I actually got up early enough (6 a.m.) to watch Colin Powell on Meet the Press and to hear his very intellectual, measured, well-reasoned endorsement of Barrack Obama for president.
I should have turned the TV off right then and not turned it back on again until the election, but I've been too caught up in this whole thing and so I left it on.
Tom Brokaw asked Powell if he would ever consider a position in the Obama cabinet, should Obama be elected. Powell said that he has given 40 years of service to this country and he has no desire to go back into politics again, but he felt that if a president were to ask you to join his cabinet, you owed it to him to at least talk about it.
Two hours later on MSNBC there was a discussion about whether the Obama campaign would get in trouble for trying to fill cabinet positions before the election had even taken place.
I felt like I had stepped through the looking glass into some sort of parallel bizarre world. Where in the world did anybody get the idea that Obama had even offered Powell a position in his cabinet? The question was Tom Brokaw's (and to my knowledge he has no authority to interview prospective candidates for either candidate's cabinet!) and the answer was mostly negative on Powell's part.
But this is how offhand comments become inaccurate facts that are spread around.
Later, McCain was speaking in Iowa (I think it was Iowa...I've forgotten now). He said that the hero of Iowa was Joe the Plumber, who didn't deserve all the attacks that he was getting from the Obama campaign simply for asking for the answer to a simple question.
Has anybody heard the Obama campaign attacking Joe the Plumber? Earlier McCain said that the man didn't deserve to have his privacy violated -- yet it was McCain who made him a cause celebre at the debate by mentioning him 21 different times. Yet somehow this has translated in McCain's brain to the Obama campaign attacking Joe the Plumber.
A McCain spokesperson was interviewed today about Joe and he ranted long and loud about those taxes that Obama is going to impose in people making $40,000. He would not be contradicted. He is bound and determined that every middle class American be afraid of Obama raising their taxes, despite the fact that the Obama campaign has said over and over again, that there would be no tax increases for those making under $250,000 and that most people would see their taxes go down. But the lie persists with McCain spokespeople.
McCain still insists that Obama has never refuted comments by John Lewis about the atmosphere at McCain rallies reminding him of the things we saw in the 60s, despite the fact that Obama (a) refuted them during the debate, and (b) issued a statement at the time Lewis made his comments that they were out of line.
Yet McCain continues to spread the lies and distortions.
The thing that is so frustrating for me is that I have been following things fairly closely since this all began but I listen to the factual inaccuracies (so much nicer than "lies") coming out of the mouths of McCain and his spokespersons and I hear the crowds roar their approval or disapproval and I wonder how many people realize that they are being told lies. How many people will vote for McCain because they believe Obama is a terrorist? Or that their taxes will go up? or that Obama is a Muslim.
The most poignant and eloquent part of Powell's statement this morning was his verbal description of a photo of a mother in a military cemetery, with her head on the grave stone of her son, who had died in Iraq. He said that on top of the marker was not a cross, it was not a Star of David, it was a crescent moon and a star, and the much-decorated soldier's name was a Middle Eastern name. He had been an American Muslim giving his life in the service of his country, the United States of America.
The racial slurs against Obama do not unite this country; they divide them between "us Christians" (and maybe let the Jews in there too--but I'm not certain about that) and "those Muslims." Comments like that say that Muslims are, by default, bad people and that if a young Muslim boy, born in the Bronx and raised his whole life in New York aspires to become President of the United States, he might as well forget it because he's a Muslim and therefore somehow unclean.
Powell's comments after Meet the Press said it all.
I should turn off the television, but I feel that I need to know what is going on, what is being said, so I'm in a position to refute what I can, should that be necessary. But some days it's a lot more frustrating than others.