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Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's just a name, get over it.

As I read the news yesterday, it was astonishing that one of the major stories plastered across several headlines was that Obama planned to use his middle name in the inauguration oath. After seeing this, I immediately began reading reactions to the story from various readers, and frankly I was appalled at a majority of the reactions. As I suspected this revelation was just enough bait to bring the unenlightened nit wits out of the holes they dwell in long enough to spew a little hate and intolerance among us.

One of the comments that tickled me the most was this:
"Barack Hussein Obama....President of the United States.
What a disgraceful day for this great country. Let's just hope we can survive the Obama administration. "

This prompted me to go off on a mental rant about how intolerant America can be and it's lack of acceptance of anything different. The thoughts were racing so fast, that I new I had to make an entry about it.

Referring back to the comment above. I am amazed that anyone would think that because this man, who is named after his Kenyan father, is any less competent or decent because he has a name that differs from what main stream "white" America deems normal. Hussein happens to be a popular name in 2/3 of the civilized world, held by clergy, doctors, lawyers and politicians- most of good moral character. Barack Obama sharing the name of Saddam Hussein does not make him any more evil than a person named Chuck Bundy sharing the name of the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. It's just a name and of no reflection on the man. *I'm sure the same people who are disgraced by Barak's name are all too happy to embrace the ridiculous monikers of Apple, Zuma, and Denim- given to some of celebrities offspring*

On another note...
As a person who's ancestors were brought here on slave ships and not considered full human beings, denied the ability to vote, and morally, physically and emotionally degraded for hundreds of years; my perspective of this country is slightly different than the average Caucasian American. I can honestly say it is a real life love/hate relationship. America is, hands down, the best place to live in the world and I am very fortunate to have been raised here. I consider myself extremely lucky to be an American citizen. With that said, I also see the many flaws of this great nation from the past and the present. America has spent the majority of its history hating one group or another, which is ironic because this is supposed to be the land of the free. Free to be who you are, believe want you want and say how feel. But it appears that in this country you are only free to believe in Christianity, practice heterosexual relationships, never criticize your country and contain names like Bill, John, Sarah and Jane. To think, some people find that questioning one's country and constructively critiquing areas in which it could be improved to be unpatriotic. But these are the staple principles of a functioning democracy. Isn't that what we are fighting for in Iraq, so they can be free to question there leaders and live how they please?

I think back on the whole Jeremiah Wright controversy during the campaign. Yes, his comments were shocking and to some UN-American, but what I think is that although his words were not the most tactful, the ideas are some that are shared by many minorities. This country has only legally befriended African-Americans for 44 years. My father is older than how long it has been legally enforced to treat blacks equally in this country. So, how can anyone not empathize with the fact that some people (African-Americans, Arab Americans) might be leery of the intentions of the US and not be all that sold on the idea that America has changed, that America may be reaping what it has sowed( 9/11) for so many years ( a Christian adage). And now it's the Arabs turn. They are now treated as blacks once were. Since 9/11, it has been culturally accepted to consider anyone of Muslim faith or Middle Eastern decent to be a terrorist [sympathizer]. They are shunned from society, targets of bigotry, and not worth treating with human decency.

We are supposed to be a tolerant place for the huddled masses. We are supposed to be the melting pot of the world, who accepts everyone. There are no native people to this land except the American Indians. Everyone has immigrated from somewhere, so really no one has more claim to this country than anyone else- exception again given to the native Americans. Everyone should be able to practice there own religions or not believe in any form of religion without ridicule (not all Muslims are bad, not all Muslims are dangerous and atheists are not the devil). Everyone should be able to love who they choose- gay or straight. Marriage should be allowed by anyone who desires to do so. Not everyone believes in God or worships the same and no one should be banned from a civil act like marriage because it offends someone elses' religious beliefs. (Gays getting married is not going to dampen or take away any evangelicals faith or harm there religious practices in any way.) No one race or gender is superior to another and everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, creed and now, regardless of your name, should be afforded the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

No one way is right or wrong, and America is not supposed to be a place where "us versus them" mentalities are accepted. And I just have to add this. It's usually the least educated and less informed individuals who have never left America, that claim that our way is the only way- and it's these morons that make it bad for the rest of us- and give well intentioned, tolerant Americans a bad name. So, with that said, I just ask that anyone who thinks that Obama using his middle name is offensive to this country, or believes any other nonsensical racist, separatist or bigoted thoughts, please stop and ask yourself these few questions:

1) Did you have any choice in your name? Probably not, you were given your name and in no way does the name you were given shape who you are.

2) Since when did being Muslim or having a Muslim name become a crime in this country or make you less American with something to be ashamed of?

3) Yes, some Muslims smashed plans into the World Trade Center, but does that make all Muslims bad? If so, then I should still be mad at all white people for the few white men that hung my great great grandfather because he was black, but that's not how it works, right?

4) What makes you think that old, white, Christian men named George, John, or William are the only ones capable of being President of the United States. Why not a woman, a Jewish person, a Hispanic, or...dare I say it... a Muslim?

5) Don't you think if we stopped hating so many others, maybe they would stop hating us so much?

6) Doesn't all that hate make you tired?

Just a few thought from my corner of the world.

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