I'm also troubled, not by what Sen. McCain says, but by what members of the party say. And what 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.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were 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 a Star of David. It had a crescent and the 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 could go serve his country and he gave his life.
Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.
-- my transcription of Colin Powell (above left) endorsing Barack Obama for President yesterday. Powell, a Republican and retired 4-star Army General, served as U.S. Secretary of State in the 1st term of President George W. Bush and was the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Video of the full endorsement is here; full transcript here. (credit for photo of Army Cpl. Khan; credit for photo of Khan's headstone)