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Commentary: Colorless Colin Powell Crossed Party Line, He's Black Now

Monday, October 20, 2008

"So when I look at all of this and I think back to my army career, we've got two individuals. Either one of them could be a good president, but which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities – and we have to take that into account – as well as his substance – he has both style and substance – he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.

I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the ... onto the world stage and on the American stage and for that reason, I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

Retired General Colin Powell endorsing Senator Barack Obama

On Sunday I watched the very distinguished Former Secretary of State, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Former National Security Advisor, Retired General Colin Powell, being interviewed by Tom Brokaw on Meet The Press, "lead into" the thinking that allowed him to cross party lines to vote for Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama...it was an exercise in diligence. It was the type of thought process that we don't see on average, at least not from most politicians.

General Powell was taxed, regretful, considerate, and committed in his choice to cast his vote for Senator Obama and not for his longtime friend and Republican ally John McCain. After vividly displaying the considerable weight carried in arriving at this decision, one of the first responses that Tom Brokaw had was, "and you are fully aware that there will be some, how many no one can say for sure, but there will be some who will say this is an African American, distinguished American, supporting another African American because of race." I just shook my head.

Prior to Sunday morning October 19, 2008, with regard to race General Powell must have been one of the persons least referred to that I've witnessed in my lifetime. He has been respected by most and potentially all on the merits of his commitment to this country, his deliberate decisions and actions that manifest that commitment and his dignity as a human. Yet with the single utterance of the words "I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama", he suddenly became a questionable poor decision making character who has no vision beyond his Black skin. From Rudy Giuliani to a myriad of other Republicans, "Powell got it wrong."

When General Powell voiced his decision I wasn't the least bit surprised given previous hints that he had given in this direction, but the first words out of my mouth were "oh well, that anonymity of color that you once employed is out the window, you're Black now."

One of the most exciting features of General Powell, for me at least, has been the fact that I've always seen and respected him as a man. His being a Republican may not have been the "norm" for a Black man, but neither was the career and political heights that he achieved. As a matter of fact, his achievements were not the norm for a man of any race. He is an exceptional individual and I continue to see him as such. However, in the short hours that have passed since he voiced his choice for the next president, many have come out to declare that he made this decision only on the basis of race. How very, very sad.

We have seem racism injected into this presidential race with a hypodermic needle. From the primaries until now Senator Obama has been accused of, associated with and insinuated to be all things racially negative in a fervent hope that people will see him for who he "really" is and not cast their vote for him. I am not the least bit surprised. Racism in this country is alive and well and its babies have been speaking loud and proud at and through the McCain/Palin rallies.

How very typical of the race matters in the United States of America. I don't have to talk about those of us who have and continue to make this nation a united one, it is evident in the wide array of faces that stand in front of, behind and alongside Senator Obama in his appearances. It is heartwarming and a blessing to see. On the other hand, those who stand in front of, behind and alongside McCain/Palin exclaim "treason," "terrorist," "kill him," and that is a curse to witness.

The merits upon which I have always assessed General Powell stand firm this Monday morning. As a supporter of Senator Barack Obama, I am so gratified to see someone of Powell's stature aboard the "movement for change." It's a damn shame that effective with the news cycle at 6:00 a.m. this morning, a man who has always been revered for his decision making and experience will be disrespected, questioned, and lambasted for his decision to not only vote for a Democrat, but for that Democrat to be a Black man.

Good morning America, it's 1:49 a.m., the games begins in a few hours.

Posted by Shelia

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