Ellison’s energy better applied to North Minneapolis than to Egypt

Something I Said
Dwight Hobbes

Ever the slick opportunist in crusader’s clothing, Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) waited until the tide in Egypt had fully turned and then, in characteristic grandstanding fashion, hopped on the bandwagon to call for you and me to stand in solidarity with the protesters in Cairo who, as of this writing, were on the verge of ousting President Hosni Mubarak.

Ellison used the issue of a proposed center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center to proselytize for his religion, which is Muslim. He later jumped all over Juan Williams with cheap shots in order to, again, stump for his faith. Now, the styling and profiling cloaked in a cloying device is perpetrated to polish his profile as a supposed man of the people.

In the course of a few days, after it was safe to speculate on Mubarak’s impending demise, Congressman Ellison out-poped the pope, as we used to say. With well-timed posturing that hit the mass media Feb. 3, he showed up President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who both had been pussyfooting around in the press with periodic statements that, at most, hinted it was time for Egypt’s ruler to realize that his number is up.

Ellison elbowed his way to a sweet spotlight with his comparative daring, declaring it is time to “stand with the blooming [people’s] movement in Egypt.” When it comes down to it, Ellison, Clinton and Obama are all missing the same boat.

Hillary Clinton gave an arrogantly presumptive address, telling the media, ”What’s going on today — recent events in Egypt and certainly in that broader region — remind us all how crucial it is to have top-notch leadership on the ground and how quickly the ground can shift under our feet.” Under just whose feet? The Egyptian people don’t seem to have a problem with anything shifting under their feet. Who in the hell is she to get on a high horse about how somebody else should run their country?

As for Obama, the best he could come up with was to say, “An orderly transition…must begin.” This, incidentally, is a man who Really with a capital “R” ought to mind his own backyard more, the mess that is America, and stick his nose in other countries’ business less.

And then you have Keith Ellison, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, pushing for change in Egypt. Pushing — let’s speak plainly — to influence what that change will be.

North Minneapolis Minnesotans, a strong, unsung cornerstone of the foundation that launched Ellison to political stardom, has problems they need him focused on a hell of a lot more than they need to join him in minding someone else’s business over in Egypt. Gangland’s insidious destruction of communities, holding one’s very humanity as well as physical safety hostage, steadily worsens.

Doing something about that, though, doesn’t jump up and down on a soapbox about being Muslim. It sure doesn’t get national headlines.

Keith Ellison can be called a great many things. Stupid is not one of them. He is a shark who sized up the political waters with razor-sharp insight and a world of acumen. Ellison ran for office — and sure seemed to be the real thing — as a humanitarian. He turned out to be, surprise, a politician.

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to dhobbes@spokesman-recorder.com.