WASHINGTON – “Rub raw the sores of discontent,” a community organizer from Chicago named Saul Alinsky defiantly urged years ago.
He also worked in Buffalo in the 1970s, and helped get black workers into the mob-run, segregated construction trades unions.
Lately, the tactics of agitation have gone national. And while they have done some good, they have also produced mushrooming discord, political distraction, a lot of new work for lawyers and, unfortunately, a great deal of blood.
Murder in Chicago, murder in Baltimore, murder in the nation’s capital is either coincidental or the direct result of agitation spurred by the Obama administration, and friends like racist Al Sharpton.
It’s so dangerous here that Washington residents are suing the Justice Department for refusing to disclose whether or not the murderers are even being prosecuted.
In the realm of creating business for lawyers and tying up the courts, the U.S. Supreme Court last week ruled on the Obama administration’s infamous three-year persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor – well, the court ruled that it wouldn’t rule.
By decree and not by legislation, the Obama administration had directed the Little Sisters to provide health insurance for its lay employees that covers various birth control drugs and procedures. The edict is a red line for the sisters’ beliefs. It seemed such a clear violation of First Amendment freedom of religion guarantees that the Supremes would surely strike it down.
However, after the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, a traditionalist, the court split 4-4, and the court’s statist left required the case be settled by a lower federal court, if possible.
It appears the sisters’ best hope is to agree to insurance policies that don’t let the nuns know what they are paying for. Keep in mind the Obama administration has exempted hundreds of companies and unions, and New York City, from requirements of the health care law.
The big new distraction is the federal edict involving “gender identity” for bathrooms and showers in schools and colleges that receive federal aid. The manner in which the White House delivered the directive seemed calculated to draw the greatest level of anger and confusion possible.
The usual way of altering federal policy is to publish what the administration proposes in the Federal Register, setting up a comment period of months for stakeholders, often convening discussions among peer groups.
Instead, the White House suddenly issued a letter drafted by two midlevel bureaucrats in the departments of Justice and Education, sending it to the nation’s schools and colleges.
It purports to define “gender identity” as an “individual’s internal sense of gender. It may be different from or the same as the person’s sex assigned at birth.”
“Transgender,” the order continues, “describes those individuals whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth …”
Who decides this? Ultimately, the government leaves this up to the individual to decide. The order outlines no time limit, and requires no notice for a change in “gender identity.” The order tells all schools and colleges to comply and threatens the loss of all federal aid if they don’t.
The Obama administration is suing North Carolina over the law requiring people to use the bathroom of their biological gender.
The White House is not only evading Congress, but also bypassing its own executive procedures. Predictably, the White House decree has aroused anger and stirred feelings of self-righteousness on all sides, even hatred. It has needlessly divided the country – again.
This is not governing. It is subjecting the nation to a series of stimulating, but dangerous, carnival rides.