I’ve listened to several speeches over the last year by Barack Obama and read the transcripts to a few others and what strikes me the more I read and understand what the candidate is saying is the truly revolutionary nature of his campaign and __that he is dead serious about turning this country leftward__ __radically leftward – in all areas of government and private life.
Now Americans by tradition are a mostly centrist bunch. We are extremely wary of politicians who promise dramatic change unless the times call for it. Even then, we rarely slip too far to the right or left – befitting a mature, responsible citizenry of a republic. Reagan may have been the most ideological president of the 20th century but no one can say he didn’t compromise to get most of what he wanted. Pragmatic conservatism was the order of the day with Reagan presiding over a revolution in the way people looked and felt about government.
But Obama comes from a different planet than Reagan. And you can start noticing the differences when Obama first graduated from college and, like many young people, began searching for something to give his life meaning:
He went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union and African cultural fairs in Brooklyn and started lecturing his relatives until they worried he’d become “one of those freaks you see on the streets around here.”
They had good cause to worry about Obama’s radicalism. You can trace his journey to the hard left by looking at his early employment record. Graduating from Colombia in 1983, Obama went to work for the staid, establishment capitalist concern Business International Corporation.
He didn’t stay there long. He moved on to the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) – one of a network of Ralph Nader creations that boasts a consistent anti-business record of achievement – with mixed results.
But he must have been searching for something else – something that could get him more directly involved in radically altering the system. In 1985, he found just what he was looking for; he answered a help wanted ad for a position as a community organizer for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) of the Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC) in Chicago.
There are several different takes on Obama’s experience as an organizer. This hagiagraphic piece in US News paints a saintly picture of Obama – a selfless, hard working, mainstream black man only wanting to help the poor.
The reality was a little different. Trained in the Saul Alinsky method of organizing, Obama became quite adept at bringing the resentments and rage felt by African Americans against the white establishment to the surface:
He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better.”