By Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia
The modern art of a community organizer seems fairly simple.
The proverbial agitator identifies a particular aggrieved racial, ethnic, gender, or class group that believes equality of opportunity must guarantee equality of result.
Then he “organizes” the victims by claiming that their ostensible failure to obtain parity can only be due to systematic racism, sexism, and bias by the supposed callous establishment majority (usually emblemized as callous white, male, heterosexual Christians). Myth is useful (e.g., “hands up, don’t shoot” or “one in four women on campus suffer sexual assault”).
Next he mounts a shrill campaign to demand “fairness” and “equality” (demonstrations, demonization of public figures, boycotts, media campaigns, showing up outside the homes of supposed enemies of the people, getting “in their faces,” and metaphorically “taking a gun to a knife fight,” etc.).
Finally, he is willing to meet with authorities (such as the mayor, city council, various legislators, college president, police, etc.). Then the organizer subtly offers “solutions,” a euphemism for payoffs such as new laws, favorable executive orders, lucrative jobs for himself and friends, community block grants, diversity hires, some sort of reparations and set-asides, legal exemptions, new community programs, etc. Soon the organizer’s original radical demands metamorphosize from being shrill and costly to mainstream, doable and akin to cost-effective protection money. And then onto the next victim.
The community organizer himself usually ends up quite well off, in the manner of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s mini-mansion on the golf course, or Barack Obama’s book deals, spousal income, home and expansive yard (the latter thanks to Tony Rezko’s largess). The spectrum of community organizers ranges widely, from the buffoonish Al Sharpton to the suave Barack Obama of the 1990s. Univision’s activist Jorge Ramos is a telegenic community organizer of sorts, and he has parlayed his victim shtick into becoming an aristocrat with all the perks of the .0001% — and a multimillion-dollar salary. In good community-organizer fashion, Ramos does not send his children to schools with sizable enrollments of illegal aliens or live in the barrio analogous to those in Delano or Parlier.
Community organizing under President Obama has been applied to the country at large. Obama may have wrecked the Democratic Party (loss of the Senate, loss of the House, minority status in all the state legislatures and governorships, well below 50% approval rating of the president, etc.), which now is on the path to becoming openly neo-socialist. But at least he did community organize and thus divide the United States in rather radical ways.
Obama by intent has shattered the populace into dozens of fragments. He cannot put the country back together again, but he did glue enough shards together to reconstruct half of a Humpty Dumpty America, and thus a narrow majority in 2012.
Under Obama feminism has radically transmogrified. Unwise campus first-time hook-ups between veritable strangers, often fueled by alcohol and drug use, can rarely lead to post-coitus happy parties. That fact somehow has been community organized into a myth that one out of four campus women are sexually assaulted, as if the quad at Stanford University is ten times more rape-prone than East Palo Alto. Do women flee the Fresno State campus for the safer sexual climate of West Fresno?
“Equal pay for equal work” does not mean Hillary Clinton, to take one example, pays her male and female workers the same for the same work. Such jargon is aimed at supposed right-wing sexists who have once again ramped up a “war on women” and can only be stopped at the polls by lockstep voting of unified “Life of Julia”/Lena Dunham/Sandra Fluke young women. The country is in extremis as Joan of Arcs are set afire by envious hung-up, witch-burning old white guys. Exaggeration to the point of caricature is the new truth.
When Obama ran in 2008, he and Mrs. Clinton offered near-Biblical arguments against gay marriage. Obama’s erstwhile pieties would now be seen as homophobic and career-ending. Instead, gay marriage was repackaged into something analogous to the fight against Jim Crow. The issue, settled by one vote on the Supreme Court, was turned against traditionalists who were rendered into little more than the homophobic equivalents of Bull Connor. Obama in turn was given medieval exemption from his earlier obdurate opposition to gay marriage — and raised millions for his campaign and party from a rather small, privileged, and quite rich subset of the electorate.
In the same manner, Obama has used the wedge issue of illegal immigration to shatter the natural assimilationist tendencies of the Latino community, which can only be arrested by massive influxes, identity politics, ethnic chauvinism, and illegality.
The community-organizer-in-rehab Obama initially had run in 2008 against illegal immigration. He repeated the need to enforce federal law, later explaining on over twenty occasions the inability of his office to create new amnesties by fiat.
Not now. The use of the philologically accurate term “illegal immigration” is supposed proof of nativism and racism. Promotion of open borders and amnesty was considered key to ensuring 70% of the so-called Latino vote. Sanctuary cities, the freeing of illegal immigrant criminals from jails, “punish our enemies,” complete neglect of the tragic Kate Steinle shooting, and the nullification of all federal statutes relating to border security are no longer wild-eyed chaos. They have devolved into mainstream compassion–-juxtaposed to “anti-Latino” and “xenophobic” nativist conservatives. So effective has Obama’s community organizing been that Republicans are deemed troglodyte racists for simply wanting federal immigration laws on the books to be enforced in classically liberal fashion without regard to ethnicity or race.
Obama greatest effort at community dismemberment was taking fading black chauvinism (does anyone remember “it’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand”?) and reenergizing it into an oppositional racial bloc. “Moderate” 2008 candidate Obama for a brief period once talked to the black community about the need for self-help and social introspection (e.g., addressing inordinate illegitimacy, criminality, drug use, graduate rates, etc.), so much so that the fossilized and usurped organizer Rev. Jesse Jackson (who earlier in his career had vaulted to fame for briefly taking the same self-reflective tact) in July 2008 sputtered on an open mic that he wished to “cut [Obama’s] nuts off”.
The logical trajectory of the Obama-Eric Holder racial demagoguery was nearly historic bloc-voting by ostensibly angry black voters who both registered and turned out in record numbers. The Henry Louis Gates/beer summit farce may have been pathetic. Eric Holder seemed a transparent fool when he talked about “a nation of cowards” and “my people.” But that and more did work in the community-organizing sense.
No one quite thought that Obama himself would trump his campaign faux-pas statements like “typical white person” and “I can no more disown Rev. Wright than…” with editorializing in the midst of the George Zimmerman trial in patently racist fashion (“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”), or giving credence to the complete myth of Ferguson’s “hand up, don’t shoot” that begat “Black Lives Matter.” But he did and it also worked, at least in the short-term. After all, somehow street chanting and “Death to Cops” banners are now non-controversial; saying they are is proof you are racist.
When Quentin Tarantino — a frequent target of black activists for gratuitous n-word-laced screen violence — flies out to New York for atonement by ensuring he is heard calling the police murderers, then the nature of the new black/non-black antithesis is obvious. And when “white privilege” (tell that to the Appalachian mechanic or the long-haul Nebraska trucker) transmogrifies from specious university cant to mainstream network news lead-ins, then we have reentered the new version of the old racial politics: can racialist rhetoric energize enough minorities to turn out and vote en masse for Democratic leftists to offset record alienation of so-called Reagan Democratic working-class whites?
Are whites now to see themselves as sharing a new solidarity, in the tribal fashion of other minorities, given that in a state like California they are no longer a “majority”? In Obama Nation, where everyone must be hyphenated, or foremost a member of a particular tribe, or must seek solidarity through his superficial appearance — in unspoken antagonism to supposed enemies who are enemies by virtue of their own skin color — there will be a tribal reaction of its own. Indeed, one of the strangest spin-offs of the Obama era is to walk into a supermarket in a Latino-dominated rural town and see a rare white stranger suddenly unusually greet you, as if you had something in common, given that everyone else identifies by race and therefore apparently you must too. When I stop by the “Latino Market” or hear candidates greet with “Latinas and Latinos,” is “white-boy market” and “white guys and gals” far behind? Is that what Obama wanted?
There is no longer a divide between green and pragmatic voters. Instead, we have noble global warmists who want criminal penalties for climate-change “deniers.” The one-percenters are rapacious and greedy exploiters — unless they buy exemption by funding and promoting the proper progressive narratives. And so on.
Long after Barack Obama is gone and ensconced in warm-weather golf-course mansions, the country will remain divided. The them/us splits are the real Obama legacy that tops even his $20 trillion in debt, chronic zero interest rates, a wrecked Middle East, stagnant growth, a hemorrhaging medical system, and record labor non-participation rates.
A shattered Humpty Dumpty could not be put back together again. The question is not just whether America’s shards can be re-glued into a whole, but whether Obama and those who have profited from breaking apart the body politic even wish it ever to be whole again.