…I would be Leonard Hussein Edgerly instead of Leonard Stuart Edgerly. Stuart Edgerly, my father’s father, was an English professor at MIT, a man of quiet strength, musical talent, and unshakable moral values. Unfortunately, he did very young and I did not have the benefit of knowing him past my boyhood. I am proud to carry his name as my middle name.
Barack Obama’s father’s father’s name was Hussein. He lived in Kenya. I don’t know much about him, but I can imagine a grandfather who is as important to Obama as mine is to me. That’s why it struck me as obscene when a Chicago radio quack I won’t even name chanted this middle name as if it were a curse. Bravo to John McCain for distancing himself from that cockroach. And bravo to Momocrats for getting this “Call Me Hussein” meme going on the Internet.
This, to me, is a good example of how Obama is transforming American politics, largely through the Internet. In the old days, meaning the last presidential campaign, the Hussein attack would lie there like a turd by the road, smelling and affecting the discourse, raising doubt about a candidate. These days, such an attack generates a spontaneous, creative, motivated response from a multitude of individual voices, linking their experience to the candidate in positive ways.
My wife and I are in Raton, New Mexico, this morning, on our way to Amarillo, Texas, where we’ll go through a volunteer training at noon and then head out to the Panhandle to knock on doors, make calls, hold signs, and whatever else might help make Tuesday an historic night. The name of the game is change, and it feels great to be a part of it.