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Truly “MUST SEE TV” was to be had on NBC’s Meet the Press today, as Colin Powell did as many were murmuring he would: he officially endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States of America, over his fellow Republican and friend, John McCain. I don’t think I have been as captivated by a speaker as I was while watching Powell, in a very long time, perhaps since Obama’s stirring keynote speech in 2004 (video) at the Democratic National Convention. While that speech by Obama made me stand up and take notice of this newcomer, mostly by mere virtue of having no clue who this charismatic speaker was, in Powell’s case today it was the sheer common sense and eloquent, calm, measured way in which he put forth his thoughts (including concern of John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate and possible future president) and my wondering what the outcome would be that had my eyes and ears glued to the set. Truly, nearly twenty-five minutes of not wanting to even take a breath for fear of missing something momentous. Terribly sad that I have to categorize common sense as momentous, but the way this election campaign has gone–toward the unbelievably negative, ridiculous, racist and bigoted side–has me grabbing onto any and all shreds of common sense as if they were bits of fresh air amongst the putrid stagnation of negativity and hate.
While I have had intense misgivings about the role Mr. Powell had in our involvement in the horrific continuing disaster known as the Iraq war, I have always continued to harbor feelings of respect for most everything else he has done, especially on the charitable front. This is a highly intelligent, compassionate man, with foreign policy and military experience matched by few, so to discount anything he might say by mere fact of my disgust with the hand he had in our involvement in Iraq would be shortsighted. I am hoping that others who will vehemently disagree with the stance Powell took today, will not be shortsighted as well (not holding my breath), and will see that the points he laid out to explain his decision are points that bode well for our country, and for the drastic, immediate change we need at home AND abroad.
Below is a video clip (just over 7 minutes) of the lead up to Colin’s endorsement of Barack on Meet the Press, but I would also highly suggest reading this article on Huffington Post which discusses Powell’s endorsement, and has video of Powell speaking with reporters after the Meet the Press show.
And lastly, I’m sure it’s not just me, but did anyone else sorely miss Tim Russert being the one sitting in that Meet the Press chair and being the one to land this momentous interview? What a lasting impact Tim has had on so many of us who never knew the man personally, but who miss his gentle, intelligent, and persistent style of being America’s truth-seeker and cheerleader for our political process. You are sorely missed, Mr. Russert.