Maxine Waters has never been the mildest and most judicious of politicians, but there is a method to her current (extreme) madness. She does have something to be afraid of. Identity politics — her bread and butter — is, for the first time in years, in some trouble.
This is particularly true in the black community, where Donald Trump’s approval level is climbing. And the reason for this isn’t all Kanye West. African Americans have the lowest unemployment rate ever under Trump and are beginning to have more cash and better lives.
This is not good for Maxine and she knows it. No more fancy house in Hancock Park. She might have to go back and live with her constituents in South Central. Hell, she might even be voted out. Hence, the acting out.
The problem for the Democrats in general is that it’s not good for them either. They depend on these groups doing poorly and, much as they wish they could, can’t easily separate themselves from the execrable Waters and her equally execrable cohorts like @TheRevAl.
The Dems have the same issue disassociating themselves from the latest anti-ICE fad, which is indeed a fad because I’d be willing to bet the overwhelming majority of those protesting at the moment couldn’t have identified the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency three weeks ago. Nor do they know — or probably care — that one of the agency’s primary tasks is counter-terrorism.
Whatever the case, protesting ICE makes the Democrats look loony. And it is encouraged by identity politics, in this case, ironically, a kind of “brown skin privilege,” giving Hispanics — because they are Hispanics and therefore oppressed in some way — the privilege of entry into our country even if they are illegal, a privilege hardly ever granted to others. It’s a rule of law for me, but not for thee.
The identity politics problem is more treacherous than that, however. Its tentacles are everywhere, destroying lives and keeping the people down they are supposed to be helping, denying their individuality and encouraging them to identify as victims. The latter is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Congressional Black Caucus itself is in essence reactionary, as are all similar religious, racial and ethnic political groups. They had a use decades ago, but that has passed. Now they preserve and exacerbate division and create — as outrageous as it may sound — a kind of nostalgia for a racism that no longer exists, turning people backwards who might otherwise be prepared to move on and accept people as people.
Encouraging people to identify as groups and not as individuals was done most famously by the man with whom Donald Trump is so often compared by his more deranged detractors. This of course is Stalin in the USSR, where people were required to carry internal passports identifying them as Jews, Tatars, Russians (preferred), etc.
The Stalinist approach sounds so outrageous and like it couldn’t happen here, but it is ultimately where identity politics leads. Categorize the person and stamp out the individual. You’re a black. You’re a lesbian. You’re a single mother. That’s all you are. A category. Someone to be exploited and then spit out. This is where today’s Democratic Party is taking us and has taken us, consciously or not. It’s what Maxine Waters depends on for her money and power. (The campus fad for intersectionality is the opera bouffe version, taking identity politics to insane serio-comic levels.)
Of course this blight is not going to go away in a minute. We are who we are and naturally identify with our heritages. That’s fine and good to a reasonable extent. But if you follow it to its logical conclusion what you get is something far closer to the Nazi Germany of The Master Race and The Final Solution than anything remotely to do with Donald Trump.
Roger L. Simon – co-founder and CEO Emeritus of PJ Media is a novelist and screenwriter.