It was an unseasonably hot day, and I was driving to get some errands done. Main Street appeared to be backed up. I heard people shouting something from other cars, but I still couldn’t see what was happening. As I was getting closer to the circle, I noticed a figure standing on the corner of the street, holding a sign. I emitted a sigh of exasperation and boredom. It was a woman, dressed in full “Handmaid’s Tale” regalia while holding a sign that read “suburban women—vote [fill in the blank Democrat candidate name].”
The woman, or more likely, the girl was also wearing a black COVID mask—those big ones that look as if they are better suited to bank robbers. Well, at least she didn’t wear a “coffee filter” or “toucan” mask, I thought to myself. Still, I was highly disappointed that she chose not to show her face.
I passed her quickly, trying not to look too long, not because I wasn’t curious but because I had to keep my eyes on the road. If I had been walking, I probably would have tried to engage her in conversation. Nevertheless, the short encounter began to spin the wheels of my imagination.
I started to feel a bit sorry for her, seeing her standing there all by herself. I don’t like seeing people who seem lonely or alone, but my compassion dissipated once I realized she didn’t do her homework and really wasn’t putting her best foot forward. It was almost as if she was tired and maybe even embarrassed about being there.
I was stunned that this woman, this fake character from Margaret Atwood’s novel, referred to me and presumably all of the female inhabitants of our town as “suburban.” Our town is definitely not a suburb, and the girl in the red cape should have done her homework. I began to wonder whether the girl came to our town of her own volition. Perhaps she bought the costume on Amazon or at Spirit Halloween by herself. (It’s not a bad price either—$44.99—and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get free shipping, too. In an age in rising inflation, any good activism should be done on a shoestring budget.)
But perhaps not. Perhaps she is a member of some organization that sends people out for this sort of thing ahead of elections. I began to picture the inner workings of a bureaucracy such as this: buying the costumes, making the signs, dispatching these youths into what they see as suburbia, but really being kind of lazy about the whole effort.
“We need to figure out how to reach the suburban women demographic and send somebody to the suburbs,” says the head honcho “community organizer.”
“Ah,” grunts the next in command “community organizer. “Send Amber. She’s really not the best but you can’t be picky. We need all the help we can get.”
Poor Amber; stuck in that ridiculous costume, counting on a cool November day for her work, yet there she was, standing in the middle of the street, getting overheated from that oversized bonnet and a mask.
Whatever the path our theoretical “Amber” took, whether she acted alone or through some euphemistically titled organization, the choices she made were ultimately merely aesthetical. It was a “cosplay,” as if voting comes down to dressing up as a fictional character and holding a sign emblazoned with some basic left-wing slogan. Civic duty and citizenship are more than signs and costumes. We don’t make decisions based on aesthetic signifiers that are meant to suggest, in this case, a complete misogynistic dystopia.
Freedom of thought and proper deliberation is not part of any “community organizing” as we have come to understand it in America. Rather, these tactics come to us, whether explicitly or implicitly, from Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals the entire essence of which is to go into a particular community (especially ones that face poverty and crime), agitate, tell people that they are locked out of centers of power, and organize them into a mob. After this has been accomplished, the “community organizer” promptly leaves. He or she should not be interested in becoming an actual leader because that’s not the purpose of being a radical. On the contrary, a “community organizer” creates a pretense of leadership, only to leave the community in even more chaos than it had before this person’s arrival. (Barack Obama did this on an industrial scale.)
There is nothing wrong with genuine grassroots efforts at being a citizen, and bringing an issue to the foreground. But when the intent is to simply disrupt, cause division, and create a strange form of class or identity group warfare, that is the moment when we must recognize that ideology has taken over the singularity and thought process of one human being and devoured it in favor of mob rule.
There is nothing imaginative about Alinsky’s method. Ultimately, it’s just communist shit, but it’s a special kind of shit: one that is rooted in the pseudo-American obsession with destroying something they label “capitalist man” who is supposed to be the source of all evil.
(I should add that I grew up in a socialist country, and I have never seen such a pathological acceptance and submission to the collective as I have witnessed in America. Growing up, it never occurred to me to think that I ought to be swallowed by the masses. Individual personality remained unique regardless of the political regime.)
There is more to this, however, than just ideology. People who initiate and join such movements are unable to stand on their own. They tend to be mediocre thinkers and artists, who hide behind ideology in order to gain attention. They need the collective in order to continuously create more collectivism, the purpose of which is to expand bureaucracy that hates the human soul but advances their mediocrity. It’s rooted in envy, but these days, it’s not so much about capitalism and money as it is about joy. Our theoretical “Amber” should take off that dopey red cape and the white bonnet (not to mention the surgical mask), and seek to find herself and her fellow human beings.