Recently the name of the leading Democratic Presidential contender has wormed its way back into the news. Specifically we are being told that it is fear mongering to mention that Barack Hussein Obama’s middle name is ‘Hussein.’ Such mewling from the Democrats on this issue serves them well due to their every expanding, ‘poor me, I’m a victim’ party creed. Quite beyond that I want to briefly examine the issue of the name itself.
First keep in mind that the use of middle names among Presidents has a long and storied tradition. Just off the top of my head, without looking I can give you,
Warren Gamaliel Harding
John Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Clark Hoover
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman (The ‘S’ stood alone)
Dwight David Eisenhower
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (along with his brother Robert Francis)
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Richard Milhous Nixon
Leslie Lynch King (sometimes known as Gerald Rudolph Ford)
James Earl Carter
Ronald Wilson Reagan
George Herbert Walker Bush
William Jefferson Blythe Clinton
George Walker Bush
Some of these President’s were trademarked by their monograms, which of course included their middle initial (FDR, JFK, LBJ). The sum of the point is that the awareness and usage of middle names among those who are Presidential aspirants is not uncommon. So, given that reality why is it that Barack Hussein Obama is complaining that the usage of his middle name, by his opponents, is fear mongering?
The answer to that is twofold. First, Barak Hussein Obama, by complaining about this issue, morphs the issue from being about his Muslim origins into an issue about being victimized. Second, by complaining about this issue as fear mongering Barak Hussein Obama achieves the elimination of a story that potentially has real legs. What of Obama’s past? What kind of difference did it make growing up with Muslim Dads? Keep in mind here that the issue isn’t that Barak, or even his Dad’s were active Muslims. The issue here is (or at least should be) answering the question of the ways that the Islamic cultural matrix that Obama grew up in influenced him. The Americans listed above grew up in a culture largely defined by Christian categories. Some of them might have been unfaithful to those Christian categories but nobody can deny that those Christian categories influenced them. How did Muslim categories influence and shape Barak Hussein Obama?
This is also an issue because what Democrats are asking Americans to do, with the nomination of Barak Hussein Obama, is to elect somebody that only partially belongs to Ameri-euro culture. Take a look again at those names listed above. They are all Anglo Saxon Christian names and those men reflected, often times quite imperfectly, Anglo-ized Saxonized Christianized Culture. With the election of Barak Hussein Obama the case can be made that, at least symbolically speaking, America will have turned its back on its ethnic and cultural roots and will have officially embraced becoming a ‘World Nation’ as opposed to a Anglo-ized Saxon-ized Christianized nation where the oppressed of the world are welcome.
Many people who believe that nationality is bound up in abstract ideas that people of different cultures can abstractly embrace don’t find the above notion to be a problem. I think we are going to find out if they are correct. A look at how Nations around the world, where the kind of ethnic and cultural differences exist that we are insisting can make for a cohesive Nation, are pulling apart at the seams suggest that they are not.
Voting for Barak Hussein Obama may reveal if a radically polyglot nation can really be E pluribus unum.