Articles

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Bankrupt Race Card

The Trayvon Martin case is a wholly familiar one to residents of any major urban city. If you live in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles, then it's only a matter of time until an incident between a law enforcement officer, or more rarely a civilian defending himself, and a member of a minority group flares up into a citywide grievance theater complete with angry reverends on the steps of City Hall, women with stony faces holding up banners calling for justice and a media driven debate about police tactics and racism.

This sort of thing happens with depressing regularity in cities where even the most liberal residents have to choose between police overreach and being murdered. It never leads to meaningful debate or a resolution, instead it peters out with the best actors in the grievance theater picking up money and influence, the media selling a few more papers or ads for nasal polyp relief on the drive time news and everything going back to the way it was.

The grievance theater is never really about the specific case, the specific shooting, it's about the links between the social problems of the black community, the compromises of civil liberties necessary to keep entire cities from turning into Detroit and the inability of the media to address the sources of crime as anything but the phantoms of white racism. It's about a black leadership that is more interested in posturing as angry activists and shaking loose some money, than in healing their own community's problems. And so the same story repeats itself again and again without an honest dialogue or anything meaningful coming out of it.

But grievance theater has been going national. It's no longer just extraordinary cases like Bernie Goetz's Death Wish moment on the number 2 train that briefly catch hold of the national conversation. The obsessive coverage of the so-called Jena 6 case, an incident of so little internal meaning, signaled that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would no longer just be able to drive a local controversy, they now had the freedom to drive national controversies any time they wanted to.

Trayvon Martin is their big moment. It's no longer just grievance theater being used to influence the political fortunes of a municipal election, the way that Howard Beach was used to bring down Mayor Koch and replace him with the execrable David Dinkins. Now it's being used as part of a presidential campaign on a national level.

The fortunes of too many black politicians have been tied to white guilt and black rage. The worst sort of black politician channels black rage to score points with black supporters while playing on the guilt of white voters, promising to heal the social conditions that bring about that anger and protect them from its ravages. But never before has that game been played out of the Oval Office.

The last two Democratic presidents were Southern governors, but the current occupant is a veteran of the corrupt urban political machine where there are only two games in town and when the money runs out, this is the one you play. The money is running out, the polls are running down and accordingly we have been treated to an episode of grievance theater, with our beloved leader in the role of healer and inciter.

Obama helped Al Sharpton achieved an unprecedented national profile in order to marshal that part of his base which cares less about jobs, than about finding someone to blame. The Trayvon Martin circus is a bullhorn urging that all of us, black or white, to stop focusing on the economy and start focusing on race.

It's Community Activism 101 to divide and conquer the electorate by breaking them down and feeding local anxieties, whether it's about birth control or racial injustice. And it's a win-win for Obama, who at worst gains a distraction from economic turmoil and a few thousand guilty voters and at best, upends the national dialogue by asserting the dominance of the racial narrative. While his associates wield the bullhorns, he carefully plays healer and if there is violence, then his currency as racial healer increases.

What does it say about America that what was once a form of political theater rising out of the grimy urban blocks of the failed city is now a national art form? Nothing good. A local dysfunction has become a national dysfunction, not because every city has become New York and Chicago, but because the people at the center of power hail from New York and Chicago.

Our racial dysfunction has always been secondary to our political dysfunction and now our political dysfunction is second to none. We have the best government that Warren Buffett's money could buy and that ACORN's election fraud can achieve. And we have a national government that is starting to look like the dysfunctional urban governments at the center of the grievance theaters.

Chicago nearly went bankrupt in 1930. New York nearly went bankrupt in 1975. But states have bailed out cities and the federal government has bailed out states. When there isn't enough money to keep the dysfunctional political machine built on corruption and subsidies going, there's always some larger entity to foot the bill.

The problem with this current government is that it's operating at the federal level and there is no longer any larger entity to foot the bill. All the shopworn radicalism, the cries about making the rich pay their fair share, are old hat. The rich and the upper middle-class can pay more, but there's no amount of money that will cover a government that spends money as if there is no tomorrow.

That is the lesson that has yet to be learned from the cities whose dysfunctional politics have been transplanted to the national government. Along with the politics has come the grievance mob, the outrage machine, the outpourings of self-righteousness, the class warfare fought by corrupt pols and the rest of the bread and circuses show that have blighted the American city for a century and a half.

Grievance theater isn't about race, it's not about slavery, police brutality or separate lunch counters, it's about power and money. Black politicians are not fundamentally different from white ones. They have more in common with their white colleagues than they do with their own communities. The only difference is that they are playing with the race cards they have been dealt.

The ghetto didn't evolve naturally, it was created through a web of national and local government regulations that played with real estate, social welfare, voting districts and the manufacturing sector to achieve the desired results. We don't have to have ghettos, we have them because at one point they were convenient for a number of political interests and because they were the unintended side-effect of a number of socialist policies. 

The ghetto farms black communities for votes and more importantly for subsidies. For every dollar that is taken to help minorities, a penny goes to the problem and ninety-nine cents goes to the hucksters, the administrators, the bureaucrats, the wives of influential pols hired on massive salaries to oversee some aspect of the program, the experts who monitor compliance, the affirmative action contractors who charge four times as much to build a school or provide meals, the unions who have the exclusive right to service the program, the slumlords who administer affordable housing and finally the politicians who have the money kicked back to them by all of the above.

When you look closely at where the school property tax money goes, why health care is so expensive and why so much money has to be spent on housing, a big chunk of it goes here. It's the hole in our budget ozone layer and it can never be filled, because it is designed never to be filled. For a sizable number of influential people, both black and white, the black community's social problems are a cash cow. The grievance theater is their way of collecting protection money and making sure that no one pays too much attention to what's really wrong.

The problem isn't limited to the black community. The same phenomenon crosses over different minority communities and some white ones as well, but the race card is still the best card in the deck. It carries too many emotional triggers, too much guilt and too much hope not to use it over and over again. The moral power of the civil rights movement still isn't exhausted as long as hopeful white people smile at the sight of a black man in the White House as if his political power testified to their innocence.

But the power can only be retained through constant indoctrination in the rituals of guilt, through repetitions of the grievance theater which reminds us that national bankruptcy is a small price to pay for peace, that we will be better people and a better nation if we vote for Obama against our own economic interests. Grievance theater takes many forms, but its elemental form is the street production that the Trayvon Martin case has brought us.

Grievance theater, like light-hearted musicals is one of those forms that works best when the economy is bad and everyone has trouble making ends meet. But while people voluntarily go to see musicals, or at least they used to, they have to be dragged to attend the latest grievance theater, the production numbers broadcast live on CNN and MSNBC, the programs printed in every paper that still hasn't gone out of business, and breathless announcements of the latest developments broadcast in between Dunkin Donuts commercials.

The local productions of grievance theater have gone national and we are all compelled to watch it play out. No matter what happens to George Zimmerman or what we learn about Trayvon Martin, the country has been turned into unwilling participants in a national drama that places a distorted idea of race at the center of our identity for the benefit of the same hucksters and politicians who have destroyed the city and are hard at work destroying the country.

14 comments:

namaste said...

spelling it out as well as you have here, is how the unraveling begins. true, political players and their media helpers, have kept this lucrative game going. but we can't keep avoiding the emotions triggered in us all by these media circus events. so bravo to you, daniel, for calling it what it is. the more we understand what is underfoot and what we continue to lose as a country, the better equipped we are to fight it. thanks for another great post!

Infidel Crusader said...

Dr Greenfield, Again, Sir, OORAAAHHH...there arent many out here teklling the unpleasant truth but you most certainly have a way of hitting the nail square on its head EVERY time you swing...another GREAT artcile about the politics of race and fear and how their being used together by the socilaists and liberals to not only divide the country, but to pay them to divide it in such a way as to perpetuate the payments and not the cause!!!

OORRRAAAAAHHH!

Anonymous said...

Excellent, again! Now, a question; Why do I always have to fill out the security box to post your articles/blog on facebook?

Mr ED said...

Treyvon Martin is their big moment.

Really? So Gabrielle Giffords wasn't their "big moment"? The "Jena 6" wasn't their big moment? Henry Louis Gates wasn't their big moment? Obamesiah being elected wasn't their big moment? I understand that phrase in context, but I don't see anything special in this particular "big moment". The Leftscum in the media and politics have their self-serving template and will overlay any and every incident - even if they have to invent said incident - to "prove" the righteousness of their cause. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, can be cooked up into a "big moment" stew of righteous indignation that supposedly proves the premises and false conclusions of the lying Left. They will not stop their lying and prevarications until they are seen by the public as a whole as the professional liars they are.

Anonymous said...

Nice shot of King Race-Hustler Sharpton in the back of a limo, his preferred habitat...

Anonymous said...

It was a good thing that Mr. Zimmerman wasn't Jewish. I'm sure at initial reports, Mr. Hymie Town an Mr. Greek Homos were quite excited about the prospects of tying the killing to a man with the name of Zimmerman...

Nice piece Mr. Knish. Loved you on the Guy Green Speakeasy radio program. Do more radio please!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Knish I do not always agree with you 100% of the time but you do write beautifully. I do recall the God awful David Dinkins years.

Dick Stanley said...

As Roger L. Simon says it on PJMedia, this is the Society for the Preservation of Racism (otherwise known as the Democrat Party and its news media chums Al and Jesse) in action.

dwight said...

Please excuse the unsightly length of this comment, Mr. Greenfield---but your posts are such vistas---and I simply can't help myself this time.

Your description of grievance theater reminds me of another time-honored (and notorious) form of big-city theater, Professional Wrestling. I think there are some fascinating correspondences.

Who are those who self-assuredly reject Pro Wrestling as patent fakery? Who are its true believers? Whatever it's about (in the reality of all of its defacto complexities), only a naif (whether erudite or illiterate, it doesn't matter) thinks it can be summarily dismissed. Because, phenomenologically, it simply won't (simply) go away. Even as absurdist theatre it must be taken seriously (see, Andy Kaufman).

You go on to say, "The grievance theater is never really about the specific case, the specific shooting, it's about the links between the social problems of the black community, the compromises of civil liberties necessary to keep entire cities from turning into Detroit and the inability of the media to address the sources of crime as anything but the phantoms of white racism."

Like tag-team matches comprised of black-and-white social problems and villains and heroes and imperfect referees and phantoms. And active theater-goers who pay good money to see what they want to see. And passive theatre-receivers who turn on their Flat Screens in order to think what they want to think. And everyone is wrestling with the competing narratives. And whatever else it is, or isn't, about, "it's about power and money."

All the world's a stage---but now the pro wrestlers are out of the ring and on a mission to do violence to anyone who dares to critique the truth of their theatre. And as you rightly summarize it, "we are all compelled to watch it play out."

I don't believe in Professional Wrestling---just like I don't believe in American Politics. But my personal reality is that I am a white male who has been married for going on twenty years now to a black female. This stuff is real. And it won't go away. Including the phantoms (both black and white).

I can only ask painful questions of my soul. And I can only receive painful answers from my G-d. What is it that I most want (and most need) to be true (and false) about the peoples and the individuals and the narratives and the facts and the particulars and the generalities of this unfolding drama? And why?

Would that it were as simple as Shakespeare's stage.

Jules said...

A young black teenager is shot by a "white-Hispanic" neighbourhood watch captain and Obama personally intervenes.

2 White British tourists are shot dead by a young black teenager in Florida and even after numerous letters to the White House from their parents, Barak cannot bring himself to sacrifice the 5 minutes it would take to respond to the families involved.

Tells you everything you need to know about Obama really, doesn't it?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9173820/Parents-of-murdered-British-students-criticise-Barack-Obama.html

Always On Watch said...

Thanks to decades of the school system's agenda of inculcating students with white guilt, most of America is on a terrible path in race relations.

Yes, "the race question" has been a problem in America for well over 100 years. But I actually believe that we were doing very well in that regard.

Now we are at the mercy of hucksters and politicians.

Thomas said...

I yearn for the day when White Americans will advocate from a position of racial best interest, as black and Hispanics do. I long for the day when White America comes to understand that multiculturalism and diversity are simply euphemisms for no Whites wanted! I foresee the day when Whites can tell the diversity pimps and racial hate mongers to take their diversity training and shove it.

Whites had better wake up and fast! With all the diversity in this country advancing positions in their best racial interests, we are going to be left standing in the cold with no place to go if we do not do the same!

Jewel said...

Here is an uncomfortable truth that many of the Trayvon Martin supporters ignore. It also explains why people no longer trust the press: Too many white people have had a frightening experience with young black men wearing hoodies. I have had many frightening encounters where I have feared for my life. Or my children’s lives.
I don’t fear older black men dressed like men. I don’t fear older black women dress as older black women dress. I don’t usually fear for my life with black women in general, especially women with children, but that is changing. I’ve seen too much violence of black on black crime and black on white crime. Whites aren’t allowed to talk about it. We are supposed to be outraged by white racism, but pretend there is no such thing as black racism. Well, too bad. I look at a photo of Trayvon Martin and he scares the shit out of me. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

1389 said...

Moochelle Obama reportedly is from a Gangster Disciples family. Click [HERE] and scroll down to see how the hypothetical son of Obozo and Mooch truly would have looked and acted. No joke...

I realize that the Lord loveth not the death of the unrighteous. That said, the US becomes a safer place (including and especially for black Americans) every time a ghetto thug dies.

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