Editor's note: The following column originally appeared in the Washington Times.
For President Obama and his cronies, everything is political and everyone is a pawn. After a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the White House and Department of Justice immediately pushed the meme that the issue in Ferguson was about racism and policing.
While a legitimate issue, in reality it is a symptom of the systemic problem of big-government-sponsored poverty, made worse by the liberal agenda so dear to Mr. Obama himself.
Focusing on the tension between the black community and local law enforcement also serves as an invaluable tool maintaining distrust and perpetuating mayhem, which is exactly what the Democratic Party machine needs. There is an imperative to keep their own biggest supporters, African-Americans, from noticing liberalism’s disastrous economic agenda, which has been condemning communities of color for generations.
The day after being repudiated by the voters in the midterm elections, Mr. Obama quietly met with what The New York Times called “national leaders” of the protests in Ferguson, Mo. There, according to Al Sharpton as quoted in the newspaper, the president urged the protesters to “stay the course,” which up to that point had included riots in August.
A week before the grand jury decision was announced, Real Clear Politics posted video of Mr. Holder likening “the shooting of Michael Brown to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till” after an event on Capitol Hill where a tree was planted in Till’s memory.
The 14-year-old Till was kidnapped and murdered by racists in 1955 Mississippi. “The struggle goes on,” Mr. Holder said following the grand jury’s decision on Monday. “And it’s not only Ferguson, there are other communities around our country where we are dealing with relationships that are not what they should be … .”
Mr. Obama, a day before the grand jury announcement, offered up this comment, which could easily be interpreted as his opinion of what happened to Mr. Brown: “[Communities of color] need law enforcement more than anybody … but they want to make sure the police are trained so they can distinguish between a gang banger and a kid who just happens to be wearing a hoodie, but otherwise is a good kid and not doing anything wrong,” he added.
Not exactly a series of comments from an administration that is interested in calming things down in a community already expecting violence at that point.
After a week of protests, seemingly endless commentary, pontificating and outrageous exploitation by media, politicians and their sycophantic community organizers, we know for sure nothing is going to change for Ferguson or for any black American in this country.
Instead, like all shallow and cynical liberals, the reaction of Mr. Obama’s regime has been to work feverishly to make sure their failed economic policies would be overlooked as they fan the flames of racial tension and community distrust.
As we are seeing with Ferguson, victimhood and dependency are two powerful tools that make possible control and manipulation of an entire segment of Americans.
After all, if you can gin up violent protests, the burning down of a community, the blocking of bridges, the snarling of traffic, vandalism, shootings, attacks on police and even a plot to blow up a landmark and murder of local officials, that same community is less likely to ask about the long-term decline in their standard of living, and an outrageous unemployment rate.
About the poverty of Ferguson, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com blog notes, “Canfield Green, where Brown lived and died, is one of several dilapidated apartment complexes where poverty and crime are both common. The neighborhood’s median income is less than $27,000, making it the eighth-poorest census tract in the state; 95 percent of its residents are black.”
Mr. Silver’s site also reminds us nationally 36 percent of black American adults under the age of 25 are unemployed, and Forbes.com notes in the nearby city of St. Louis, the unemployment rate for black Americans was 26 percent in 2012. For white Americans it was just 6.2 percent.
Many liberal columnists have dismissed income inequality as an endemic problem that has plagued the nation since long before Mr. Obama became president, and they’re right.
The issue here is, however, whether or not today’s Democratic Party and the nation’s first black president, first black attorney general and their preferred community organizer, Al Sharpton, are trying to change that situation or maintain it.
It has been clear since the beginning of his presidency that Mr. Obama has an interest in exploiting and worsening racial tensions in this country, which distracts from the abject failure of big government and its monstrous impact on the poor and middle class.
By forcing a community to face existential issues such as racism, riots and general mayhem, there’s simply a better chance they won’t look Mr. Obama’s way when asking why things are getting worse in their community.
For Democrats, the only answer is to convince their own constituents that everyone is racist and out to get them. Better that, they must reason, than to be honest about the fact that it’s the poverty the liberal elite rely on to control communities of color.
After all, if people actually began to see craven and cynical liberal politicians for who they are, they might, just might, reject the horrors brought upon them by their so-called leaders, who need them forever mired in debilitating, but politically useful, poverty and hopelessness.