"Did you know Barack Obama is a Muslim!" my Republican friend reveals to me with a whisper-like voice.
"Really?" I feign surprise.
"Oh yes. His middle name is Hussein," my Republican friend replies with force, almost as if he played a high scoring trump card.
"And so what if he is a Muslim? Would it matter?" I ask.
"Well you know, Muslims want to annihilate Americans. All Muslims are extremists. They hate us!"
I hear this all the time. It's like a dirty little secret to them. And they delight in spreading the nasty myth.
But to me it is wicked and mean-spirited. It's downright dirty pool. It's despicable and disgusting.
So there I was this morning - a weekend bachelor, sipping my coffee and reading the Sunday New York Times. I spotted it on page A13, "HELLO. My name is HUSSEIN"! I just knew where this was going. I grew excited. Before I started to read, I thought, "Blog material", and headed for my computer, with the Times in tow.
Jodi Kantor's article caught my eye - the title read "Making a Political Statement by Adopting Their Candidate's Middle Name". Kantor writes:
Emily Hussein Nordling, her entry now reads.
With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.
Gillian and I took the same step in March, where at our 16th Senatorial District Democratic Conference, the entire Obama delegation of Precinct 1233 wore name tags with Hussein as the middle name. Our actions were reported the following day in the Sunday edition of the Dallas Morning News.
We felt great. People noticed and wanted to take our pictures.
And now, New York Times Sunday readers around the world are noticing. People do care and are fighting back.
I still have the badge and plan to wear it on the plane tomorrow to Sacramento. I'll wear it with pride.
Pierre Hussein Cutler
The Sacramento Executive