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Thanking Colin Powell is a testament to how low we’ve allowed our expectations to get

As Kalash reported earlier, Colin Powell came out to endorse Barack Obama this weekend on Meet the Press. Here is the longer version of the quote Kalash’s post cited:

“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. […] 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.”

At the current moment, it’s difficult not to want to thank even a war criminal for saying it. But if we think that Colin Powell deserves credit for saying something he’s supposed to be saying, it’s a testament to how low our expectations have gotten of not only our politicians and country, but of ourselves.

It is very telling that Colin Powell blames racism only on the republican party. Where is the nod to Obama and the democrats’ own racist practices?

I cannot disagree with liberals MORE when they say that there is a difference between someone attacking an entire swath of humanity and not coming to its defense. Kalash’s post was absolutely spot on to say, “I only wish the man you endorsed was brave enough to do so himself.” Obama’s silence on this issue has been deafening. It speaks volumes about how self-serving and opportunistic his political career has become, or has [I am sure] been all along. You don’t reach the level of the candidacy on a major party ticket without losing your soul along the way, I don’t care how Black your ass is.

Powell’s is the same liberal line that makes it difficult for Obama supporters to acknowledge their own racist politics simply because theirs are more sophisticated.

Conservatives are not, I repeat, are NOT the only ones guilty of adopting a politics of hate. But because theirs is so blatant and politically incorrect, we spend all of our energies attacking them.

Certainly, many folks need to hear it and be shamed away from it. But my question is this: Why do we keep talking about this amongst ourselves as if we need to hear it, too?

What continues to surprise me is that we, the overly educated, have such a narrow outlook on what race is. The “ooh look, shiny!” racism of the McCain camp stands in such stark difference to ours that we are immediately convinced that we don’t do it, too, as if McCain’s is where racism begins and ends?

Many of our readers and bloggers have fought all of their lives to bring an end to the racist injustices in Palestine, Iraq, and the rest of the Arab world. Many of them know the hand U.S. foreign policy has had throughout all of it.

Obama has said in a million ways this past year that nothing is going to change for the better. What ending the war in Iraq means for him is starting another one in Pakistan.

I am sick of it.

And I am sick of the stale argument that Obama was against the war in Iraq before it began. Let us not delude ourselves: he wasn’t significant on the national scene in 2002. But his hand-picked running mate, Senator Biden, certainly was. What are we to make of his vote to invade? Dismiss it? Excuse it as an unfortunate oversight on the part of Barack Obama?

If there is one place any president of the U.S. will always be the same in, no matter what the party, it is foreign policy. How ignorant we are when we say things like the Democrats (i.e. Al Gore) would have never started the Iraq war. Clinton, lest we forget, never stopped bombing Iraq. Sanctions were killing Iraqis by the hundreds and hundreds of thousands. Madeline Albright said, “the price is worth it.” The Democrats wouldn’t have had to start anything, they were already in there.

So this is what I don’t understand: why “Arabs for Obama” and “Muslims for Obama” has to be the call for so many. “Capitalists for Obama,” I can absolutely understand. “Neoliberals for Obama” makes perfect sense. “Imperialists for Obama,” yes.

But the use of ethnic and religious subjectivities as support for a man and machine that has done nothing but disrespect said ethnicity and religion: I have nothing but pity. I’m sorry but it’s fucking sad. Please have some self-respect.

I can’t find it within myself to respect anybody — ANYBODY — who once recognized the suffering of Palestinians and threw them under the bus the minute they became a political liability. This goes for both Barack Obama and his “pro-Palestine” supporters.

Like them, Barack Obama has been more familiar about this issue than most Americans. In fact, he has had personal discussions about it with some of the greatest Palestinian minds to ever live. There is a difference between someone who didn’t know much about it and someone so intimately familiar with it. So that anyone who once showed compassion can now show such disdain… there is something immoral and grossly corroded about that soul that cannot be forgiven.

And in the end, it won’t be Obama’s fault. Those who asked that everybody support him so avidly and uncritically as they, are going to be the ones with blood on their hands.

And I’ll be right here, coming back to the numerous times this blog and others* called it out, to remind everybody of it.

* Al Falasteenyia, Angry Arab, Raed in the Middle, Highlander, Mideast Youth, Electronic Intifada

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No Responses to “Thanking Colin Powell is a testament to how low we’ve allowed our expectations to get”

  1. Subhannallah That you for this. This reason is why I cannot support Obama…He will not support Palestine but yet those Zionist Jews!!!!

    Posted by ummsultan | October 20, 2008, 11:58 am
  2. To be fair, Obama has said this a while back:
    “Hey, all you can do is just tell the truth and trust in the American people that, over time, they’re going to know what the truth is.
    “One last point I want to — I do want to make about these e- mails, though. And I think this has an impact on this “New Yorker” cover. You know, this is actually an insult against Muslim-Americans, something that we don’t spend a lot of time talking about. And sometimes I’ve been derelict in pointing that out.
    “You know, there are wonderful Muslim-Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things. And for this to be used as sort of an insult or to raise suspicions about me I think is unfortunate. And it’s not what America is all about.”
    [Larry King Live, CNN Transcript, 7/15/08]

    The campaign pointed it out to me, as a reporter for The Arab American News, when I hit’em with all the stuff your talking about here.

    Posted by Khalil | October 20, 2008, 1:04 pm
  3. This was amazing Qui Qui. Thank you.

    Khalil, really? You hit’em with all of the stuff here?

    Please tell me, what were Obama’s responses to the US’s racist policies in the ME? Of Biden’s vote for invading Iraq? Of his 180 on Palestine? Of invading Pakistan? Of the sanctions in Iraq under Clinton? Of the bombing of Iraq under Clinton? I’d love to know. Nobody but you seems to.

    Posted by Salma | October 20, 2008, 2:03 pm
  4. QQ- I feel where you’re coming from…

    I expect next to nothing good from our politicians. No question, the bar is set very very very low in this country. I don’t see that changing so long as we’re stuck with two shitty parties to choose from (I know we can choose others, but they currently stand no chance of getting to the WH). Obviously, we – the people – have a responsibility to change that.

    For the last few weeks, I’ve been taking a lot of crap from some people over my refusal to vote for Obama. (I was actually considering doing so up until fairly recently…) The argument I keep hearing is one I’m sure you’re all too familiar with – the alternative is so bad that we have a duty to vote for him (i.e the lesser of two evils). That argument has never worked for me, and I doubt it ever will. If Obama was a regular American white guy, I could probably care less about who wins in November. I have to admit though that I would be happy to see him in the Oval office, but only because it would be a significant step forward for this country to elect a non-white guy to the White House. I know there are millions of people who feel the same way even if they don’t say so.

    As far as Obama himself is concerned, I’ve been waiting over 6 months for him to give me some sign that he’s worthy of my vote. Obviously, I’ve given up hope. I completely agree with you that his stand (or lack thereof) on the Palestinian question is completely inexcusable given his history and what he knows. I don’t want to pass judgment on him personally, but I would feel very uncomfortable voting for anyone who seems to have such a lack of principle. I don’t trust him, and I find I’m finding it harder to respect him with everyday that passes. People keep telling me that I won’t have that problem when he’s in the White House, but I’ll believe that when I see it… I think he’ll be just as conniving and calculating as he is now (at least in his first term).

    And khalil, as far as the Muslim thing goes, Obama has been completely derelict. The weak quote you provided is one coming from a calculating politician who is trying to do the bare minimum and failing miserably. Not that Powell is the man or anything, but what he said is the very least… and Obama has been nowhere close to making that point.

    Posted by Kalash | October 20, 2008, 9:00 pm
  5. This post should be required reading for every liberal in this country. I simply don’t understand the degree of credibility Obama enjoys among so-called “liberals” in the US and indeed, throughout much of Europe as well. I can understand Muslims and non-Muslim liberals who may be persuaded to support Obama on the basis that he is not llikely to be as bad on ME issues as McCain surely will be, but Alan Dershowitz wrote an interesting article in Huffpo recently that suggests this view may be tragically mistaken:

    “But I also prefer Obama to McCain on the issue of Israel. How can I say that if I have just acknowledged that on the issues they both seem to support Israel to an equal degree? The reason is because I think it is better for Israel to have a liberal supporter in the White House than to have a conservative supporter in the oval office. Obama’s views on Israel will have greater impact on young people, on Europe, on the media and on others who tend to identify with the liberal perspective. Although I believe that centrists liberals in general tend to support Israel, I acknowledge that support from the left seems to be weakening as support from the right strengthens. The election of Barack Obama — a liberal supporter of Israel — will enhance Israel’s position among wavering liberals.”


    There it is in a nutshell: The calm, intelligent, articulate Obama will do a better job of soft-selling Zionism, necononservatism and neoliberalism to America and the rest of the world than the unstable, psychopathic McCain, particulary among so-called “leftists” in America and abroad with whom Obama enjoys an almost messianic standing for some godforsaken reason. Obama may very well be worse for people under the American and Israeli gun because he will suffer far less opposition to his policies than Bush has, in much the same way that much of the Left was silent about Clinton’s atrocities in Iraq and Kosovo, and still clings to the bizarre notion that if Gore was president, we wouldn’t have attacked Iraq or Afghanistan. This isn’t about racism. I am certain the powers that be will be happy to have a black president so long as he performs his duties as water carrier without question or fail. Racism is merely one of the tools the ruling class uses to play its traditional game of divide and rule whereby the little people are kept at each other’s throats while the people at the top laugh their way to the bankā€”this time with $700 billion in hand thanks to “liberals” like Obama.

    The anti-Muslim bigotry of the right, as well as the anit-white, anti-male, anti-working class bigotry of elitist liberals, all serve the greater goal of dividing us and convincing us that the “other” is the enemy, rather than a potential ally. As a scion of the white working-class descendency, I could never in good conscience support a right-wing, fascist scumbag on the order of John McCain, but at the same time I have no use for smarmy, elitist liberal cunts like Bill Maher who basically see working class white people as “trailer trash” and ignorant rednecks. Sadly Maher’s viewpoints and comfortability in expressing them are hardly rare among media-conditioned liberals, and it was this mindset that Obama was appealing to with his remarks about “small town America.” The people up in the ivory tower may have missed the connection, but the people down here at the bottom didn’t. Indeed, I would imagine it is this very dynamic among liberals in America that convinced the ruling class to serve up a black man and a woman as their two candidates of choice for the token role of token opposition, knowing full well that Clinton or Obama would be able to sell right-wing, imperialist polcies to the left side of the spectrum far better than the white-haired white guy could. As for the Right, they need no convincing to go kill Muslims, or whoever.

    Why leftists fall for this bait and switch bullshit again and again is beyond me. We need a genuine leftist resurgence in this country and anybody who thinks the likes of Barack Obama will be the one leading it needs to get a grip.

    Posted by Sean | October 21, 2008, 3:00 am
  6. Spot on Sean. I really don’t understand how Obama has become the Messiah to so many-hes not so much of an open fascist as McCain (or Palin), but what the hell is the difference in their policies?
    Foreign policy? Economy?
    Obama is just so much easier to market.

    Clinton Portis for President.

    Posted by Mohammad | October 21, 2008, 2:12 pm
  7. Could you bitch anymore? Jesus christ, give it a rest. Everyones’ a racist, everyones a war criminal, you’re a broken record. Basically, anyone who disagrees with you is a moronic bigot.

    Posted by Anonymous | October 21, 2008, 11:26 pm
  8. Anonymous’ mom is a bitch AND a moronic bigot.

    And so is anonymous.

    Posted by Sally | October 22, 2008, 5:56 am
  9. “”Subhannallah That you for this. This reason is why I cannot support Obama…He will not support Palestine but yet those Zionist Jews!!!!””

    …So there’s no other differences between the candidates?


    Posted by Joe | October 25, 2008, 1:38 pm
  10. “”Of invading Pakistan?””

    Got a reason why we should never, ever invade Pakistan?

    It may very well be necessary, depending on the course world events take.

    Hell, Pakistan itself is a relatively recent construction.

    It’s not something I would do *lightly*, but it’s sure as hell not something I’d categorically rule out.

    Posted by Joe | October 25, 2008, 1:40 pm
  11. “”
    Why leftists fall for this bait and switch bullshit again and again is beyond me. We need a genuine leftist resurgence in this country and anybody who thinks the likes of Barack Obama will be the one leading it needs to get a grip.””

    Because leftists are, for the most part, childish and more interested in their own self-image than getting anything done. Which is good, because their political views are often infantile.

    When leftists grow up and want to actually make a positive difference in their country and their world, they evolve their views for the better and become liberals.

    Posted by Joe | October 25, 2008, 1:42 pm
  12. Sean, you should publish what you just posted. That was pure genius.

    Posted by SupperSayyin | December 10, 2008, 11:26 pm

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