Monday, January 30, 2012

Who The Hell Is Saul Alinsky?

That side panel quote appears to be grossly misinformed.
We on the left just want to destroy America.  We're far too
lazy to do the rest of that shit.

Before you sit down with your popcorn to watch the next Republican debate, know this: you'll be hard-pressed to hear any facts being thrown around on that dais.   Although, to be fair, if you're watching a Republican debate, you probably aren't all that interested in facts.

But if you're one of those "in the middle" types or, far worse, someone without a backbone that bends to the whim of predictable political fear mongering, then you've probably heard Newt Gingrich compare President Obama to Saul Alinsky who, apparently, was an evil, dirty liberal.

At face value, that does sound quite frightening.  Saul?  The name alone invokes feelings of dread.  I think of Darth Maul from Star Wars.  Don't ask me why.  I just do.  Let me be me.

 This is why I admire words and their power.  If you compare someone like President Obama to, let's say, Hitler (as the right-wing is known to do), then you obviously have a lot of people shaking their heads.  Hitler is nothing like Obama, and vice-versa, and everyone with half a brain knows that.  But if you compare Obama to a shady character that most Americans don't know, while simultaneously attaching wonderfully dark adjectives to that shady character?  Most people will walk around spouting that drivel like a dumbass parrot without actually doing research.  

Case in point: the internet has exploded in the last couple of days with right-wing blogs damning Saul Alinsky and President Obama to Hell.  See that picture above?  It's absolute bunk - it's dog shit.  Rules for Radicals is the title of the book but it's really not that radical.  Some people never learned not to judge a book by its cover, I suppose.

"We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. 
We will see it when we believe it." -Saul Alinsky 

Here are some quick and telling facts about Saul Alinsky in an easy-to-read format (kind of):

---He was born in 1909 and died in 1972.

---He was a community organizer that focused on improving the conditions of poor communities, particularly the conditions of the African-American ghettos.  He started in Chicago, and later traveled to other states and major cities.

---Illinois governor, Adlai Stevenson said Alinsky's aims "most faithfully reflect our ideals of brotherhood, tolerance, charity, and the dignity of the individual."

---Was not a Communist, nor did he align himself with any political party.
---(From Wikipedia) "Alinsky's own words, from his 1946 "Reveille for Radicals", capture his perspective, his motivation, and his style of engagement:
  • A People's Organization is a conflict group, [and] this must be openly and fully recognized. Its sole reason in coming into being is to wage war against all evils which cause suffering and unhappiness. A People’s Organization is the banding together of large numbers of men and women to fight for those rights which insure a decent way of life. . . .
  • A People's Organization is dedicated to an eternal war. It is a war against poverty, misery, delinquency, disease, injustice, hopelessness, despair, and unhappiness. They are basically the same issues for which nations have gone to war in almost every generation. . . . War is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play. . . .
  • A People's Organization lives in a world of hard reality. It lives in the midst of smashing forces, dashing struggles, sweeping cross-currents, ripping passions, conflict, confusion, seeming chaos, the hot and the cold, the squalor and the drama, which people prosaically refer to as life and students describe as 'society'."
---(From Wikipedia) "Two months previously, his interview with Playboy related to death as follows:
PLAYBOY: Having accepted your own mortality, do you believe in any kind of afterlife?
ALINSKY: Sometimes it seems to me that the question people should ask is not "Is there life after death?" but "Is there life after birth?" I don't know whether there's anything after this or not. I haven't seen the evidence one way or the other and I don't think anybody else has either. But I do know that man's obsession with the question comes out of his stubborn refusal to face up to his own mortality. Let's say that if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.
ALINSKY: Hell would be heaven for me. All my life I've been with the have-nots. Over here, if you're a have-not, you're short of dough. If you're a have-not in hell, you're short of virtue. Once I get into hell, I'll start organizing the have-nots over there.
PLAYBOY: Why them?
ALINSKY: They're my kind of people."

Is this making sense yet?  Saul Alinsky wasn't a bad man.  And it really isn't an insult when Gingrich and the right compare President Obama to Alinsky.  It's only the adjectives they use to describe him that people should take issue with.

I try not to make the broad judgment that all Republicans are racist.  It's simply not true.  Gingrich, however, has a long history of saying incredibly racist things and standing by them in the face of rightful inquiry.  So his hatred for Alinsky (a Jewish man that helped the poor, no matter their skin color) and President Obama (a black man) kind of makes sense to me. 

So go ahead, right-wing.  Keep comparing President Obama to Saul Alinsky.  I'm sure he'd take it as a compliment.  I know I would.  Just be careful about how you describe the man.  None of you really need another fictitious boogeyman for you to be afraid of.

Sources cited:
"Saul Alinsky." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2012. Web. 30 Jan 2012. 

Things to check out if facts are your thing:
Addicting Info 
Real Talk Clip (Skip the first two minutes)

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