I saw it as another step toward Powell's personal and political redemption.
I see Powell as a reluctant pawn in the neocon run-up to the Iraq war. His United Nations testimony, in which he asserted that Iraq unquestionably possessed weapons of mass destruction, despite evidence to the contrary, prompted me to immediately lose the huge amount of respect I once had for General Powell. It was clear that he was lying for his boss, George W. Bush. He sold his soul for a cabinet seat. And that probably destroyed his credibility to run for president or vice president as many of us had hoped for back in the day.
But, since then, Powell seems to be trying to redeem himself. While some may call it too little, too late, I don't set a statute of limitations on one's conscience.
Sadly for all of us, they were right.
Since then, Powell has admitted that he was pressured into misleading the U.N. on Iraq. Furthermore, he has opposed the mistreatment of prisoners at Gitmo and has in additional ways stood up to the Bush administration's cowboy-style foreign policy. When he said these things in the White House, he was ignored and worked around. But now hopefully he's being heard by the rest of us.
These things suggest to me that Colin Powell is basically a decent person who was led astray by the neocons. While his playing along is not admirable, it's understandable. We're all human. We rely on the stability of our jobs. And so we are (subconsciously or otherwise) sometimes too quick to give our employers the benefit of the doubt.
So I stick by my theory of redemption. It's another step towards allowing General Powell to atone for his sins and start to sleep well at night.
After all, at least Powell now has the strength to stand up for a healthier agenda -- the change that the Obama campaign promises us. With his endorsement, Powell symbolizes that, for starters, a vote for Obama is a vote against the neocon agenda that led to the end of the unwitting Powell's political career as well as the end of American credibility in the world.
And that seems to confirm my theory that Powell is marching down the path of redemption.
But others, apparently, see it differently, in a couple of ways.
The first, a short, graying man in a flannel shirt and faded jeans, alleged that it was a "Negro thing". Powell supported Obama, he believed, because both were African-American.
Just as I was contemplating how shallow and narrow-minded that view seemed to be, the other guy opened his mouth. This was the taller man, in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. He disagreed with his friend regarding Powell's motive. This guy saw Powell's endorsement as an act of revenge. "He didn't have the guts to stick with Bush," he said. "Now he's taking it out on the whole Republican party." This, the man said, gives him even more reason to vote for McCain.