Dedicated Obama supporters are adopting “Hussein” as an informal middle name in attempts to defuse the ridiculous negative energy around Barack Obama’s middle name:
“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Jeff Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on dailykos.com.
…“My name is such a vanilla, white-girl American name,” said Ashley Holmes of Indianapolis, who changed her name online “to show how little meaning ‘Hussein’ really has.” The movement is hardly a mass one, and it has taken place mostly online.
…In interviews, several Obama supporters said they dreamed up the idea on their own, with no input from the campaign and little knowledge that others shared their thought. Some said they were inspired by movies, including “Spartacus,” the 1960 epic about a Roman slave whose peers protect him by calling out “I am Spartacus!” to Roman soldiers, and “In and Out,” a 1997 comedy about a gay high school teacher whose students protest his firing by proclaiming that they are all gay as well.
…Some Obama supporters say they were moved to action because of what their own friends, neighbors and relatives were saying about their candidate. Mark Elrod, a political science professor at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., is organizing students and friends to declare their Husseinhood on Facebook on Aug. 4, Mr. Obama’s birthday.
Incidentally, Hussein is an Arabic name “from the Semitic word hasan, meaning ‘good’ or ‘handsome.’ Husayn is the diminutive, affectionate form.”