Mon, July 22

Column: Don't call him Barack; call him Barry X

Don't judge a book by its cover, unless of course that book is the Qu'ran. Then, according to some radicals in this country, desecrate it. I say put the religious text in hotels with the Torah and the Book of Mormon, all in one happy drawer.

Unfortunately, most of the people who would desecrate a religion's text have the same attitude concerning people's first, middle and last names. On the one hand, the Qu'ran belongs to the Muslims where as the specific person's name people are speaking of is a Christian. That name is Barrack Hussein Obama, Jr.

Or should I say America's next Commander in Chief?

The other day I overheard a woman say she was going to take Ann Coulter's route and vote for Senator Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, she said if Senator Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, she would vote for Senator John McCain because "Americans aren't ready to accept a leader with a Middle Eastern name."

Whew. I'm steaming just thinking about this.

Americans aren't ready to accept a leader with a Middle Eastern name? Hmmm.

Maybe Obama would be a better candidate, a better President of the United States, if he changed his name and put people at ease. What should we call him?

Maybe if he changed his name to "Cassius Clay" he'd have less criticism directed his way. Oh, wait ... Cassius Clay is legendary boxer Muhammad Ali's birth name - a true distinguished American citizen and Muslim.

Well, maybe if he changed his name to "Malcolm Little," which to a Caucasian man might sound black and ordinary. Oh, darn ... that was El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz's name, otherwise known as Malcolm X - another prominent man in history and an American Black Muslim.

How about Tupac Amaru Shakur, the late poet and rapper. Nope - he was Muslim too.

Let's call him "Ishmael."

First thing's first. Can't we as a country step beyond the name-calling and run decent campaigns, and elections, focused on the issues? This form of ridicule and mud slinging is void of anything substantial and the inclusion of judging a candidate based on their given name is even more embarrassing.

Honestly, who in their right mind thinks one man's name defines them as a human being. If this were true, singer and activist Bob Geldof's daughters Peaches Honeyblossom and Pixie Frou-Frou would be an agriculturalist and a fairy, respectively. Paris Hilton might actually be seen as a competent heiress to a billion dollar hotel franchise instead of a tabloid's dream.

Secondly, Barack Hussein Obama is a name passed on to the esteemed gentleman from his father who was born in Kenya. Those of you who are beginning to find an explanation - one a proud man such as Obama need not give - will note that Kenya is in Africa.

Seems people are forgetting how Africans and Arabs assimilated centuries ago, kind of like ... oh ... us and every other county and ethnicity in the world. But nothing can be judged by a name. My name is Nathan Hansen, but it certainly doesn't mean I'm a Bible-toting Nordic skier. You'd assume so with a name like that. President George W. Bush would assume some authority and competence, but I have yet to see any and probably won't.

Tick-tock-tick-tock, George.

So what if Obama were Muslim? He's not, but who cares if he were? Being Muslim wouldn't make him less qualified to run the United States of America. More importantly, it wouldn't make him less a citizen, especially when our country was founded on principles stated in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Does it not say, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Simple, it says "no law respecting an establishment of religion."

I suppose Congress "shall make no law," but it says nothing that people should respect the law. I'll leave that to the Declaration of Independence which states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Interesting how it fails to identify a specific religion with the nondescript term "their Creator." If it said "God" or "Jesus Christ," then perhaps being Islamic is a debate, but since it doesn't ... even Huckabee is safe to run again. And I thought the country got over the whole religious thing once Kennedy took office.

So, no Hillary, not "Shame on you, Barack." Instead, "Shame on you, America." The truth of the matter is, we are better than that. If our country was really this ignorant we would never have advanced to be the super power we are today. The State of Arizona wouldn't have a female of Italian descent as governor. There'd probably be no senator by the name of McCain, and never would there have been a mayor by the name of Giuliani.

Remember people, it wasn't too long ago when our country denied anyone of foreign descent a decent job. Italians - no way. Irish - not a chance. Native Americans - we'll take that land.

We've gone pass this, right? Or have we?

Last week, before a McCain rally in Ohio, conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham fired up the Republican's campaign by attacking Obama. He shared with the audience a "dream" he had the night prior about Obama's presidency, then sarcastically added how the Illinois state senator would "bring peace on earth."

During Cunningham's ridiculous rant, he repeated Obama's name ... Barack Hussein Obama, Barack Hussein Obama, Barack Hussein Obama as if to connect him to Al Queda subliminally. Basic stuff.

After the rally, McCain made sure to apologize for Cunningham's behavior, which Cunningham later accused McCain of thinking he was in some "special club" by not bowing before the almighty conservatives. Cunningham, the hypocrite, neglected to realize he criticized McCain for not acknowledging his own special club - the "conservatives."

And here lies the problem. American politics is too much like Homecoming Week at high school. More so, CBS's Survivor with all the false truces and bonds. Let's quit the childish antics and pretentious white collar gang war.

People need to quit making decisions based on whether they are; "Republican," "Democrat," "conservative," or "liberal," and start thinking for themselves. People need to avoid making decisions on policy before they've heard the issues. People should base decisions on the candidate's campaign and character, even if their name is Judas Stalin, Charles Manson or Jane Fonda.

So just what will Barack do? It doesn't matter, come next year he'll answer nicely to "Mr. President."