Sunday, October 19, 2008

The US elections in pictures, and words, an occasional series


Excerpt follows from Colin Powell interview transcript, October 19, 2008

'Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that's good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration. 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? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.'

'I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. 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. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

'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 world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.'

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Blogger Lizzie said...

The story of the soldier in question (Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan) and an incredibly powerful picture (which I believe is the one Powell was talking about) can be seen here.

It's really rather humbling.

October 20, 2008 11:12 am  
Anonymous ChrisW said...

An awesome statement made by a man of integrity and stature.

Extremism exists in ALL societies and what concerns me so much is that the USA seems blind to its own issues - reverse the banner to say:
"MUSLIMS !AGAINST! BABY MURDERING CHRISTIANS FOR PRESIDENT" and there would be an outcry of TERRORIST and a witch-hunt!!!

The poignancy of the image is of the police officer in the background (who may be oblivious to this particular banner) representing a state who IMO is happy to terrorise others when it suits itself !

October 20, 2008 12:32 pm  
Anonymous Louise said...

There's a baby murdering muslim running for president? Where? In the parallel universe he so clearly inhabits?

October 20, 2008 1:55 pm  
Blogger Gridlock said...

Y'all should read this before you go the light-hearted route...

October 20, 2008 2:19 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Oh, the ACORN canard is just ridiculous. It is becoming a post-defeat excuse though - regsiering made-up names is not the same thing as voter fraud.

ACORN have to hand over the made-up-names papers along with the real ones; they even flagged them up as they did so.

The rubbish being spewed by rightwingers is ludicrous. Someoene needs to make a viral film explaining what ACORN is and how it works and what it means when someone makes up a load of names of voters and how it doesn't translate into actual votes - how could it?

October 20, 2008 3:14 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks for the photo Lizzie. I couldn't find the one Powell referred to yesterday so put up another Muslim soldiers grave instead.

October 20, 2008 3:15 pm  
Blogger Gridlock said...

Ridiculous to you and me, yes, and massively ironic given the Broward County white-collar 'riot' or the caging activities in the panhandle - but look at the dots, look at how these crazy-ass rightwingers are going to join them up (with a little help from Rush and Bill) especially when a KNOWN TERRORIST SYMPATHISER!!!1 wins the White House. And worry.

As Billmon said, you pick on someone both blameless and weak.

ACORN is a threat to the very fabric of democracy (quoth McCain). The Community Reinvestment Act *made* Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac lend to shiftless black folk ('inner city poor' being the euphemism-du-jour), which brought down everyone's 401Ks, jobs and endless HELOCs. 'Small town Americans' are the only REAL Americans (Palin).

October 20, 2008 3:32 pm  
Blogger Gridlock said...

Obama and McCain both offer the same fundamental vision of US exceptionalism, both want more dead foreigners, both are the puppets of the Corporate Elite, both represent a real threat to basic human values as recognised by any sane human and ABOVE ALL ELSE neither should be considered as some sort of fucking messianic world-changing superstar. They are both US Politicians and deserve to be treated as the problem, not solution. I am excited about this election only insofar as I want Bush out of office and hanging around his Massachusetts home (prop-ranch notwithstanding) with just that tiny, tiny spark of fear that someone may decide he deserves judgement in the true biblical sense.

In my view, at least McCain is up front about most of this and a MCCain presidency has the advantage of further driving the US towards the decisive moment it needs. Obama is a step back in that he restores the quiet-handshake CEO President to office. This is why the GOP wanted Mittens Romney and not McCain.

Hands up everyone who thinks what happened in Iraq is a war crime? Hands up who wants Humanity to publish those who would start unprovoked wars, who would unleash armies of trigger-happy killing machines on families just like mine and yours? Now, what's Obama's position on this? He supports the wars. He doesn't support impeachment, or review. He wants new wars, better wars, more blood to feed and nurture American global hegemony.

And don't even get me started on how this Champion Of The Poor selected the author of legislation designed to ensure people would lose their home before they could default on medical or credit card bills as his running mate, a man so unashamedly owned by MBNA that his son works for them as a goddamn lobbyist!

FWIW, does anyone else think that if she were running for 'Deputy PM' in this country Palin wouldn't have made it past having nuclear spelled phonetically (new-klee-er) on her teleprompter for her acceptance speech? Her husband's a godamn seccessionist and Rove still sends her out to push the OBAMA KNOWS TERRORISTS!! angle - incredible's not the word.

(Why am I so ranty today? Monday?)

October 20, 2008 3:54 pm  
Blogger Gridlock said...

The guy holding the !AGAINST! BABY MURDERING MUSLIMS - look into his eyes.

I'd recommend watching McCain tell a supporter that Obama's "not an arab, he's a good man*" and listening to her "no?!" as well, I think between these 2 you can get a true understanding of why America deserves to fail, quick and hard.

*As Affleck said on Bill Maher** this week, "imagine him saying 'no he's not a jew, he's good man!'"..

** Watch Real Time if you can. If not, get hold of The Decider.

October 20, 2008 4:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even Alaskans aren't buying Palin's schtick. LOVE the signs! Best one, "I can see the end of your career from my porch, Sarah."

October 20, 2008 11:30 pm  
Anonymous Parantar said...

we should better love one another.. hehe

October 21, 2008 3:09 am  
Blogger Autolycus said...

Utterly frivolous (or maybe not?) observation. Sarah Palin isn't the only person who's come to political prominence as a social conservative/ religious fundamentalist/ nationalistic "just a regular person" populist with a patchy record in local government. All of these she has in common with - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

October 21, 2008 6:36 pm  
Anonymous Louise said...

Here's something even more frivolous: can she spell 'potato'? Remember Dan Quayle.

October 21, 2008 9:33 pm  
Anonymous Ambuscade said...

What worries me is people considering debating or denouncing a religious or idealogical belief to be equal to racism.
The death of a soldier serving in the US army who happens to have claimed to have followed a certain ideology doesn't make that ideology correct.
Indeed Arlington is filled with white supremacist racist Americans.
No one would start this kind argument about the KKK but for some reason we are invited to accept Islam because of a Muslim soldier dying in Iraq.

October 30, 2008 11:32 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Ambuscade. Islam is nothing like the KKK.

It is a major world faith with millions of followers. Currently 'Muslim' is being used as a slur by the Republicans - this is disgraceful, as disgraceful as saying 'Obama is a Jew' and meaning it hatefully.

One is antisemitism. One is Islamophobia. You can take issue with religion's doctrines, but the name of a religion should not be used to attack and abuse a man - Obama isn't a Muslim anyway, ffs. but Powell's point was fair - so what if he was?

October 31, 2008 1:10 pm  
Anonymous ambuscade said...

I didn't mean to compare white supremacy directly to Islam.
The two are very different from each other.
But both are ideologies and contain concepts and values on how the world should be.
A person can disagree on Islam or even condemn it without being racist.
With antisemitism it is different as it's both a religion and a ethnic group.
You can have secular Jews for example who do not agree with Judaism.
Someone cannot change being Jewish.
I personally do not see anything wrong with not wanting a Muslim as ones president.
Not more then not wanting a communist or a white supremacist as president.
These two belief systems also have millions of followers.

November 02, 2008 9:39 pm  

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