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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wade Rathke Runs Rings Around His Opponents

To most in the conservative media, Wade Rathke is nothing more than a caricature. Words like criminal, Marxist, radical and extremist are most often used to describe him. To most in the conservative media Wade Rathke is a caricature and that's the way they like him. He's part of a radical cabal that wants to take over America and remake it.

In reality, Wade Rathke is a complicated figure. He's an individual of unique brilliance and skills. He can't be boxed in and pigeonholed. Furthermore, he's smarter and more savvy than almost all, if not simply all, his opponents. He knows media much better than them. As such, their mocking, ridicule and caricatures are merely used by Rathke as tools for his own purpose.

If Wade Rathke is a radical, a Marxist, or any other extremist, he's certainly not saying so. I know this because I asked him. His answer reveals not only how he views himself but how his opponents totally mischaracterize him. Rathke is beholden to only one ideology, community organizing. He's an organizer first, second, third and fourth. In answering questions about ideology and philosophy, Rathke constantly came back to pragmatism. He didn't offer an opinion on single payer health care. He said that one world government was "impractical". When asked to give a policy proposal to help the poor and middle class, Rathke suggested that we upgrade technology and make the entitlement process more streamlined.

Rathke is currently the head of Community Organizations International. The two big initiatives currently under way at COI are an initiative to combat predatory lending practices in the process of remittance (when folks send money back to their home country) and also preparing India for the inevitable entry of WalMart into their country. That is simply NOT the behavior of a Marxist, an extremist or a radical. That's because boiling Rathke down to such simple identifications misses the point.

Ever since America found out that the now current president once was a community organizer, it has been a source of ridicule and condescending fascination for folks on the right. Sean Hannity found it the source of an endless amount of condescending mockery. Yet, there's almost no conservative that has yet figured out community organizing. That's every bit more ironic given that the greatest force on the right, the Tea Parties, are a text book marvel in community organizing. I've been often told that no war or religion was ever started without a brilliant community organizer.

In every way, Wade Rathke lives by the virtues of community organizing. Because his opponents have no idea what that means, they don't understand that their mockery, caricature and ridicule more often than not wind up helping him. Community organizing is entirely a non ideological endeavor. You view a given reality and figure out how to best organize around that reality. I know this because that's exactly what Wade Rathke told me. The most important thing that everyone needs to understand about Wade Rathke is that he is uniquely pleasant and charming. Those are traits that everyone would like to have. Shrill and abrasive win you no friends. Pleasance and charm create movements.

Wade Rathke is a real three dimensional person. He's not a caricature. Community organizing will always be a face to face and on the ground endeavor. It will always require a maximum of human contact. So, after his opponents finish ridiculing, mocking, and caricaturing him, Wade Rathke is given the opportunity to charm all those he meets. Make no mistake, more of than not, he'll charm them.

We all remember how Sarah Palin was mocked. The more she was mocked, the more her fans and supporters got behind her. Well, on the charm and charisma scale, Sarah Palin is small time compared to Wade Rathke. So, what do you think Wade Rathke can do with an unlimited amount of ridicule directed at him?

Conservative media have never helped one person get the medical treatment they need, keep their home, make sure their landlord doesn't keep them out of their apartment, or make sure their bank doesn't take advantage of them with fees. Wade Rathke has helped millions do all of these things.

No one was more ridiculed, mocked, and caricatured than Jesus. Now, I'm not comparing Wade Rathke to Jesus. Wade Rathke doesn't compare himself to Jesus either, though, at times, I wonder just how close he sees himself to the almighty. Still, when you're about to be thrown out of your home and Wade Rathke saves you from that, Wade Rathke is your saviour. When he's mocked, there's little difference between that mockery and that of Jesus.

There are two simple principles of community organizing: organize around a broad simple concept and fire people up. If heartless and cruel people are mocking your leader, you've just accomplished both. I believe Wade Rathke relishes conservative ideologues mocking and ridiculing him because that gives him organizing opportunities.

In Jujitsu, you use your opponents strengths against them. A similar concept is in place here. When you mock Wade Rathke, that gives him a tool to organize. ACORN turned attacks against them into an art. Until recently, it almost always worked. Almost every attack could be boiled down to the right wing trying to take down ACORN because it was "the most successful community organization that lobbies on behalf of the poor and middle class". It's no accident that these counter attacks started to be less effective right after Rathke left.

Rathke refers to the ideological conservative media as the "clamoring herd". Most in that sphere of the media universe have only as their goal to bring down Rathke and ACORN. Yet, their obsessive attacks are only used by Rathke to his benefit. The conservative media preaches to the converted. Mockery, ridicule, and caricatures convert no one that isn't already sympathetic. Rathke preaches to the covertible. He uses attacks against him to rally those that are convertible to his cause. Wade Rathke runs rings around his opponents.


Anonymous said...

Stalin was a community organizer too.

mike volpe said...

So were Hitler and MLK. I don't see your point besides implicitly acknowledging that you don't really understand who Wade Rathke is.