Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images for Meet The Press
Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell (ret.) speaks during a taping of Meet the Press at NBC Oct. 19, 2008 in Washington, DC. Secretary Powell spoke about his endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
The Bridge to Literacy: No Child—or Adult—Left Behind
It was a very busy week for our listeners and they had a lot to say, starting with former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama on NBC's Meet the Press. In Sunday's broadcast Powell also criticized leaders of his own Republican Party, particularly for spreading false information about Obama .
Powell said: "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.
General Powell went on to say that while he acknowledged the history making aspect of the Obama candidacy, race was not the main reason for endorsing Obama. Some conservative pundits didn't buy that, including our guest, conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, who said he believes Powell did in fact back Obama out of racial loyalty. But a number of our listeners took issue with Williams, including Marques:
"It amazes me that white folks and black folks alike have voted for white candidates for years, but the minute a black man has a chance at the nation's highest office, and other blacks vote for him, it's suddenly only about race. In the end, the reality is that race is never really a factor until it becomes a disadvantage for white folks, which is a rarity in itself."
The segment on adult illiteracy drew some comment. Guest John Corcoran hid the fact that he couldn't read past a second-grade level for 50 years. But today at 70, he's writing books. That encouraged Reuben, who writes:
"I find a kinship with this man! It's a bold statement to say 'I can't read!' And that is exactly what I have been dying to say for years."
Reuben adds that his struggle to read isn't as severe as John Corcoran's but has affected his career advancement.
There was also buzz about the program's coverage of the controversy over ACORN, the community organization that is being accused by conservative and republican groups of trying to influence the election by generating bogus voter registration forms. Hamad cut right to the chase:
Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill! Is the state not charged with verifying voter registration cards anyway?
After our Mocha Moms conversation about how this year's historic presidential campaign is giving them the opportunity to talk about the ugly language of racism, we asked our listeners what they were saying to their kids about race. Tracy got back to us. She has a 7-year-old daughter:
"My daughter and I have had several conversations about race, gender and the historical significance of this election. In the beginning I was very apprehensive but I came to realize that she doesn't come to these conversations with the same baggage that I do. My husband and I have been very detailed in why we are voting for Obama. My daughter and I have talked about why some people might not vote for him. I have learned a lot and I think that she has too.
Thanks to all of our listeners
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