Earth and stone in the US election

Grave of Corporal Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan

Would General Colin Powell make a good President of the United States? In my view he would make an outstanding president. But would he be elected? Possibly not. This has nothing to do with popular feeling about America’s most famous black soldier. Powell shines as a diplomat and military commander, but from what I can see he is not an effective or inspiring politician.

To hear Powell endorse Barack Obama comes as no surprise to me, and the timing is just right. I was struck by the detail of what Powell said. What disappoints me is that no other senior political figure, Obama included, has seen fit to challenge the anti-Muslim bigotry stoked, says Powell, by senior Republicans during the election campaign.

In his endorsement of Obama, General Powell made reference to US Army Corporal Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan from Manahawkin, New Jersey, who in August of last year was killed in Iraq. In this post I’ve not included the ubiquitous picture of Khan’s mother Elsheba leaning on her son’s gravestone. That posed, emotionally-saturated photograph is part of a essay by Platon in The New Yorker magazine. I much prefer the simple image above of the grave, found on a page devoted to Khan on the Arlington National Cemetary website.