I was never a big fan of my middle name -- "Charles." I always thought that it sounded too stuffy. "Charles" -- the only Charles I knew of was the Prince. People would always say, "Oh, Charles, like Prince Charles."
But dealing with references to the Prince of Wales? A lot easier than having your middle name give people license to compare you to Saddam Hussein.
Barack Hussein Obama could curse his parents right about now; I would if I were in his shoes. "Mom, I'm going to run for president one day. Do you think you could give me the middle name John?" But instead, as we have so often seen with Senator Obama, he embraces his identity and he wears his name proudly.
The right wing of the Republican Party, however, does not look upon Hussein so kindly. They hurl the name around as an epithet.
They want the country -- well, not the entire country, just the bigots -- to hear that name and think "Muslim," and then they want them to take the leap from "Muslim" to "terrorist."
For the right-wing, Barack Obama's middle name is "You will die if you vote for this man," as in Barack You Will Die If You Vote For This Man Obama.
I am often asked, "Is Barack Obama Muslim?" I've also been told that he's Muslim, and that he's a plant here by the Muslims to kill Americans. Kind of like in The Manchurian Candidate. Perhaps, at his next rally, his opponents can wave the Queen of Diamonds and we can see if Barack Hussein Obama goes into a deep trance and tries to off Candy Crowley.
Barack Obama is not Muslim, but we who support him and speak out on his behalf should not need to explain that fact. The people who ask that question need to take a long look in the mirror.
Right-wing bloggers and talk show hosts who emphasize the "Hussein" complain when someone says, "Cut it out." They say, "What's the big deal? I'm just stating his name." But of course their goal is not to mention his name, their goal is to make you think he's not one of you. He's different. He's, at the very least, weird. At the very most, he's going to blow up a building.
I am proud that we may have a President Barack Hussein Obama. I embrace it. On the world stage, I can't think of a better message to send than one that exhibits the tolerance that we are supposed to have for people of all different faiths.
Now I actually feel bad for not embracing my full name. Mathew Charles Littman. There, I said it. Call me "Chuck," it's okay.