2012 might go down in the history books as a politically turbulent year on the order of 1968. Powerful forces are conspiring to divide people into haves and have nots, the oppressors and the oppressed, and the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Or, put in more modern terms, the 1% and the 99%.
Nevermind that people aren't categorized so simply without overlooking some pertinent details. Mitt Romney is deemed to be in the evil 1%, but Bill Clinton, who made $75 million since leaving office, is somehow not in that category.
The mismatches aren't just with powerful national political leaders. It's happening locally to, on the community organizing level. Oh, I just love community organizers! The Social Justice Fund sponsored a summit on Friday to discuss why eastern Ventura County residents earn more on average than western Ventura County residents.
The average household in Thousand Oaks and Moorpark earns almost twice as much as the average household in Santa Paula, Oxnard, or Fillmore.
That, according to the executive director of the leftist group Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), is "cause" to demand more sharing from east county residents.
Morales then paraphrased part of Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail. "Privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily."
Ooh, do you hear that, T.O. and Moorpark residents? "Sharing" isn't going to be voluntary!
The full MLK quote goes like this:
Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
The unjust, immoral, and oppressive people that King referred to were often just that.
But for CAUSE's director to imply that Moorpark and Thousand Oaks residents are unjust, immoral and oppressive--well, that's just a little extreme.
To CAUSE and the Social Justice Fund, east county residents are not the statistical 1%, they are the rhetorical 1%--the oppressors, the haves, and the bourgeoisie in Ventura County are the AVERAGE households in Thousand Oaks and Moorpark. According to CAUSE's director, "Our county is really bifurcated" because Moorpark households average $101,962 and Santa Paula households average $51,233.
Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that CAUSE and the Social Justice Fund can be safely ignored as fringe, radical leftist groups. County supervisors Kathy Long and Linda Parks attended the summit, as well as a Ventura city councilman.
Political turmoil in 2012 and the years ahead are going to be remembered. A clash of irreconcilable ideologies is coming--the drumbeats of conflict can be heard just over the horizon. We're living in historic times.