Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bill Maher on President Obama, Saul Alinsky, and the Unhinged GOP

Bill Maher really exposes what I think is one of the biggest problems with the GOP, and which is reflected in the current GOP primary candidates' rhetoric: they have crafted an image of Obama that is so far removed from reality and so way out in stratosphere that to even perpetuate it indicates a kind of mental delusion.  Here's Maher exposing this as it relates to the linking of Obama with Saul Alinsky (a person, by the way, whom no one really seems to know, but whose name sounds enough like Stalin and Lenin and Russian Communists in general to whip up an unthinking, but delusionally "patriotic" Obama-hating mob:

The real irony here, for those who really are in the know, is that Saul Alinsky and his "Rules for Radicals" is quite influential in the grass roots activism of the Tea Party movement.   The "rules" that Alinsky teaches actually have been deployed quite effectively (and sometimes quite intentionally) by grass -roots conservative activists.  What conservatives tend to object to is not the fundamental recipe Alinsky developed for effecting social change, but that he taught them to poor people, racial minorities, and other marginalized groups cut out of power and on the edges of effective participation in our political system.  In a political system that claims to be of the people, by the people, and for the people irrespective of social class, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religious conviction, or racial/ethnic identity, one would think that any freedom-loving, grass roots advocacy conservative would celebrate anything that mobilizes Americans to find their voice, to speak up, and to challenge authority when it contravenes what they believe is in their best interests, as something essential to, worthy of, and, yes, exceptional in the American idea of democracy and individual sovereignty.

What I find to be revealing about the attempts to link Obama hatred with Alinsky is that what conservatives seem to project is a very elitist and exclusive understanding of American civic life in which only the "right" people should be organizing and participating in grass roots activism.  And if it's not the "right" people, by whom they mean "real" Americans such as Tea Partiers, wealthy businesses, and the like, exercising their voice and collective power through organizing, then it's both un-democratic and un-American.

Shame on conservatives who play this game and attempt to create such a narrative about Obama as if it were a bad thing when that is precisely the game that the current conservative anti-Establishment insurgency is engaged in itself.

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