October 19, 2008

From Colin Powell's Endorsement Statement

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 ourselves 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.
Yes, I'm well aware that it was only today that Secretary Powell endorsed a Democrat for President. Maybe if our party leaders were more like the party's nominated standard-bearer this time around, we'd have kept the loyalty of Secretary Powell -- a man of some integrity, a man of considerable stature, a man whose loyalty must be earned and can be earned back.

This is the kind of soul-searching that we Republicans need to have. If the demon of prejudice is haunting our party, it is our duty to purge ourselves of it, and morally reprehensible if we seek to profit from it politically. We have good, traditionally conservative issues to run on -- we have to recapture the issue of fiscal responsibility and the Obama Administration will provide a golden opportunity to do that. Strong defense. Freedom from overreaching governmental regulation. Lowering taxes (in a responsible manner). Reform of government and honesty in public life.

If we want to, we can return to these virtues, which have powerful political appeal. But our leaders have to stop acting like pigs at the trough and they have to stop acting like pigs in the pulpit, too.

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