Robert Meyer
Alinski lurking in efforts to stereotype Trump supporters
By Robert Meyer
December 16, 2016

In the aftermath of the presidential election, there have been protests and riots in some major cities. The mainstream media swiftly and carefully pointed out that much of the vandalism and violence reported in news stories has actually been perpetrated by anarchists who infiltrated the demonstration. Apparently these were not acts of anger and frustration by young anti-Trump protesters, but rather the improprieties of a few dissidents that couldn't help but take advantage of the situation.

During President Obama's tenure, there has been knee-jerk innuendo suggesting that opposition to policies of his administration are evidence of tacit racism. For my part, I have always found this reaction to be a convenient, but dangerously problematic tactic for repelling legitimate disagreement.

It is convenient because it has been a successful gambit in shifting the conversation from the policies in question, to the character of the person making the complaint or criticism, thus always successfully diverting from the issue while attempting to ruin credibility.

But it is problematic as well. True racial equally, or the outworking of "colorblindness" in society, requires an equal assumption of the burden of responsibility as well as the benefits of privilege. If all criticism can be misconstrued as racism, then the political leaders with ethnic minority backgrounds are tempted never to use critiques as a catalyst for introspection, which leads to adjustments or shifts in policy positions. And so the beat goes on.

While it would be worse than remiss to deny the existence of pockets of racist individuals within the general population, it would be comparably ridiculous to assume that such individuals in aggregate, prove the existence of institutional racism. It should also be noted that according to my beliefs, racist attitudes are an imperfection of the individual human heart, and not exclusively a device of those having the social power to enact their misguided perspectives. In other words, prejudice can be a character foible of any human being, not just a "privileged" class. If prejudiced attitudes are an evil, falsely labeling someone as such is an equal slander.

Now we have an increase in reports of ostensibly racially charged post election incidents attributed to Trump supporters.

Community organizer, Saul Alinski has long been a darling of liberal activists. In the late 60's Hillary Clinton, herself, composed her senior thesis from Wellesley College on the topic of Saul Alinski's methods. The research allegedly included a personal interview with Alinski. Many liberal opponents I have encountered, in their argumentation, whether unwittingly or purposefully, have used the rules Alinski himself outlines in his book Rules For Radicals.

Alinsky biographer, Sanford D. Horwitt, in his book Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinski: His Life And Legacy relates an interesting anecdote revealing Alinski's tactics in action.
    " the spring of 1972, at Tulane University...students asked Alinsky to help plan a protest of a scheduled speech by George H. W. Bush, then U.S. representative to the United Nations – a speech likely to include a defense of the Nixon administration's Vietnam War policies. The students told Alinsky they were thinking about picketing or disrupting Bush's address. That's the wrong approach, he rejoined, not very creative – and besides causing a disruption might get them thrown out of school. He told them, instead, to go to hear the speech dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan, and whenever Bush said something in defense of the Vietnam War, they should cheer and wave placards reading, 'The KKK supports Bush.' And that is what they did, with very successful, attention-getting results."
Even the most naive observer would never assume these methods were exclusive to Alinski's era.

Though Donald Trump made numerous inflammatory statements during his campaign, I accepted this as the hyperbolic campaign bluster of a non-politician who has no lifelong experience with the protocols of political correctness. That is part of the reason his mouth didn't hurt him as much as it would have harmed conventional career politicians if they had made similarly outlandish comments. That, as well, was my justification for being able to eventually vote for a candidate as flamboyant as Trump in the general election. My critics wanted to know how I could be so sure that Trump should not be taken literally on everything he stated. My own response to them was that I didn't know how they could really believe Trump would actually do some of the outlandish things he promised.

Arrive at your own conclusions. But unless there are known culprits identified in these racially charged post election incidents, the media should be just as careful to distinguish between real intolerance and possibility of fabricated incidents to further the template that the typical Trump supporter by default is racist, misogynistic or ethnically discriminatory.

© Robert Meyer


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Robert Meyer

Robert Meyer is a hardy soul who hails from the Cheesehead country of the upper midwest... (more)


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