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Divide and rule – an old idea that never gets old

Alisa Presenti has a few thoughts on the Zimmerman case and the state of American politics

It had just occurred to me that the Zimmerman-Martin story highlights something interesting about where the American Left finds itself at this point in time. From the beginning it was clear to me, as well as to many others, that someone with Obama’s ideological background on the one hand, and his lack of any relevant experience on the other (not to mention absence of any real charisma), would have remained mostly obscure, and would have never made it to the national political stage – let alone the Presidency – had he not been black. Whoever picked him and groomed him for this job, played the implicit black-race/white-guilt card quite well, and it paid off big time at election (and re-election) time. But now, against the backdrop of the Z-M story, Obama’s race actually proves to be a liability. Just imagine any white person sitting in the White House right now (well, granted, any white person but Bill Clinton): would the black communities have remained as indifferent to the verdict as they are proving to be? Where are the riots their leaders and organisers had promised us? Could it be that finally having a black President for the first (well, second) time in history has rendered the whole perceived racial divide hollow?

It used to be that they pitched the poor against the rich. When that got old, they switched to pitching blacks against whites. Then it was women against men, gays against straights,…. They still seem to have the immigrants against the rest of us up their sleeve, but something tells me it is not going to deliver as promised. And it is not that they have ever abandoned any of the older, mostly artificial but useful divisions – rather, they always managed to find new ones to add to their arsenal of manufactured hatred. Thing is, I think they are now, or soon, will be running out of those. What that means is that they are going to go back to the oldest division of them all, and it looks like they are working hard on creating enough of the new poor, to be pitched against whoever it will be that manages to remain relatively rich – or, more likely, whoever will be deliberately labeled as “rich”. Interesting times are still ahead.

23 comments to Divide and rule – an old idea that never gets old

  • They’re having a good try with sane people vs. crazy environmentalists

  • Confucious

    Perhaps I’m an incurable optimist, but I like to think the lack of riots after the verdict is also at least in part, due to the black community in the U.S. not nearly as unanimously subscribing to the “Zimmerman is a racist child murderer” version of events as it’s self-appointed leaders and the media want us to believe.

  • the other rob

    @ Confucious. Indeed. In the conversations that I’ve had about the case, the dividing line appears to be not race but rather age. While I’ve spoken with several black people who did not buy the “Zimmerman is a racist child murderer” narrative, I’ve also spoken with a few older white people, who did.

    I think it’s significant that those who bought the narrative were raised in a time when the mainstream media was viewed as a source of absolute truth. While younger people are more savvy to the ways of today’s mainstream media, it seems that some older people are not.

  • I now realize that I have omitted an important point: unlike all other divides – such as based on race, sex, religion, what have you – the divide on the basis of material wealth (real or perceived) is one that is never going to go out of fashion, because of it being the most…well, material: when your neighbor is a different color or prays to a different god or doesn’t like women – you can learn to live with that, especially if you can get a bigger house or a nicer car than he has. But when he’s the one with the bigger house, while you may be struggling to make ends meet or maybe even to put dinner on the table, that is quite different.

  • gottarideduc

    Times will be really interesting when the class getting rich off the rest will be turned against: The federal government bureaucrats and their hangers-on. A quick visual comparison between Washington and vicinity and most of the rest of the country tells the tale. Perhaps they are the ones doing the pitching?

  • newrouter

    When Washington DC looks like Detroit, that will be a good day in America.

  • Plamus

    “They still seem to have the immigrants against the rest of us up their sleeve, but something tells me it is not going to deliver as promised.”

    You would be correct. As a legal immigrant (came to the US in 1997 as a student), I can add my anecdata to those polls: of the legal immigrants I know (probably a good 50), not one supports amnesty. There definitely is support for a laxer regime for H2B visas – importing qualified people, who would be net contributors. If the Republicans were smart, they could triangulate and split the immigrant vote in a way that would leave the Democrats wondering what hit them. Unfortunately, I am not at all sure that’s a good thing, and even less sure the GOP would have the foresight and balls to pull it off.

  • rfichoke

    This is the treacherous Frankfurt School cultural Marxism that has been undermining our civilization and rotting it from the inside out for decades.

  • Mr Ed

    Plamus ‘GOP, foresight and balls’? No, and never likely, quite the reverse over the last 100 years.

    The real divide is the tax-eater and tax provider (lumping in the Fed as a ‘tax’). Eventually, economic activity will become too difficult, and one way or another the shooting will start.

  • llamas

    @ Plamus -

    “I can add my anecdata to those polls: of the legal immigrants I know (probably a good 50), not one supports amnesty . . . ”

    True dat! Nothing makes ther veins on my forehard bulge as this talk of amnesty – which is what all these ‘paths to . . . . ‘ laws amount to. A fundamental component of a nation is the right & ability to decide who can come in and who can’t, and no modren nation can survive massed and uncontrolled immigration from the lowest SE strata.

    But it will happen anyway. Too many Democratic voters to ignore.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Johnnydub

    The other thing is that its so obviously manufactured bollocks..

    If Trayvon hadn’t initiated a physical confrontation he’d still be here…

    Also it’s disgusting that While Obama cries crocodile tears for TM, he has said precisely fuck all for the 11000 other black kids that have been killed since…

  • Jacob

    America had her fair share of race riots in the late 1960ies and 70ies. Many inner big cities were destroyed and turned into wasteland. Was it all caused (then) by leftist hate mongering or did black people really suffer from discrimination ? (Not that rioting solved anything).

    Why didn’t they riot this time? Could it be that things have improved since, by a process of evolution that had little to do with Obama? “Improved” – i mean: better living and education levels for most.

    Many black leaders and lefties are stuck in their victimization mentality, but maybe most blacks have moved on, and are less easily incited by demagogues?

    Despite Obama’s silly sentimental pronouncements, I think he had little influence on the events (except staging the trial in the first place).

  • Uncle Julius

    Democrats will drive busloads of illegals and out-of-staters to the polls in 2014, and will continue get 97% of the tribal vote. Many Americans (perhaps most), have been bought off by government checks, EBT cards, and ObamaPhones. I wonder, how many of us actually want to be free?

    On a more positive note, Tea Party activists will be fully engaged after their treatment by the IRS, and the states are now free to require voter IDs. A new revolt is brewing, that may exceed the energy of the 2009-2010 Tea Party movement. This may be our last chance for success.

  • rosenquist

    It used to be that they pitched the poor against the rich. When that got old, they switched to pitching blacks against whites. Then it was women against men, gays against straights,…. They still seem to have the immigrants against the rest of us up their sleeve, but something tells me it is not going to deliver as promised. And it is not that they have ever abandoned any of the older, mostly artificial but useful divisions – rather, they always managed to find new ones to add to their arsenal of manufactured hatred.

    Populist politics, of whatever political hue, is based upon the ‘manufacturing’ of binary social oppositions in which one side is the oppressor and the other the victim; People vs Government, Strivers vs Scroungers, Rich vs Poor, Blacks vs Whites, Immigrants vs Natives, silent majority vs vocal minority, ect.

  • DMDAVIES

    In the UK, the dividing line appears to be those who have read the headlines and those who have delved a bit further into it.

    If you just follow the BBC news you could be forgiven for believing that Zimmerman saw Martin in the gated community, saw he was young and black and shot him dead without any further ado. You would be amazed how many people think this is what happened.

  • Paul Marks

    I was struck (yet again) by what a shameless liar Comrade Barack Obama is.

    “This could have been me 35 years ago….” and on and on.

    Actually racially Mr Obama is far more like Mr Zimmerman than Mr Martin (Mr Obama, like Mr Zimmerman, is mixed race).

    Perhaps Mr Obama means he was similar to Mr Martin in some other respect? Although I doubt he means he used to go about smashing the heads of people against concrete (“grass” does not leave wounds like that Sunfish).

    Well Mr Obama went to private school in the Pacific paradise (no similarity so far), then (because of wire pulling by his family and family “friends” in the far left movement) was put into Occidental, then Columbia then Harvard Law – he was also GIVEN nice jobs in Chicago (academic jobs without producing any academic work, and law firm jobs where he could just put his feet on the desk and concentrate on trying to write his autobiography…… Comrade Bill Ayers finished the book for him, but what sort of person in his 30s thinks he had already lived a life worthy of an autobiography?).

    This does not sound like the backstory of Mr Martin – or Mr Zimmerman.

    It sounds like the backstory of one of the “idle rich” that the left are supposed to hate.

  • Absolutely, rosenquist.

    Paul, in the political context, race is not determined by ones genetics, but by one’s looks – because that is what racists on both sides go by (besides, most American blacks have at least some whites among their ancestors). Setting Zimmerman aside for a moment, both Martin and Obama look black, and that’s what counts. You keep bringing up Obama’s mother, but that is totally irrelevant, in my view. What is relevant is his upbringing, education and socioeconomic background – which are, in fact, as “white” as they come.

  • Laird

    Actually, Alisa, in the US we used to go by the “one-drop” rule, whereby anyone with the smallest amount of negro in his heritage was considered black, appearance notwithstanding. That’s why we had words such as octoroon, quadroon, mulatto, etc., which are no longer in common use. And although the one-drop rule is no longer official law, it’s still many people’s mindset, which is why Obama considers himself black (he’s actually a mulatto).

    And I would take issue with your assertion that Obama’s upbringing is “as ‘white’ as they come.” Much of his early childhood was spent in Indonesia, a Muslim country and very foreign culture, and the rest in Hawaii, a polyglot society where whites are a decided (and not particularly liked) minority. It’s a highly unusual background, not at all mainstream “white”, which I posit accounts at least in part for his idiosyncratic political views.

  • Achillea

    Perhaps I’m an incurable optimist, but I like to think the lack of riots after the verdict is also at least in part, due to the black community in the U.S. not nearly as unanimously subscribing to the “Zimmerman is a racist child murderer” version of events as it’s self-appointed leaders and the media want us to believe.

    I suspect a lot of the reason for that is due to anybody living in a ‘black community’ in the US knowing at least one ‘Trayvon.’ They may have been taken in temporarily by the prepubescent angel smokescreen the media threw up, but once that thinned they recognized him from personal experience with trash-talking ghetto thugs, as, well, the trash-talking ghetto thug he was.

  • Laird, I take your second point – I should have written ‘non-black’, rather than ‘white’.

    As to your first point, that is all very interesting (and I’m vaguely aware of that rule, but so what? The fact is that today no one bothers with it any more: as you say, black Americans (however defined) are no longer officially discriminated against), while unofficially people go simply by one’s looks.

    which is why Obama considers himself black (he’s actually a mulatto)

    Er, no. Obama considers himself black first and foremost because other people consider him black – that, because of the way he looks. Plus, in the past I imagine it served his personal and professional needs, and now it also serves his political ones.

  • The parentheses in my last comment seem to have acquired a mind of their own, and then gone out of it…

  • Jacob

    “not at all mainstream “white”, ”

    Obama’s background isn’t “mainstream white”, but nither is it mainstream black. He has absolutely nothing in common with America’s black popultaion, except looks (sort of).
    The blackness of Obama is mostly political posturing, or taking advantage of fashionable trends.
    Obama’s background is mostly “mainstream left-libaral”

  • Jacob

    Obama’s background is mostly “mainstream left-liberal”..
    I meant: Obama’s background is mostly “mainstream burgeois-left-liberal”

    Obama has no ancestors who were slaves in the US, he didn’t live in black ghettos, he never experienced poverty, and doesn’t know, first hand, how blacks live in the US. Compare that, for instance, to Thomas Sowell, who knew al those circumstaces first hand.

    Obama probably never suffered from racial discrimination, but only benefitted from it (via affirmative action).
    So, his claim “Trayvon Martin could have been me” is mendacious rhetoric, for political reasons, and for personal gain, like Alisa said. Sama as Bill Clinton’s famous phrase “I can feel your pain”.