September 24, 2008

Bullies and Cowards

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your division. That you come out of your isolation. That you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual; uninvolved, uninformed.
--Michelle Obama, February, UCLA

I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.
--Barack Obama, Sept. 17, Elko, Nevada

Don't Tread On Me.
--Rattlesnake Motto

by Jerome du Bois

The first two citations above certainly differ from the third one, and they reveal the basic assumption these two people carry about human nature --namely, that people are not ends in themselves, but instruments to be used for the ends of those in power. They have plans for us. If our plans don't coincide with their plans, then too bad for us.

This isn't rhetoric. As four posts on this page of the Volokh Conspiracy show, Barack Obama has proposed the formation of more than a dozen "Corps" for mandatory, involuntary community service, by everyone from middle-school students to retired adults. Jim Lindgren writes at the end of the last post:

Note the tone of these proposals: none of this false modesty about proposing these new agencies and Corps to Congress and working for their passage. His Plan simply declares: “Barack Obama will create” this; “Barack Obama will create” that.

The arrogance of these two knows no bounds. How dare Michelle Obama assume that our lives as usual are uninformed and uninvolved? Who says we're not pushing ourselves to be better, by ourselves, without their paternalistic bullying? By what means will Barack Obama "never allow" certain behavior? By what right does he "demand"? By what authority does he "require"?

And what does he mean by "get in their face"? I'll tell what it doesn't mean: rational discourse. He's talking about browbeating, bullying, threats and intimidation. He's talking about getting his way by any means necessary. We've had his people come by our house already, but we won't answer the door when they knock; I don't mind argument, but there's no reasoning with a gansta video brought to life.

Since Michelle Obama brought up cynicism, let's go there.

Consider the man running Obama's campaign. His name is David Axelrod, who has been given the nickname "Astroturf," because he has a long history of deceitful, false-grassroots publicity campaigns. This is the man who will probably be Obama's Chief of Staff if he's elected President; a man who has no problem lying to and manipulating others to achieve his ends. This is the man who is joined at the hip to Barack Obama, and who also has a history with Michelle Obama, when he tried to get poor black people away from the doors of her Chicago hospital to make room for the high-dollar patients. She knows the kind of man he is. How's that for informed, Mrs. Obama?

Stanley Kurtz and Steven Diamond have been informing us about another social bully, Bill Ayers. Both have been patiently teasing out a long-term relationship that the Obama people have been frantically trying to keep out of the public eye. Diamond's characterization of Ayers as an authoritarian leftist is made clear in Kurtz's piece in the WSJ:

Mr. Ayers is the founder of the "small schools" movement (heavily funded by CAC [Chicago Annenberg Challenge]), in which individual schools built around specific political themes push students to "confront issues of inequity, war, and violence." He believes teacher education programs should serve as "sites of resistance" to an oppressive system. (His teacher-training programs were also CAC funded.) The point, says Mr. Ayers in his "Teaching Toward Freedom," is to "teach against oppression," against America's history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.

Someone should teach Mr. Ayers that "forcing social transformation" is oppression.

The other side of bullying is cowardice. When you call these people out, when you refuse to be tread on, they go running. The Daily Kos must have to employ a full-time flunky to flush diaries down their memory hole when the truth comes knocking. The latest concerns the astroturfing engineered --all by himself!-- by PR man and Obama advocate Ethan S. Winner. Bill Ayers put up a cartoon (!) on his website where he says he doesn't "necessarily" advocate violent resistance, and when it received too much attention, he took it down. Another social bully and Ayers buddy, Mike Klonsky, used to be an education adviser to Obama, until too many people found out about his authoritarian agenda and Maoist history. Then he was disappeared from the Obama campaign website.

Bullies are cowards, and cowards are bullies. And anyone who paternalistically exhibits contempt toward the intelligence and individuality of ordinary Americans deserves nothing but contempt themselves.

[See the sidebar "Election 2008" for more political postings.]

Posted by Jerome at September 24, 2008 02:56 PM | TrackBack