Monday, March 5, 2012

Evolution: Barack, Barry, Baraka, Barack

Andrew Breitbart's legacy will likely be defined in the coming months ahead, as his on publishing a series of articles with the objective of properly vetting President Obama, something that Breitbart (along with many others) believed the media failed to do, prior to the 2008 Presidential Election.

The first piece is out. Written by Breitbart and entitled Barack's Love Song to Alinsky, it focuses on a play that premiered in Chicago way back in 1998. That play was The Love Song of Saul Alinsky, and Obama not only attended the premiere but was also a panelist for a post-performance discussion of Alinsky. The most interesting part of this expose is--to me--the poster advertising the play with the names of the panel on it. Here it is:


Look carefully at that list of names, lest you believe the Breitbart piece is wrong. It includes Sen. Baraka Obama. Not Barack, but Baraka.

As has been well documented, "Barack" is of Swahili origin and means "blessing" (a very nice way of naming a child, by the way). But that's an anglicized form, as is "Barak." The name on the poster--"Baraka"--is the correct form and is--originally--Hebrew in origin. But the point is, "Baraka" suggests a closer affinity for an African heritage, as would another form, "Barakah" (though this would be more Arabian, as opposed to African). And we must surmise that this was Obama's intent, when he began calling himself Baraka, instead of Barack.

But prior to that, Obama went by the name "Barry" while in school. This Daily Beast story details the apparent transition from "Barry" to "Barack." Note that there is no mention of "Baraka" anywhere in it. And that's kind of perplexing, unless we allow that this poster (and press release) was some sort of aberration, that the name "Baraka" was an error (unlikely, though perhaps possible) or we allow that "Baraka" is something that needs to be buried.

Looking back at official documents from Obama's 1996 campaign shows him using his given name of Barack, not Baraka (and let's be clear about one thing: that name was given in Hawaii, because that is where Obama was born). Thus, Baraka was adopted to cull support from the the far left, the radical, the socialists, and the communists in Chicago. It was, in some respects, an "underground" handle for Obama, demonstrating that he was truly down for the struggle, was merely playing "the man" as it were.

So what does all of this really mean, what does it signify, taken as whole? The evolution of Obama, via his name? My take: Obama's use of Barry as a nickname is quite understandable. I have known many people who--when younger and in school--preferred a nickname over their given name to avoid either mistakes in pronunciation or ridicule. It's just not a big deal. Obama's "reawakening," so to speak, and his return to using his given name of Barack is also understandable. And also not a big deal.

But what of this apparent interlude with the name Baraka? It strikes me first as an affectation employed to ingratiate himself with radical sects in Chicago and elsewhere. And like his membership in Trinity Church, it would also appear to have always been a temporary thing, good for as long as it worked, no more. The calculations in this regard were easy enough to make: changing one's name to be perceived as more of a radical is no way to pursue higher office, no way to entice support from mainstream voters.

Radicalism aside, this is cold, hard political opportunism. And really, that would be okay if that's all it was. The problem--with regard to Obama--is that this opportunism is obscuring a reality, in my opinion, as has become evident by Obama's actions and policies. Obama is Baraka. He's always been Baraka, since he entered politics, since he became a disciple of Alinsky. And maybe people will finally start waking up to this.

Cheers, all.

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