Monday, October 20, 2008

Joe the Plumber versus Kareem Khan

If the Republicans are making a hero out of Joe the Plumber and even trying to draft him for office, I say Democrats should rally around Kareem Khan.

Kareem Khan is the Arab-American soldier whom Colin Powell lionized in his endorsement of Obama. Powell wanted to make the point that it's detestable that "Arab" should be a slur in this country. He used Kareem Khan to illustrate the point: Kareem, of Muslim faith and a native of New Jersey, was 14 years old on 2001, enlisted in the army to fight for America and was killed in Baqubah, Iraq on 2007.

Joe the Plumber, meanwhile, doesn't have a plumbers license, owes back taxes, and wants to rail against Obama's tax policy even though he would get a cut, not an increase, under Obama's plan.

So let's review:

Joe the Plumber: selfish, misinformed, tax laggard.

Kareem Khan: selfless, courageous, patriotic, Islamic.

Is this the difference in qualities between supporters that Republicans would have us make? It seems so. And if Republicans want to use Joe the Plumber as a symbolic stand-in for the average McCain supporter, then I think Kareem Khan serves as a perfectly valid symbol for the hope, inclusiveness, and courage offered by Obama.

I'd rather have a beer with a Kareem Khan over Joe the Plumber any day.

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