To the editor:
(Recently) at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, a speaker named Bill Cunningham who apparently is a radio show host, repeatedly referred to candidate Barack Obama as Barack Hussein Obama. Of course, this is Mr. Obama’s full name. Did this speaker assume he could frighten the audience by calling attention to someone’s middle name as a sort of code word for Muslim? Was it the speaker’s inference, that an American should be feared as a candidate because he has a Muslim name? Did the speaker mean to suggest that an American should not be considered for public office whose faith is Islam? And did the speaker mean to imply that all people with the name Hussein have to be of the Muslim faith?
One would hope that almost every American is enlightened enough to be insulted by such attempted manipulation. Needless to say, there are millions of American citizens who are of the Muslim faith. And needless to say, Hussein is an honorable name held by thousands across the Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia and Pacific rim countries. If indeed such simple-headedness has an appeal, we are in trouble and the bunch that wanted to scare evenness and sense out of us and turn us against our own values through the 9/11 events, will have had a success. Did Mr. Cunningham assume there are Americans who are so uninformed that his words would influence them? It seems to me we should be very concerned about even the possibility that some would find such demagoguery of interest.