From my Sunday night VDARE column:
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."
This wisecrack evidently got under the skin of Senator Barack Obama. In Obama Suddenly Riled, [San Francisco Chronicle,
"Sen. Barack Obama ditched his normal languid cool today, punching back at Gov. Sarah Palin as he spoke with reporters in York, Pa, hotly defending his work as a community organizer… Obama's hackles were clearly raised by Palin's dismissal of his community organizing …"
The Obama message team then told us over and over about the unemployed steelworkers Obama had moved to
Palin's crack was funny. But it shows that, as I predicted in February, GOP nominee John McCain is choosing to fight the election with one hand tied behind his back. Even his VP candidate isn't allowed to ask why Obama wanted to be a "community organizer". Which "community" did this post-racial transcender of ethnic divisions want to organize?
As Obama wrote in his 1995 autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:
"In 1983, I decided to become a community organizer. … That’s what I’ll do, I’ll organize black folks."
The Obama campaign's recurrent “steelworker” shtick is supposed to make you think Obama moved to
Ultimately, he didn't help any steelworkers, black or white. The Southtown Star reported on August 24:
"And none of the laid-off steelworkers Obama talks about in stump speeches, the people he was brought to
So what is an Obama-style "community organizer?"
It means a radical racial activist who, in Tom Wolfe's immortal phrase, "mau-maus the flak catchers"—intimidates bureaucrats into giving your ethnicity a bigger slice of the pie. It means, more than anything else, that you organize political protests for more handouts from the taxpayers (even though dependence upon those handouts is one reason the community is so disorganized.)
It's kind of like being the neighborhood fence who encourages the local heroin addicts to steal hubcaps so they can shoot more smack.
The famous black University of Chicago sociologist William Julius Wilson published a book on four South Side of Chicago districts, There Goes the Neighborhood, which I reviewed here in February. A key finding of his study: poor, disorganized neighborhoods had no shortage of Obama-like paid organizers. For example, in the Little Village neighborhood, which is mostly Mexican illegal immigrants:
“There was a vast array of paid service providers in the neighborhood. … There was a school for at-risk youth, and clubs … for youth not particularly at risk.”
Wilson goes on to list some of the other taxpayer-supported programs: programs for pregnant women, for parents, for AIDS patients, for people who don’t yet have AIDS, for sick people, for the mentally ill, for gang-prevention, for seniors, for high school graduates, for high school dropouts, and for people who never went to high school and want to learn English so they can vote.
In contrast, Wilson found, Chicago neighborhoods that don't need all this taxpayer and foundation-funded help because they self-organize—with picnics, parades, church festivals, and rapid graffiti clean-up—largely do so in order to keep property values up…and outsiders of other races out. ...
Embarrassing fact: Obama didn't actually live in any of the communities he putatively organized. Instead, he has spent 23 years living in the sliver of the South Side that's so well organized by a rich institution that it has its own private police force. Obama has lived in
A friend wrote:
"You are missing an angle. Obama lives in
Ironically, Obama was a civil rights lawyer and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School…
By the way, James Taranto published a similarly-themed piece in the Wall Street Journal today.