Monday, October 20, 2008

Episode 15: The Powell Effect


On the News Show “Meet The Press” this past weekend, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has broken the republican ranks, and endorsed Barack Obama for president.

"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 you 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." said Powell.

While on the other side of the aisle, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called the endorsement “…totally about race” on his show.

I have been called a hopeless optimist about many things, but I have always expressed major concern with race relations in this country. Allow me to state at the onset (since the allegiance of liberals have been a… concern as of late) that I love America with all my heart. The ability to even write this blog without fear of persecution is a testament to greatness of America. However, I feel race issues in this country have never been fully addressed. It is like the awkward conversation about sex parents have with their kids – “mommies and daddies ‘do it’ and that’s that…. Get it? Got it? Good. Let us never speak of it again.”

And for 40 years, we haven’t addressed race, instead electing to slap a “taboo” label on it, and never speaking of it again. And though there are laws and regulations in place that protect minorities from overt racism, no law can stop an old lady from clutching her bag tighter as I pass her down the street. What we are seeing now is the explosion of suppressed race tension. McCain and Palin have planted seeds of hate and division that has given permission to the crazies to say what they really feel about America. I can’t begin to express my extreme disappointment for the lack of social progression in some parts of the country, and in the minds and hearts of some people.

Still, I am an optimist. I still believe that the population of hate mongering, overtly racist people is very small. I still believe that in 2008, racism isn’t just taboo, white people genuinely denounce it. I still believe that Rush Limbaugh is preaching to a very small choir.

What does the Colin Powell endorsement mean for Obama? Very little at this point, I’m afraid, but not for a bad reason. Despite Limbaugh’s harsh criticism, Powell is a highly respected person in the political and military spheres. Perhaps the endorsements tips the vote in favor for Obama for undecided voters in the military. Perhaps civilian undecided voters have a justification now for voting Obama.

I see this endorsement as not a final nail in the coffin for McCain, but a testament to the incredible campaign Obama has run. He has remained consistent, and he stuck with what he knows how to do – move and inspire people to achieve a better life. Obama is prophet-like, starting with only a few believers, and picking up followers along the way until his message became a movement.

By all political accounts, Hilary Clinton should have beaten him in the primaries, but there is something about the delivery, there careful chosen and thoughtful words, his stride, his confidence that moves people. Powell correctly identified Obama as a “transformation figure.” I think this is a quality that everyone can see in Obama, but Powell’s endorsement justifies. Will this make the polls wildly swing in Obama’s favor? I doubt it, but that not how the Obama campaign has worked anyway. It is a gradual increase of followers that will no doubt reach its apex on November 4th.
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2 comments: on "Episode 15: The Powell Effect"

Anonymous said...

I supported Hillary in the primaries, but this yellow dog had no bones about backing Obama once our party decided who would be its candidate. I've pledged both time and money to get him to where he needs to be to help turn America back around in the right direction.

But I can say this- if he doesn't get in and perform and fulfill his promises, it will not only hurt him, but minority candidates for years to come. As unfortunate as it is, he will have to perform "above and beyond" just to break even.

But this is why it is even more important that people get in there and vote Democrat across the board. Without the support of congress and local agencies, he won't stand a chance and will run into roadblocks never seen or even imagined in our history.

The Law said...

Oh I agree... I forget who said it... may have been Chris Matthews, but he likened Obama to Jackie Robinson. Robinson has to be perfect - he had to play well and not let racism get to him. Failure to do that would have delayed blacks getting into professional baseball. Same as Hank Aaron breaking the homerun record, and just about every black first. And as Joe Biden said in a speech, Obama is gonna be tested early, but he has a spine of steel. So I trust Obama, like others who broke the color barrier, will do very well - dare I say exceptionally well - in office.

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