal
acclaim as being a man of honor, stood by the Bush Administration as a loyal soldier to his
Commander-in-Chief. This is the same Colin Powell who many thought could be the first black
President with the support of the Republican Party.
How times change. Now that Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama he no longer is
the darling of the Republican right but has been called as much as a traitor by those same
conservatives who championed him when he was on their side. When he was on their side, his
decisions according to them were always thoughtful and based upon facts and evidence. Now
that he is for Barack Obama, suddenly according to those on the right, his decision is solely based
upon race. This could be expected, after all he is a black man and so is Barack Obama. In this
politically charged atmosphere no good motive is taken at face value and no action goes
unchallenged based upon the lowest common denominator.
Yet, in the rhetoric of those on the right that are now chastising him comes that
underlying tinge of racism. Some of the grand pubahs on the right have openly talked about how
the Republican Party made Colin Powell and how could he do this to them. Underlying those
words is the clear message “we took this black man, embraced him as one of ours, elevated him
far beyond where he would have been able to go on his own and this is how he pays us back”.
These statements are not made about white politicians in public service because the
conservative right only believes that when they take a black man and make them one of their own
that they should be thankful to their masters. Reminiscent of the southern plantation owners’
disbelief that the freed house slaves didn’t want to stay. After all, they were given good clothes
and treated better than the others. They owed loyalty to their former owners.
We have yet to hear a commentator on the right chastise Joe Leiberman for his
repudiation of his entire party, for his attached to the hip endorsement of John McCain, and for
his forsaking all those that voted for him in numerous elections because he wore the Democrat
brand. No, it’s OK for a white man to do it because he is not beholding to anyone. He is free.
But that black man should always remember where he came from and who he owes his favors to
for his success.
The McCain campaign continually talks about how they want to reach across the isle and
bring the country together. Even if they have that desire to bring Democrats and Republicans
together, which we wholeheartedly doubt, do not they realize with their calls of Barack Obama
being a friend to a terrorist and implying that he is the same, with their comments that he does
not look like the reset of the previous Presidents, and with their attack on Colin Powell that they
are sowing the seeds of racial division and setting back racial harmony for decades. Do not they
realize that they are sowing the seeds of minorities versus whites that is anti-American in nature
and destructive to this country in its time of economic turmoil?
The Republican Party seems to be myopic in what they are doing. In California a local
party chairwoman put out mock food stamps with Barack Obama’s picture on them with
watermelon, Kentucky fried chicken and barbequed ribs. In Virginia, the McCain state chairman
told his supporters to go out and tie Barack Obama to terrorism and Osama bin Laden.
Throughout the country the Republicans and their allies in the media have now tried to use the
term “real Americans”, “real Virginians”, “real whatever” signifying that if you are Republican
or willing to vote for McCain, you truly are an American, but if you are willing to vote for
someone with the name of a Barack Obama, then you have lost your way as to patriotism. .
John McCain was once a maverick or so we have been told. What he has become is the
ring master for the most racially divided campaign in decades. What he has become is a man so
determined to become President that he no longer cares what the country looks like when he
becomes that leader. In his campaign slogans, on his bumper stickers, he uses the term “country
first”. Maybe at one time that truly was his thought, however his actions or his inactions when
dealing with those that side with him show as some have thought all along, the bumper sticker
should really read “John McCain First”. What else would you expect from a man that shoved a
devoted crippled wife to the side and chased a beer heiress while still married.