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The Way of the Community Organizer



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As the campaign heats up, and the self-imposed restrictions of 2008 disappear, we will likely hear more about the once proud associations and friendships of Barack Obama that were all Trotskyized by the media ministries of truth during the unhinged summer of 2008.

In that regard, when the Pew poll recently revealed that the U.S. is more polarized than at any time in the last 25 years, it provided an answer to Rudy Giuliani’s rhetorical question in 2008 about what exactly a community organizer does. I think we now know the answer after four years of them/us divisiveness: In lieu of trying to find common solutions to shared problems in a fashion that suppresses innate differences, the community organizer seeks to find potential seams of friction and animosity, and then mine and exploit them for political gain– the ultimate aim being to forge together a near majority by piling faction upon faction to obtain compensatory damages for perceived grievances.

In 2008, Obama showed his hand with “typical white person,” the clingers speech, the “gun to the knife fight” and “get in their faces’” quips, the spread-the-wealth slip, and the suppression of his past radical associations and alliances. Since then we have seen everything from NFL football coaches appealing to voters on the basis of shared race; requests to Latinos to “punish our enemies”; a phony “war on women”; class envy and anger (“fat cat,” “corporate-jet owner” “pay your fair share,” now is not the time to profit, at some point you’ve made enough money, and on and on); targeted messages for greens and gays — as each hyphenated group forms a particular Obama action committee on the basis of its race, gender, or class, in hopes that in toto a bare majority emerges to extract concessions for the group.

#more#Obama’s brand of community organizing and dissection assumes some constants:

1) Each group must be defined as mostly a single-issue constituency (Latinos must focus on open borders rather than Hispanic unemployment rates; gay marriage is central to homosexuals, not worry over the deficit; African-Americans must remain gratified by Obama’s landmark achievement and not depressed by soaring black unemployment and inner-city economic stagnation; greens must see all of the above agendas not in conflict with their cap-and-trade or shutting down Keystone; women must put first loyalty to their gender and not worry over their husband’s current job or their sons’ employment, etc.).

2) There must always be a “them” — some sort of caricatured enemy that prevents “average folks” from getting what they deserve (e.g., George W. Bush, Big Oil, Wall Street, Republicans, etc.). We assume that the bogeyman is largely conservative, white, male, Christian, and heterosexual, but such precision is better left to the imagination.

3) Whipping up ethnic and racial solidarity is legitimate for pro-Obama groups, but would of course be racist if others tried the same polarizing tactic against him (e.g., African-Americans against Obama, European-Americans for Romney, Latinos for Romney, etc.).

4) Raising big Wall Street money, renouncing public campaign financing, setting records for presidential meet-and-greet fundraisers, etc. are all legitimate ways of using the system against itself, given the noble egalitarian ends that such tawdry means will further — and thus cannot be seen as either cynical selling out or abject hypocrisy. 

5) There will always be enough capitalist “thems” who, in their greed, unthinkingly keep making enough golden fleece to periodically shear for the far more deserving.



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