Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Colin Powell rejects Islamophobia

American politics is generally about who can roll in the muck for the longest. Which is why it was so remarkable to see somebody take a principled, unpopular stand against discrimination.

That somebody, who spoke out forecfully this weekend against anti-Muslim bias, was General Colin Powell. The same general who invaded Iraq the first time around, back in 1990. Not only did he back Barack Obama for president, but he denounced the "Muslim" and "terrorist" rumors dished out by those ugly McCain robocalls.

More importantly, he pointed out: So what if Obama was Muslim? Can't a Muslim be an American, or die for their country, as many Muslim-Americans have in Iraq and Afghanistan - like Karim Rashad Sultan Khan, who Powell cited and who lies in Arlington Cemetery? This brave stand reminds me of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's defense of gay rights a couple of years ago, as a singular voice of true decency.

The sad part about this is that Powell is the first to recognize just how McCarthyite this kind of exclusion and hatemongering is. Every other politician just lets it slide, for fear of endangering their own election prospects. No wonder Powell is admired by almost three-quarters of the American people. God knows he's been very wrong in the past - thinking Bush and Cheney would be terrific leaders, for example - but on this issue he's dead right.

Today's Top Stories

No comments: