A House Divided – Part 1 of 3


We’ve heard some pundits call Obama “Divisive.”  Why would they think so?   Well, let’s start with a  statement reportedly given  to Ryan Lizza of the New Republic, by Mike Kruglik, an early Obama mentor

“He [Obama] was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation….”   

O.k., but what does that have to do with divisiveness?

Saul Alinsky – author of Rules for Radicals and father of the school of Community Organizing practiced by Barack Obama – described the Agitator’s job as

“…first to bring folks to the ‘realization’ that they are indeed miserable, that their misery is the fault of unresponsive governments or greedy corporations, then help them to bond together to demand what they deserve.”

And what better way to evoke misery and divisiveness than by resurrecting  a historical tragedy that has long since passed its proper burial date.  As the Reichstag fire proved in 1933 Germany, creating a common enemy is a potent tool for consolidating political support and power – and is never intended to benefit the people whose lives will most likely be shattered by its effect.  Today’s common enemy is White?  Black?  Latin?  Police? How do you think President Obama answers that question?

Do you Remember when Obama said  that  the Cambridge Police Department acted stupidly and then followed that comment by saying

“…what I think we know separate and apart from this incident (Cambridge Police) is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.  That’s just a fact.”  

A  fact?  And the credible source is…

While visiting Ferguson, MO during the Michael Brown protests, with riots, looting  and for the innocents – fear – filling the hours of darkness, Attorney General Eric Holder took advantage of the opportunity to address an audience of local college students regarding his own alleged experience with police officers.  According to an L.A. Times article posted August 20, 2014, Holder told students:

“I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man. I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over…. ‘Let me search your car.’ … Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff….” 

As police officers and members of the National Guard were putting their lives on the line to protect people and property – while cars and buildings were burning – while looters were gutting businesses that others spent their lives building – was this really the time and place for Mr. Holder to be giving this type of speech – to this kind of audience?  And, if someone died, or had their business destroyed because of that speech, who would hold him accountable?  Would people call for his indictment, or demand he be fired?  Probably not, because his actions would have merely set things in motion for another citizen/police confrontation and perhaps another shooting, indictment, riot – but nothing that would attach to Holder or to others who gain power and notoriety by fanning the flames of racism.

I had an experience similar to Mr. Holder’s – mine in Louisiana while serving in the U.S. Navy in the 60’s.  I was not speeding, but I was reminded that I was in a city that operated under French law and he [the officer] could put me in the jail and throw away the key – nobody would ever find me.  Perhaps, a little scarier than searching my trunk.  Like Holder, I was stopped by a white police officer.  Unlike Holder though, I happen to be white.

You may also remember when Obama  said that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon.  Then, on Dec. 5, 2014, the President gave an interview to Jeff Johnson of the Black Entertainment Network, in which he further personalized the events in Ferguson and around the Country.

“When they described their own personal experiences of having been stopped for no reason, or having generated suspicion because they were in a community that supposedly they didn’t belong, my mind went back to what it was like for me when I was 17, 18, 20…”

He went on to say “It used to be, folks would say, “Well, maybe blacks are exaggerating, maybe some of these situations aren’t what they described.” What we’ve now seen on television, for everybody to see, gives us an opportunity, I think, to finally have the kind of conversation that’s been a long time coming.”(Emphasis added)

We should and must hold police officers to a very high standard and we should expect the best judgment, based on state-of-the-art psychological screening and the best training available.  Should we also hold politicians, judges and attorneys responsible?  Do teachers, social workers and parents also bear  responsibility for what ultimately explodes on our streets?  Should we also assign just a touch of responsibility to the criminals  themselves and to others whose behavior, while not criminal,  initiates the scenes we so often see played out with negative consequences.  Those who have read President Obama’s two books are aware of his provocative behaviors as a young man – behaviors that could easily have resulted in unfortunate confrontations.  Does his mind also go back to his own behavior and the potential consequences when he “…was 17, 18, 20…”?

Police officers are the uniformed representatives of government.  When police officers abuse their powers, or exercise poor judgment, citizens begin to distrust their government.  But, it also works in reverse.  When government is ineffective, corrupt, or abusive, the frustration and distrust of citizens is likely to find voice on the streets and in their attitudes and conduct towards police.  When President Obama and others talk about the need to improve relationships between police and the communities they serve, they should first also look to the actions of government and the relationship of those actions to the prosperity, freedom and satisfaction of the citizens they too are sworn to serve.

Recently, Mrs. Obama gave the commencement speech for the 2015 graduating class of Tuskegee University.  She warned the young graduates about the world they would soon face, saying in part:

To Be Continued…

Comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s