By Patricia Wilson-Smith
Who wouldn’t want to give their child two names that have such beautiful meaning: Barack means “blessed” and Hussein means “good; small handsome one”?
John Campanelli, DailyKos.com
This week’s flap over the use of Senator Barack Hussein Obama’s middle name in the media is the subject of this week’s rant.
Earlier this week, a conservative talk show host (whose name I refuse to use here) kicked up a lot of dust by yelling Senator Obama’s full birth name over and over again during a tirade disguised as an introduction of Senator John McCain at a rally. This guy swaggered back and forth in front of the cameras like a man grateful for his fifteen minutes, showboating in front of an audience of about 7 people, and spewing some of the most racist crap I’ve ever heard on the national airwaves. His goal was to remind the American people that we are in danger of electing a man to our highest office that shares a name in common with a dead dictator. He also took it upon himself to spout the normal right-wing platitudes about how the Senator would handle the economy as President, and how un-safe the nation would be.
This would have all been pretty laughable if the news media hadn’t become so transfixed on this moron for days afterward. They loved it – they ate it up! This freak of nature was featured on every national news program there is for almost a week, and each time he took a new opportunity to display his hatefulness and blatant bigotry.
The irony is, I think his lunatic ramblings did serve a purpose. It both exposed the still deeply engrained racism that still exists with many in this country, and forced us all to deal with an issue that would have eventually reared it’s ugly head anyway – whether or not to use Senator Barack Obama’s full given name when referring to him, as we have done in the case of every other President in our nation’s history.
It took me only three seconds to figure this one out. After watching this race-baiter in action, I quickly realized that we should not only use his full name, we should all counter this idiot by collectively shouting it from the rooftops!
Barack Hussein Obama! Barack Hussein Obama! Barack Hussein Obama!I want it plastered on all of his campaign signs, and I want every political pundit at CNN, and every lusty news wench at Fox News to let it fall from their lips whenever they refer to him. Why? It’s simple – because we cannot as an electorate say that we support Senator Obama as the Democratic nominee for President unless we are willing to support him in his totality, and that includes his name.
If you think about it, this is an amazing opportunity – this is, in essence, America’s big final test. So many of our fellow citizens have been able to see past the efforts of those who would have stopped Senator Obama’s candidacy in its tracks because of his name AND his race. They’ve been able to see through the veiled efforts to paint him as ‘the black candidate’, and as an inexperienced demagogue. Surely we can also live with the fact that there is more than a real likelihood that our next President coincidentally shares a name with a man who by all accounts was a murderous monster!
It’s time to face facts. Senator Obama is, as of this writing, on the brink of staging the greatest political upset in modern history, and all we have to do America is pass this one final test – all we have to do, is learn to love and respect the name, like we love and respect the man. I know I can do it, and I also know why.
My 11-year old son, David, is named after his father, David, who walked out on me when I was four months pregnant on our wedding anniversary and never looked back. At the time, I named my son David because I sincerely believed that one day I’d find a way to put my family back together. When I realized there was no hope, I begin to rue the day I’d decided to name my gorgeous, beautiful son after his father. Those early days were truly miserable.
But guess what happened? Can you guess? That’s right! My love for my son soon faded any memory of the pain his father caused me, and eventually his father became someone who just happened to be named after my son, rather than the evil owner of the name I once prayed I could forget.
Saddaam Hussein was an evil, murderous tyrrant. Jeffrey Dahmer ate people, but I don’t go running in the other direction when I meet someone named Jeffrey, no more than I hide my wallet and the weapons in the house if someone named George happens to stop by. It’s time to face it – there is a very real possibility that Senator Barack Hussein Obama will be the next President of the United States, and when that happens, those who are uncomfortable with his ancestry won’t be able to avoid his middle name any more than they can avoid his black skin. Those of us who have until now turned a blind eye to the uncomfortable realities of his birth name won’t be able to avoid it either, so it’s time to face it head on, and take it for what it is – God’s way of showing us that there can be beauty and honor even in the things that remind us so much of what’s wrong in the world, like my son’s father’s name once did. It’s an opportunity for us to tell ourselves as proud Americans, and to tell the world that we really are the fair and just nation that we so deeply want to be, capable even of lifting to the highest heights a man with arguably one of the most infamous middle names ever.
Yes – this is our final test America. We have shown that we can all push past our prejudices to embrace the hope of a different America – our prejudices about the ability of a black man to win the White House, our prejudices about whether or not a country with such a racially peppered history could accept him as a candidate at all, and yes, our fears and biases over his rich ancestry that is so different than ours, and that is so evident by his name. A complete and total acceptance of Barack Hussein Obama is the only way we can truly embrace the change that his presidency will bring to our country, and the only way we can begin to shake the racist shackles of our nation’s troubled past.