On Who is American

There’s quite a lot that Colin Powell said today during his endorsement of Barack Obama that spoke to me, but in particular his mention of the current attempt on the Republican side of things to equate being Muslim with not being American got my attention. On the attempt to suggest Obama is a Muslim — or the tacit acceptance on the GOP side when such a suggestion occurs — Powell said that the right answer was that the suggestion is wrong, and that Obama is a Christian.

But then he said: “The really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being Muslim in America? No, that’s not America.” And then he talked about Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, Muslim, born in New Jersey, who was killed serving in Iraq, and how he saw a photo of Khan’s mother at her son’s grave, feeling the grief mothers feel when their children are lost at war, and how the grave of Spec. Khan showed not a cross or a star of David but the crescent and star of Islam. Spec. Khan, who had received a bronze star, is buried with full honors at Arlington. “He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could go serve his country, and he gave his life,” Powell said. “Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.”


I had more to say on the matter, and maybe I will say more, later. But for now, a simple “yes” is sufficient.