I'm damn far left. I feel that Obama has been letting us lefties down. But I'll be voting for him. Why is that? Is it because the alternatives are worse? While that's true, it isn't really the reason. Is it because he's a Democrat and Seth always sticks by his party? Ahahaha, don't make me laugh. I've voted third party before and I'll do it again. Is it because Obama's is a "Historic presidency" meaning he's our first African American president? While that is cool, and even more cool that he is our first "son of an immigrant" president, I care about results, not appearances.
No, the reason I'm going to vote for Obama is simple, selfish curiosity. I want to know the truth about him, one way or the other, and we just aren't going to get to find out unless we elect him again. Is he playing eleven dimensional chess? Is he playing it well? Has he really sold out to Wall Street? Who is Barack Obama, really? We won't know for sure unless we reelect him.
You know what the right says about him? He's a Secret Marxist, a radical, a wolf in sheep's clothing. Okay, well how come he doesn't appear to act like a radical then? The right has an answer for that, too, and I found it by accident when I did a Google search for Saul Alinsky's book Rules for Radicals. The top link is to a page of quotes on some crazy religious right website. The quotes are cherry picked to highlight Saul's policy of moral relativism, and "expose" Barack Obama (and also Hillary) as a secret disciple of that radical "neo Marxist," Saul Alinsky.
Saul wasn't a neo-Marxist. When asked during an interview whether he ever considered becoming a Communist party member, he replied:
"Not at any time. I've never joined any organization—not even the ones I've organized myself. I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it's Christianity or Marxism. One of the most important things in life is what Judge Learned Hand described as 'that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you're right.' If you don't have that, if you think you've got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide."
But Saul was a community organizer in Chicago. He taught poor and oppressed people all across America how to take and hold political power. His book, Rules for Radicals, written in 1972 near the end of long life of successful organizing, can best be summed up in his own words. In the first chapter's opening paragraph, Alinsky writes, "What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away."
When the right cherry picks quotes illustrating Saul's supposed moral relativism, they are taking those quotes from one chapter of one book. He asks whether the end justifies the means and says, that is a meaningless question. The real question is, "do these means justify this particular end?" He also notes that the haves are the uttermost of moral relativists. What they do is always justified and what we do never is.
This is just one chapter in Rules for Radicals, distinct from the rest of the book. But do you understand why the right likes to quote it in relation to Obama? Why, it proves he is a secret Marxist who is just pretending to be friendly to the status quo. He's lying to everyone! Saul Alinsky told him it was okay, the end justifies the means!
Well what if they are right? What if Barack Obama, a Chicago community organizer, is following the playbook of Saul Alinsky, America's greatest community organizer? A man who was born in and did much of his organizing in Chicago?
Read the book.
I'm not going to draw you a map, other people on the left and right already have. I'm telling you to read Rules for Radicals and draw your own conclusions. As for me, the only thing I will say is that unless you have a solid moral compass, empathy, and compassion for all mankind, Saul's is a dangerous path to walk. Once you start down that path, it's very easy to start fooling yourself and completely lose your way. Especially in the moral swamp of Washington.
So it could go either way, and I want to know the answer! Has Obama lost his way and been turned to the dark side by the allure of power and money? Is he still a Chicago community organizer at heart, playing power games and eleven dimensional chess at the highest levels with the end, real change for America, always firmly in mind? Unless we reelect him, we'll never know.
But we need to do more than that. In fact, I think the Republicans are going to reelect Obama for us with their ridiculous antics. The current clown parade doesn't stand a chance, no matter what happens to the economy. No, what we need to do is hand Obama the most progressive House we possibly can. I think that is the key.
Even if you don't read the book, think about this: the only way that people will accept real change is if they are absolutely fed up with the way things are now. If you could let things get more and more messed up just by letting the other side have its way, and look like the bigger man in the end when they screw things up worse, would you do that? Knowing that, in the end, by letting things get screwed up, and being the bigger man, you can lead the people in a better direction, would you say, "The end justifies the means, some temporary suffering and hurt feelings are necessary so that in the end, when the right drives the nation off the cliff, AGAIN, the people will listen when I say, 'this time, lets try something completely different'?"
It's a possibility. If we reelect Barack Obama and give him a progressive house, we can find out. Maybe, just maybe he is expecting that we on the far left will recognize what he is doing and play along. And that possibility, no matter how slim it might be, is enough for me. What if the right is right about Obama? I need to find out. So I'll be voting for him and more importantly, I'll be working to get him some progressive support in the House.
P.S. I'm terrified to hit publish, more so than when I published my damn life story or my essay on why I'm a socialist. I'm scared to even set foot in these waters. Because I'm going to have to police this diary and hide rate insults and I don't want to have to do that and piss people off any more than this diary is sure to piss some off on its own. Oh well, in for a dime, in for a dollar.