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“There is one experience which most sincere ex-Communists share,” wrote Whittaker Chambers in his classic conversion narrative “Witness,” and that is the epiphany, the road-to-Damascus moment, the instant they realize the life they have been living is a lie.
Chambers memorably quotes one young woman about her father’s Damascus moment: “He was immensely pro-Soviet … and then – you will laugh at me – but you must not laugh at my father – and then – one night – in Moscow – he heard screams. That’s all. Simply one night he heard screams.”
Barack Obama has never heard those screams. He has written two books – or at least put his name on two books – and not hinted that he ever had anything like a Damascus moment.
His anti-Americanism runs too deep. When in Indonesia his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, asked his mom to meet some of “her own people” at the American oil company where he worked, she shouted at him, “They are not my people.”
In the midst of all these “ugly Americans,” Ann remained, in Obama’s words, “a lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism.”
As a boy, Obama learned that perhaps the only thing exceptional about America was Barack Hussein Obama. Back in Hawaii, his communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, reinforced his mom’s ugly-American riff, and Obama soaked it in.
In his 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” he describes the Americanization of Hawaii as an “ugly conquest.” Missionaries brought “crippling diseases.” American companies carved up “the rich volcanic soil” and worked their indentured laborers of color “from sunup to sunset.”
During World War II, of course, the government interned Hawaii’s “Japanese-Americans.”
In Obama’s account, as in the standard progressive retelling of American history, facts are bent to serve a larger purpose. In the litany above, Obama bends one fact beyond the breaking point.
In reality, more than 99 percent of Hawaii’s Japanese and Japanese-Americans were not interned. After Pearl Harbor, this policy suggested not racism or oppression, as Obama implies, but of enlightened restraint.
After hitting the mainland, Obama surrounded himself with leftists well versed in Marxist cant. “I chose my friends carefully,” he writes in “Dreams.” “The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.”
With his new friends, Obama discussed “neocolonialism, Franz (sic) Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy” and flaunted his alienation. Dr. John Drew confirms that the Obama he met at Occidental College was indeed a “Marxist planning for a Communist style revolution.”
The literary influences Obama cites include radical anti-imperialists like Fanon and Malcolm X, communists like Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, and tyrant-loving fellow travelers like W.E.B. DuBois.
“Josef Stalin was a great man,” DuBois wrote upon Stalin’s death in 1953. “Few other men of the 20th century approach his stature.”
In “Dreams,” Obama gives no suggestion that this reading was in any way problematic or a mere phase in his development. He moves on to no new school, embraces no new worldview.
Obama unwittingly gives the game away in his 2006 book, “Audacity of Hope.” When scolding his fellow liberals for not facing up to current international threats, he writes, “It’s useful to remind ourselves that Osama bin Laden is not Ho Chi Minh.”
No, of course not. In ObamaWorld, Ho is the kind of murderous thug kids still look up to, sort of like Ché, just not cute enough to put on a T-shirt.
In 2008, some Obama campaign workers in Texas proudly tacked Ché posters to the wall, blissfully unaware that communist executioners lack red-state crossover appeal.
Not surprisingly, given his inputs, Barack Obama has embraced a vaguely Marxist, post-colonial view of the capitalist enterprise. In the 2004 preface to “Dreams,” written after his keynote speech at the Democratic convention, he describes an ongoing “struggle – between worlds of plenty and worlds of want.”
America, he implies, prospers only at the expense of the rest of the world, a zero-sum fallacy common among those who refuse to understand the way free enterprise works.
“I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless: how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi in much the same way as it does the lives of children on Chicago’s South Side,” Obama continues.
When the powerless strike back, the powerful respond with “a steady, unthinking application of force, of longer prison sentences and more sophisticated military hardware.”
By equating Chicago with the Third World, Obama endorses the link between racism and imperialism, the presumed motive for America’s involvement in Vietnam.
Later in “Dreams,” he makes this point more explicitly when he talks about righteous insurrections in “Soweto or Detroit or the Mekong Delta.” For the left, racism at home parallels imperialism abroad, one or both of which must inevitably underwrite the capitalist adventure.
To be fair, the “Detroit” and “Mekong Delta” references – the whole preface for that matter – are more likely to have come from Bill Ayers’ pen than Obama’s, but if so, Obama surely felt comfortable with Ayers’ conclusions.
And from all evidence, even after nearly four years of spreading the misery in a failed quasi-socialist experiment, he still hasn’t heard those screams.
Time to take the damn cotton out of your ears, Barry!