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June 30, 2008, 10:40 P.M.

My middle name is David. I wonder if, were I ever to run for President, my middle name would be a topic of discussion amongst my opponents, and a reason to question my suitability for the office. After all, David was the second King of the United Israel. He was and acclaimed warrior, a poet and a musician. David ruled over Judah between 1007 and 1000 BC and over Judah and Israel from 1000-967 BC. Dude was not perfect, but he was reputed to be a pretty righteous king. He was also, in case you hadnít noticed, a Jew.

Davidís real claim to fame is found in the accounts of a battle between David and Goliath, a Philistine, who was part of an army facing the Israelites Judah. Twice a day for forty days during the battle Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, comes out between the lines and challenges the Israelites to send out a champion of their own to decide the outcome of the battle in single combat. (What a great idea!)

King Saul and all the Israelites are afraid to accept the challenge because, apparently, Goliath is a pretty big guy rumored to be between 6í6Ē and 6í9Ē tall. David was present at the battle, not as a warrior, but bringing food for his older brothers who were soldiers. He is told that Saul (the Israelite King) has promised to reward any man who will defeat the Philistine champion. David declares that he is up to the challenge, and says he is not afraid (most likely a lie since David is not rumored to be stupid, and Goliath is by all accounts, really big and an accomplished warrior). King Saul reluctantly agrees to let David face the behemoth (presumably because the battle was at a stalemate and nobody else was stupid enough to do it) and offers the kid his armor, which David declines. In stead, the kid decides to face the giant with his sling five stones which he takes from a nearby brook.

David and Goliath confront each other, Goliath is fully armored and is accompanied by his shield-bearer. David show up with his staff, sling and stones. Words are exchanged, mutual curses are exchanged and eventually David hits Goliath with a stone from his sling. The big guy drops, well, like a stone, David grabs Goliath's sword and kills him. Then he and cuts off the guys head, takes his armor and takes the head to Jerusalem. The rest, as they say, is history. Pretty gruesome story, but, hey, those were violent times.

So then what does my middle name say about me? Does it suggest that, despite my Irish Catholic up bringing I am after all, secretly, a child of Israel, a Zionist and a radical hater of Islam? In case you are not following this yet, the name says nothing about me because, let's review, I didnít pick it. It was given to me before I was even conscious of my environment, let alone my politics.

Likewise, Barak Hussein Obama did not pick his name. To even think about judging him based on his name is not only stupid but it is bigoted and evil. In fact, Hussein bin Talal, King of Jordan, is an equally regal and historically significant figure with David or, say, George Washington.

According to Wikipedia, King Hussein was educated at Victoria College in Alexandria and at the Harrow School in England. He pursued further study at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. His first moment in history occurred On July 20, 1951, when then Prince Hussein traveled to Jerusalem to perform Friday Prayers with his grandfather, King Abdulla I. A Palestinian extremist, fearing the king might negotiate a peace with the newly-created state of Israel, opened fire on Abdullah and his grandson. Abdullah was killed, but the 15-year-old Hussein survived, and turned to pursue the gunman. The assailant turned his weapon on the young prince, who was saved when the bullet was deflected by a medal on his uniform given to him by his grandfather. The following year he ascended to the throne where he ruled as a moderating influence in the Middle East until his death.

Sounds to me like there are some pretty good reasons to be proud of the name Hussein, or David for that matter. You just have to think a little about it.


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