Milwaukee is in flames. The cops shot an armed robbery suspect and, naturally, local blacks given to a tribal view of things decided to burn down gas stations, steal from stores, and target white people.
One might think Obama has moments of disquietude, reflecting on how this kind of throwback rioting-not seen on a large scale since LA in 1992–is a source of shame and failure for the first black President. But that would be incorrect. Barack was marketed by David Axelrod and others as a healer, a debonair mixed race intellectual who could heal the countries rifts because of his familiarity and sympathy with the concerns of both black and white Americans.
But he was no such thing.
He was, instead, a standard issue leftist from the black power school of thought, whose community organizing followed Saul Alinksy’s model of riling up poor minorities to demand more from the government and the “haves.” Further, Obama’s racial identity and allegiances all were in the black camp; he married a black woman, wrote a book about his African father, and, though technically mixed race, was abandoned by his mother and always harbored insecurity about being accused of “selling out” due to his sinecure gig in Hyde Park, his educational accomplishments, and his overall success.
Rioting is not a bug but a feature of leftist community organizing. Riots, like letter writing campaigns and other methods of community organizing, are designed to produce certain results. They demand attention. Race riots in particular fit into a broader narrative, and that narrative is one of black despair of white racism and the need for more programs to placate the rioters. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton routinely threaten a “long hot summer” if their preferred job programs and giveaways do not materialize. After the 1992 LA Riots we heard ad nauseum about how it was the product of “12 years of neglect.” And Obama, as a law professor and Illinois State Senator, spoke of the need for wealth redistribution and rewriting the traditional American balance of state and citizen. After Ferguson, Baltimore, and Jena, all he could do was tell white people they need to do a better job of listening.
The whole tone of the Obama presidency is an ironic one. We have endured the unlikely prospect of an anti-American radical hostile to the nation’s traditional values being in charge of our nation’s executive branch. Thus we see ourselves weakened abroad, our government’s reach expanding at home in unprecedented ways, and, in the “dialectic” mode so common to the left, we receive little credit for all of the progress that has already occurred by the left’s own standards, whether it is the end of slavery and Jim Crow, the numerous black successes in entertainment, sports, and business, or the fact that a majority-white nation elected a black president. Not only does that progress, such as it is, not count for very much, but the old sources of national pride–our conquest of a continent, lack of strong class consciousness, our “can do” spirit, our mastery of science and technology, our prowess on the battlefield, our strong collective sense of fair play and justice–count for very little.
Obama, judging by his remarks, only feels generally that it is his place to put “white America” in its place, asking for national conversations on race that end up being monologues, harping on the very small number of police crimes while changing the story regarding black crime to one of technology, i.e., “gun violence.”
Far from feeling failure, Obama no doubt feels triumphant. Where whites see pointless, nihilistic disorder in these riots, Obama sees an intefadah–the Arab word for the Palestinian uprising translated as “throwing off”–directed to the legacy of racist cops, an unfair economic system, and a nonviolent, consensus-oriented civil rights movement of yesteryear that appealed to traditional American notions of fair play.
Obama’s presidency is a remarkable success on its own terms. But like other leftist successes, it may be creating a backlash, symbolized in part by the Trump movement, which is the most racially self-conscious and anti-leftist political movement seen since the Wallace campaign at the height of the civil rights era.