Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

Posted on Monday, April 21st, 2008 at 6:54 pm. About News and Politics.

Misconceptions about Barack Obama

Rather than celebrating the diversity that Barack Obama’s very existence embodies, his critics (or rather, his opponents), are playing to people’s fears in an attempt to bring him down. I’ve seen examples of this recently:

1. In order to test a neurologic patient’s mental status, I will often ask about his familiarity with current events. In particular, right now, I will ask about the presidential race and the names of the candidates. When asking this question recently, one patient answered right away with “Hillary,” “McCain,” and “the other guy – I can see him, but I can’t think of his name.” His mother immediately jumped in with: “You know he’s a Muslim.” Trying to avoid a political discussion, I just pointed out that he is not a Muslim. “Yes, he most certainly is,” she assured me.

2. A patient I saw last week for delirium was presented with the same question about current events and the presidential candidates. Again, it was: “McCain,” “Hillary,” and this time, “Obama.” My attending neurologist asked, “What is McCain’s first name?” “John,” he answered. “Okay, and what is Hillary’s last name?” “Clinton,” he answered. “Right, and what about Obama’s first name?” The guy thought, and thought, and then said, “I’m not sure. I know what his middle name is, though.”

Regular people, even in “liberal” Washington state (although I will point out that neither lives in Seattle), commenting on Barack Obama’s rumored Islamic faith and more aware of his middle name (Hussein) than his first name. I can’t help but wonder – do his opponents even care that he has been a member of the United Church of Christ for decades? Perhaps when the footage of his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, were aired, he should have responded with: “But wait a minute – that can’t be my pastor. I’m supposed to be a Muslim, right?”

It just doesn’t even make sense.

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