‘Out of one, many.” That was how Al Gore famously botched “E Pluribus Unum,” the motto chiseled on the great seal of the United States.
Barack Obama’s Latin may not be any better than Gore’s — he did have to admit being an English-only kinda guy this summer . . . after complaining that Americans embarrass him with their lack of language proficiency. Understand this, though: If we hear the Democrats’ standard-bearer saying, “Out of one, many,” it won’t be a mistranslation. It will be a succinct statement of his ideology. It’s the “fundamental change” he has in mind for America.
Obama professes a love for this country. One needn’t doubt his sincerity to grasp that what he loves is a vision of America, not America as she is. The object of his affection is not our Unum, the glorious inheritance we Many cherish through generations past, present, and (one prays) future. For The One, that One earns only disdain. Eroding it has been his life’s work.
Move through Obama’s career as a community organizer, his embrace of ACORN, his radical associations: the common denominator is a purpose to break down the Unum at its foundations, what he calls the “grass-roots.” For America, he plans an atom bomb. Or, to be precise, an atoms bomb: countless communities in cities and towns across the land, organized along the Marxist principles of Saul Alinsky into socialist enclaves. Each atom smothers the individual freedom and enterprise that have defined the American character, replacing them with welfare states that prize dysfunction and reward the rabble-rousers.
To be sure, there is an Unum that Obama sees. It is in his mind’s eye — clearer on the horizon now than when he began his project 23 years ago. It will arrive when the atoms reach critical mass and finally devour the hollowing carcass of our present society.
For Obama, that society is an ineradicably racist “white world.” He is more opaque than mentors like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, who mince no words in portraying America as an apartheid state. Still, as Hank De Zutter wrote in a fawning 1995 profile, Obama learned to see “integration was a one-way street, with blacks expected to assimilate into a white world that never gave ground.” One hears the echoes of Obama’s wife, Michelle, whose Princeton thesis decried the thought of “further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.”
THE STRATEGY What to do if one is convinced, against the weight of his Ivy League opportunities and spectacular success, that he is destined to be on the outside looking in? If you are Obama, you adopt a two-prong strategy. First, you build small, alternative realities that reject the Unum’s core values. Then, as those alternative realities — the communities you’ve organized — grow in number and sophistication, you coerce the unwilling to accept and live within the new reality, just as you believe the Unum has marginalized you.
For Obama and his allies, capitalist democracy is an abject failure, habituated to racism, relentless in its materialism. It is an ironic critique: The senator and his fellow travelers are driven by nothing if not a crass materialism: They see themselves entitled to society’s benefits without the burden of its toils. They are, moreover, such prisoners of their own racism — have you ever heard anyone else describe his own grandmother as “a typical white person”? — that race has become their unified field theory for all of life’s disparities. It is a stubborn theory, heedless of the fact that, in our free society, members of all races, ethnicities, and economic classes move up and down the ladder of opportunity by the yardstick of merit.
Obama will tolerate no such yardstick. He derides the very core of what makes American society exceptional: individual liberty. Freedom. “We have this strong bias toward individual action,” Obama ruefully told De Zutter — and note the crafty shift: his choice of the amorphous action instead of the value-laden freedom, lest the listener realize just what is at stake. “You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams, are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations.”
Of course, we already have collective institutions and organizations. They are the branches of a limited government, designed by our Constitution precisely to promote individual liberty and national security. They are the churches, synagogues, PTAs, neighborhood clubs, and other social organizations by which each citizen may freely set the balance between his personal fulfillment and his interaction with fellow citizens. They are the arts, the sports arenas, the charities, the congeries of fulfillment for those who know the personal is not the political. That is American democracy, our Unum.
So if not American democracy then . . . what? DeZutter, who interviewed his subject at length, explained that Obama’s strategy called “for organizing ordinary citizens into bottom-up democracies that create their own strategies, programs, and campaigns and that forge alliances with other disaffected Americans.” (Emphasis added.)
Like much of Obama’s vaporous rhetoric, it sounds harmless enough — even admirable. Until you look closely. It turns out that these “bottom-up democracies” are phony. They are not democracies at all. They are enclaves of the alienated, where the mob strangles the achiever. Indeed, when Ayers, Obama’s long-time “education-reform” ally, conjures his ideal “participatory democracy” — fueled by what he euphemistically calls “popular empowerment” and what Obama calls “participatory politics” — the “beacon to the world” he points to is Chavez’s socialist thugocracy in Venezuela. THE ORGANIZER’S BOTTOM-UP COMMUNITIES To begin with, Obama’s bottom-up democracies don’t serve the demos. They serve the tribe at the expense of the demos. Obama’s post-racial, post-partisanship is a pose. Back when he was more honest, when the brass ring was not this close, he made no bones about the fact that he was driven by a determination to “organize black folks.” His preoccupation was “black America.” He anguished over a “moral agenda” for “the African-American community,” one that harnessed the “energy” and “moral fervor of black folks” — stoked in pulpits of black separatists like Wright — into a “concrete program for change.”
And Obama’s actions spoke even louder than his words. He chose to knit himself into the fabric of Wright’s church, drinking deep its Marxist Black Liberation Theology and its stated mission to sustain “an African people, and remain ‘true to our native land,’ the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.” It was a bleak world, a defiant bottom-up community choosing to separate itself from the Unum. As Wright’s role model, James Hal Cone, put it: “If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. . . . Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy.”