Thursday, 28 August 2008

Is he one of us?

I had a long and important ‘phone chat with a good friend this evening. He is a sharp-minded, politically astute, and compassionate Episcopal Priest.

Within his own field - stewardship of the environment – he is very well known.

He is one of the Associate Priests at St. James’s in Cambridge. He is now semi-retired because of poor health.

I trust this man. I respect and admire him, together with his wife, his three children, and his former wife.

I was lamenting the state of affairs in which many are saying that Barack Obama cannot be elected as President because he is a Black American.

My friend suggested that Senator Obama’s skin colour is not the chief issue. Rather it is his name viz:

Barack Hussein Obama.

That good name raises a question in the minds of Americans. It is “is he one of us?”
“John Smith” is clearly one of us. So is “Margaret Thomas” or “Tony Brown”.

But - “Barack Hussein Obama”. Is this an “all-American name?”

“Of course so” I respond.

We recently elected a Senator called “Ben Knighthorse Campbell” as a Republican Senator from Colorado.

And Senator Daniel Inouye represented Hawaii in Washington DC for many years.

A Native American, and a Japanese American. Both were Senators.

But neither had a suspiciously Muslim middle name - Hussein.

No matter that Senator Obama is a Christian in good standing.

His unusual names, chiefly his middle name, “Hussein” may be the “nativist” reason why “good Christian and white Americans” will refuse to vote for him.

(Who will care about what he stands for since his middle name is Hussein?)

I fear that “slogans and slurs will prevail”

Senator Obama is a loyal American, and a Christian. But he has the "wrong" names.

But it does not bother me whether a Presidential candidate is Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Atheist, provided that candidate has progressive policies and cares for the poor.

(And I’d rather have a good Muslim President rather than the current “Christian” shit-head).


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