Saturday, March 1, 2008

By any name

I need reassurance that if the general election is McCain vs. Obama, that Obama will win.

I asked a friend for it yesterday and he said, "He will." He then went on to say that Clinton isn't electable because of too much political baggage, and that sexism remains stronger in this country than racism.

I heard Bill Cunningham on NPR the other day defending his use of Obama's middle name (it also turns out that Ann Coulter uses "B. Hussein Obama"when referring to him). Basically his defense was that Barack Hussein Obama is his name, and he'll use it, just as he uses John Sidney McCain Jr." What?

What I think is stupid about this is that I think people get to identify themselves. Obama doesn't use his middle name, just as I don't use my middle name, just as a couple people I know don't use their first names. There are occasions when we have to use our middle names, and maybe being sworn in as President is one of those occasions, but most of the time most of us get to use the name we choose.

I think the right to identify ourselves extends to all areas, like gender, sexual orientation, religion, and race. If someone insists on calling me by a name I've asked not to be called by, that makes that someone a jerk. Of course, some of those someones are not even worth responding to.

1 comment:

Saipan Writer said...

I'm still rooting for Hillary Clinton, but I think your friend has expressed my concerns and fears. I agree that sexism is stronger in America than racism. I fear that Hillary is less electable than Obama.

And I think Obama is imminently electable, despite having Hussein as his middle name. I'm not bothered by others calling him that.

When you live in America with a middle name of Hussein, you've got to be strong, just like a "boy named Sue." Obama's doing all of his names proud.

No one gets to appropriate a name. Osama is not Obama. Sadam Hussein is not Barak Hussein Obama. And yes, people who call you by a name you don't prefer are jerks, but then there are a lot of jerks in the world.

So while I wish Hillary would win the nomination, I'm not sure whether I would be more or less worried about a victory for Democrats in the presidential election.

Either way, J. Sydney McCain, Jr. is a man to avoid.