Tag Archives: youth of america

I Am Hussein

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.”

Some of the larger related Facebook groups, if Hussein solidarity sounds appealing to you:Hussein: A New Spelling of My Name
My new middle name is Hussein!
middle names are not political issues.

NYTimes: Obama Supporters Take His Middle Name as Their Own
Salon: Obama Should Be Proud to Be Named Hussein

The Obamas’ "Closed-Fist High Five"

In case you missed it, the Obamas are the freshest couple ever to run for the White House. Before his big victory speech last night in St. Paul, Barack shared a classy fist-bump with Michelle in what’s “perhaps the most high-profile pound of all time”.

What could the other contending couples have on this? A John and Cindy McCain salute? A Hillary and Bill Eskimo kiss?

Prof. Haddad on Obama, New Gen. Politics

Government and East Asian Studies Professor Mary Alice Haddad discusses the significance of Barack Obama’s candidacy in the Hartford Courant, suggesting a generational shift in American politics similar to the one that Japan has been going through in the past decade:

A new generation is coming to power in American politics. Its only member among the current set of contenders, Barack Obama, might not win this particular election, but we will see more and more leaders like him in the years to come.

November 2008 will be the first national election in which a majority of voters will have received all of their schooling after the 1965 Civil Rights Act. These Americans are not free of racial stereotypes, but those stereotypes are not as central to their worldviews as they were for previous generations… Separate-but-equal might still be practiced in some places, but, for the first time this year, a majority of voting Americans will not have experienced it as part of a national ideology.

Full article: New Generation Begins Rise to Leadership

NYTimes Essay Contest Entries

Last summer the New York Times held a “What’s the Matter With College” essay contest in response to an essay by historian Rick Perlstein about the decline of campus activism in the past decades. I don’t know how we missed this, but three Wes students’ essays were posted on the website:

Vanessa Kurzweil ’07: Commonplace? Or a Common Space?

Toni Latimer ’09
: Decline of the Teenage Wasteland

Katie Boyce-Jacino ’10
: We the Students

Congrats on being conscious of the challenges facing today’s apathetic youth! Clearly these three are not among them.

[EDIT] The Argus wrote about this in October, they win.

Don’t Blame Me — I Voted on ‘Hot or Not’

Most of us at Wesleyan place ourselves somewhere vaguely on the liberal end of the political spectrum. But there are those who find our motivation somewhat lacking in terms of like, actively complaining about things in a way that might actually change them. Here is an open letter from today’s youth in the New York Times to liberals of yore, which you might want to paraphrase to your parents and ideologically pure elders who probably came of age in headier times that encouraged a little more political activity than watching the Daily Show and maybe taking Intro Sociology:

Dear Old Liberals,
Hi, it’s me, your collective child. It’s an election year and once again you’re going to make me feel bad for not “doing enough.” You’re going to tell me about how you protested in the 1960’s and how the movement meant something to young people back then. And the thing is we do care, our generation, we really do. It’s just that we got a Wii for Christmas and we absolutely have to beat “Super Mario Galaxy” before we do anything else… [continue reading]