Commentary by Julie: I read the following Facebook Note written by my friend, writer, political activist and author of the book, “The Fear of Being Challenged,” now available in e-book, paperbook and hardback), and his personal analogy versus the difficulties President Obama now faces is spot on. Bryian wrote,
“I would like to begin this with a story. There is this nice, older lady who lived in my general vicinity, and I am friends with two of her children—her son and her daughter. Both of them liked to read my writings and discuss my talking points about life. Her son had a strong, religious background, and he liked to discuss religion with me on occasion, and her daughter was a teacher, and she liked to discuss the world with me. At the time, I lived in a not-so-great part of town, while they lived in a not-so-bad part of town. I would go over to visit them quite often. Their mother was very nice to me, and sometimes she would talk with us.”
“Everything was going okay, until a proverbial “Changing-of-the-Guard” moment happened. By fluke or by design, I found myself moving into their neighborhood, and one would assume that such an event would mean a definite, more balanced, visitation policy would be in order, but not necessarily. In fact, it actually marked what I would call a “Beginning-of-the-end” turning point in our relationship, because it would never be again what it had been prior to my moving into their neighborhood.”
“For example, I had been to this woman’s house numerous times to see her son and her daughter, but neither of them ever stepped inside of the new place where I was now living, despite the close proximity. Her son had been over and stood in the yard with me a couple of times, but he would not come in, and her daughter was even worse. She came by, and she also stood in the yard. When I invited her in, she declined the offer and never returned.”
“Now even though I had my suspicions about all of this, I had nothing concrete to base it on. I inadvertently encountered their mother one day at a local store, and it was there that the concrete inadvertently found me. Before I could utter a simple word, she said to me: “I’m sorry Bryian, but your liberal views are just too much for me. You’re a nice person and all, but you were just getting a little too close for my comfort. Now I don’t mind you moving over here in our area. I’m not a racist. You know that, but I couldn’t allow you to liberally influence my daughter with your views. I’ve got her steered in a certain direction, and I don’t want you trying to change it. She liked you a little too much in my book, so I banned her from talking to you. We are a Christian family, and God did not intend for Blacks and Whites to pro-create. That’s why he put so many boundaries between the two races. I understand why you and your people would like to tear down such boundaries, but I believe those boundaries are there for a reason, so stay away from my daughter Bryian!”
“The concrete truth is what it is. There was never a problem when I was just an outsider drifting through on my way back to my subpar, stereotypical origins of a lesser status of suitability, but now that I have moved into a different location that would directly affect her consciousness; the sustainability of the biased comfort zones of her self-propelling, self-fulfilling prophecy was now breeched; causing me to go through a social metamorphosis from a respectable friend to an indoctrinary, boogie man. I hadn’t changed. My views hadn’t changed, but the perception of my relevance and my potential had changed, and that was more than enough, which is a microcosm of everything that’s happening in our world today.”
Commentary by Julie: I was always a liberal. As a kid, champion of the underdog; in college, the free feminist spirit who embraced sexual freedom and made no bones about it; and one of the few white women, in the 70’s, to date both a black men and numerous Hispanic men. It wasn’t in vogue then — in fact, having grown up in a very diverse community, I was shocked at how benighted the views on inter-racial dating were, particularly at University of Illinois. My supposedly progressive friends urged me to draw the line at Hispanics; dating black men was too radical even for them. For much of the year that I dated exclusively Hispanic men, I was fondly referred to as the “white spic.” And as for the Hispanic and black friends of the men I dated . . . well, I didn’t fare much better with them.
“Whether it’s the current attempts to bludgeon the unions in Wisconsin, the images of the poor who were left behind during Hurricane Katrina, this all-of-a-sudden concern over the debt, or the disingenuous efforts to defund health care, the overwhelming, yet underlying, theme to all of this is the ultimate discomfort at the potential of the poor/middle-class/working-class/ethnic/overall non-rich to have a legitimate voice and a legitimate chance to nudge the comfort zones of the status quo, or the severely underfunded, undereducated drones who vote against their own interests on behalf of it.”
“During the Reagan administration and the Bush Sr. administration, I just don’t remember this all-out assault on the poor/working/middle-class. Now, I know that Reagan and Bush Sr. offered minimal, if any, help to the poor, but I do not recall this blatant mean-spiritedness against ANY notion of helping the poor like what we are witnessing today. Even the most recent Bush administration didn’t have this vicious swirl of the perfect, bigoted, elitist, social, economic storm brewing around it. Even when you go back to the big “Welfare Reform” legislation of the Clinton administration and the Newt Gingrich era, you still don’t see anything near the amount of toxicity that we have been afforded the luxury of wading through today. From my recollection, it always seemed as if the recent, previous administrations understood and accepted the fact that social programs and working–class initiatives were just a part of the American, political landscape. You didn’t hear President Reagan or either of the President Bush’s compare the kind of work that people like Jon Bon Jovi, George Soros, community organizers and unions do to Socialism, Marxism or Communism. You’d have to go back to the civil rights era to hear those kind of accusations unjustly tossed around, and I find that very suspicious!”
Commentary by Julie: This “blatant mean-spiritedness” isn’t a page out of the Republican playbook. This isn’t even a page out of the ultra-conservative playbook. What we’re seeing now is a page straight out of the Christian Coalition, Moral Majority, Jim Jones, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, David Koresh, Westboro Baptist Church playbook. Hatred and bigotry has now become in vogue; social compassion and a desire to help those less fortunate — something, as Bryian noted, most administrations in history recognized as necessary — has been taken completely off the table. But the Republicans have allowed this to happen; they’ve allowed their party to be hijacked by the fringe players, so they could win a few seats in the House and Senate. The inmates are clearly now running the asylum. Bryian notes:
“Think about it. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched and preached for the equal distribution and redistribution of American rights to the poor and the voiceless, and what current event sums up the realization of that plight any better than the election of President Obama, not necessarily his policies, but his election! Don’t let the Rethuglicans and the Tea bigots fool you. It’s not his policies that have pummeled their comfort zones. It’s his All-American dream/anti-American nightmare, depending on how much conservative tea you drink, electoral triumph that has single handedly managed to turn social programs into Socialism and organizations for the little guy into Communism!”
“Now, if I was ignorant enough to believe that I could see Russia from my backyard, I would probably blame Obama for all of this. I mean, it’s okay to chase the American dream by starting out at the bottom sweeping the floor at the family tavern, and then climbing your way up to be the Speaker of the House like John Boehner did. That is a beautiful possibility, but it’s just as unlikely as it is beautiful, because it is glaringly obvious that the John Boehner, American dream was not and is not designed for everyone, but thanks to the true, American, Democratic ideology and the character of the human spirit, every design can be redesigned by those daring enough to dream and brave enough to act! If you don’t believe that, just look around the world from Wisconsin to the Middle-East. And for the record, how is sweeping the floor at a bar more credible than being a community organizer?”
Commentary by Julie: I might add here that many black people who started out sweeping floors, ended up sweeping floors . . . not because of a lesser ability, less talent, or less skills, but because of less opportunity afforded them than, say, a John Boehner, simply by virtue of their race.
“It’s just like my encounter with my friend’s mother. As long as I remained within the limitations of my internments, I was not a threat, but as soon as I found a way to break on through to the other side, I went from a novelty act to Darth Vader, and the same thing has happened with President Obama’s election. Whether it’s the unions, Hispanic Americans, African-Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, White liberals, confused and afraid independents, young people or the overall non-rich, it all represents a new “Yes We Can” ideology that is now capable of producing many more future “Yes We Can” moments, and that could mean the election of another African-American, another minority, a woman, another community organizer, or something much scarier—an actual person from one of those community organizer communities. Remember, it’s the not the redistribution of wealth that scares the status quo. It’s the redistribution of the opportunities that comes along with it. Destroy the opportunities—preserve the status quo!”
Commentary by Julie: Though ridiculed for it, many on the right were quite content when Barack Obama was simply a community organizer — after all, his ability to meddle in their world remained limited. It was only after he was elevated to the status he now occupies in the world that the right decided community organizers were the devil . . . and that’s simply because one community organizer, a black man, dared to emerge from the impoverished communities where he tirelessly worked and occupied a place at the head table. And the message was clear: If he could do it, so could others.
“As for the Glenn Beck’s and the Bill O’Reilly’s of the world, who like to toss around the Socialism/Communism descriptors as a kind of bland, sweeping, Linus blanket to cover any and everything that is not the traditional status quo, allow me to state this to you guys unequivocally. When it comes to the redistribution of equality and opportunity, or the closest thing we have to it, I am a full-fledged Socialist! I believe that bringing the less fortunate up to the starting line, while dragging the entitled back to the starting line is just as Democratic as it is Socialistic, and if you don’t embrace such an ideology, then you are the true Communist.”
“Now, I actually agree with Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly when they make the point about how it’s counterproductive to waste precious resources on ineffective means, but I vehemently disagree with them on precisely which segments of our society should fall under that ineffective means category, as the limiting of the non-rich will almost certainly be hurled as a patriotic, quick fix. Most people in this country know that better, financial efficiency is needed, but sliding that burden onto the ever shrinking backs of the middle-class, the working poor, and the unemployed poor in some nauseating, over $250,000 a year, Steve Forbes/Bush tax cuts, nobility scam is unacceptably reprehensible, and I aim that squarely at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Quit while you’re ahead Scott. You’re starting to look and sound like a cross between Hosni Mubarak and Goldman Sacs!”
Author of the book “The Fear of Being Challenged: Democratically Independent, I Am the Realacrat.”
Commentary by Julie: When Beck and O’Reilly talk about wasting money on “ineffective means,” what they really mean is wasting money on unimportant individuals — unimportant in terms of power and wealth and passing muster with the white right. It’s the true Ayn Rand philosophy . . . some people matter, some people don’t. Ronald Reagan wouldn’t recognize his Party today; George Bush, Sr., didn’t behave this way; even George W. Bush passed the Prescription Drug Program, for Pete’s sake. Any moral center the right-wingers ever had has dissipated in a flood of naked bigotry, naked cruelty, and proud ignorance. Facts don’t matter; winning — which to them means bringing President Obama to his knees, crushed and beaten — is what matters. As Bryian said to me, “This is guerilla warfare.” The arrogance of the right will be its downfall; as demonstrated by Governor Walker, it’s just as dangerous to overplay a hand as to underplay it.
“The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.” — Leon Trotsky
On the right, there appears to be no end worth justifying.