I wonder from time to time about the role his faith tradition has played in the vulgar, false attacks on him that have persisted over the years.
While for now the attacks often seem better explained as an opportunistic association seeking to target Barack Obama, for me the Jewish question lurks in the background. After all they predate Obama’s rise by decades.
Alinsky was a mouthy, irreverent, master of the sound bite before sound bites were the order of the day. His ability to outwit even the brightest of adversaries like conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr on coast to coast television clearly did not sit well with his detractors.
Alinsky’s values were grounded in the prophetic tradition of Hebrew Scripture. His identification with outsiders, the cut out, the shut out, the weak, the voiceless, the vulnerable are entirely consistent with the relentless prophetic focus on widows, orphans, strangers and the economically destitute. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos.
His dialectical thought, attention to language and focus on teaching public skills is a hallmark of his lifelong passion for equipping the underdog for a seat at the table of decision making. The Prophets didn't shrink from challenging the ruling elites of their day and neither did Saul Alinsky.