Opinion

The Hairdresser-In-Chief And His Narrative On Race

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Steve Hecht Editor-at-Large, Impunity Observer

Are you a racist, or not a racist? Only your hairdresser knows for sure.

President Obama wants to be your hairdresser-in-chief. In his talk to honor the slain police officers of Dallas, he intoned: “America, we know that bias remains.”

Just a few days later, the president spoke about the truck attack in Nice. Again he raised the specter of race, telling the world that some Americans would bar immigrants because of their skin-color or their beliefs.

On each occasion, Obama was grossly out of turn. There is no good time or place for the U.S. president to claim that America’s police departments are still in the grip of racism. The worst possible place to claim it was at a memorial for slain officers.

In his comments after the truck attack, the president took his fetish global when he used France’s suffering as a pretext for branding his political rivals as racists.

In one respect, Obama scores an easy point. We all have racism in us. It’s part of our flesh — original sin. And there’s the rub. Racism, the real thing, only gets material when someone acts from racial motives. In our society, that’s rare.

The president, however, is stuck on what we have in our hearts. As he said in Dallas, “the Lord tells Ezekiel, ‘I will give you a new heart … and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh … That’s what we must pray for, each of us. A real heart.”

Compare this with the coda of JFK’s inaugural: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

JFK’s exhortation had the true breath of a leader in it. Obama’s exhortation is false money. When a religious authority asks about your heart, it’s one thing. When a political authority wants to look into your heart, it’s another.

Where does Obama mean to take us? A good indication, perhaps the best we have, lies in the Central American nation of Guatemala.

Guatemala has nothing to do with most Americans, except for this: U.S. policy in Guatemala shows the Obama agenda at its most unexpurgated and unchained. It shows what might soon be coming to a political theater near you.

In Guatemala, Obama and his allies are pervasively applying the false racism narrative, and the enterprise is well advanced. The country’s de facto president is the U.S. ambassador, whose orders the nominal president has felt obliged to obey.

Ambassador Todd Robinson has taken effective charge of appointments in the executive branch. He has forced Guatemala’s congress to do his bidding — most notably in stacking the constitutional court, Guatemala’s highest judicial authority, which is now under guerrilla control. Radical partisans may count on the high court to declare as constitutional any law — no matter how unreasonable — that adds to the arbitrary powers of government.

The other principal US agent is a UN body called the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala or CICIG. During Obama’s term, the CICIG has left a trail of flame through Guatemalan politics, boldly misusing the rhetoric of anti-corruption and human rights.

Very few political players are willing to go up against the embassy or the CICIG. They are keenly aware that neither the CICIG nor the embassy will shrink from violating due process, or subverting the rules of law and evidence in pursuit of their political agenda.

Throughout most of Guatemala — at the behest of the embassy and the CICIG, acting through the ministries — traditional agents of lawful authority, like the police, have ceded their place to irregular militias which operate under the protection of the central government. It is as if the Black Lives Matter movement — heavily armed, organized in military companies, with the full blessing of the central authority — were controlling most of America’s rural expanse and were demanding, at gunpoint, the total eradication of racism.

Beginning in 2010, Guatemala’s attorney general gave the militias their impetus with the support of the State Department and Hillary Clinton’s personal encouragement. Since then, ordinary people throughout Guatemala have been stripped of lawful protection and have had to stand naked before the caprices of the militias, which have forbidden any economic development or private initiative that might encroach on their control.

The militias employ a racism narrative just like Obama’s, painting the poorest indigenous people as the victims. But many non-indigenous people are just as poor; both groups have been the victims of Guatemala’s long-term corruption.

The use of that false narrative has added weight to the people’s suffering and has made it incomparably worse. The suppression of legitimate authority, with all its faults, has given rise to a new, unfettered authority whose promiscuous cruelty makes one nostalgic for the past.

So it is that the constitutional republic of Guatemala is being marched to its destruction by people who care little for it; while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — with their doctrines of racism, sexism, and other fetishes — appear before the bar of history wearing silk pajamas rather than the mantle of true leaders.

Steve Hecht is an American businessman and journalist who lives in Guatemala. David Landau contributed to this report.