Back in February, former President Barack Obama launched an effort called the “Change Collective.” If you’re not familiar with it now, you probably will be soon. Supporters describe it as a “new community-based leadership initiative” meant to “empower emerging leaders to bring people together.” At the forefront of the effort will be “local changemakers across the country.”
I’ll go out on a limb and say its endgame is the enforcement of a collectivist narrative, the abolition of local control, and the top-down centralized control of all communities. After all, that’s the pattern of every Obama policy, most notably health care and education. Naturally, Obama put a hearts-and-flowers spin on the project:
Currently, the initiative focuses on urban communities, with pilot programs in Chicago, Detroit, and Jackson, Mississippi. But the ultimate goal is to flood the nooks and crannies of all America’s local communities with “changemakers” and “influencers” who have been trained to recruit everybody into accepting a woke narrative and to silence any voice of dissent. That’s always what socialists mean when they claim to “bring people together.”
Consider first how this effort fits organizationally. The Change Collective is one of many groups listed under the umbrella organization Civic Nation, headed by Obama Foundation Chief Executive Officer Valerie Jarrett. Civic Nation serves as a clearinghouse for the numerous hard-left efforts to consolidate political power — from former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” ballot box-stuffing operation to all previous campaigns related to the Obamas’ ongoing project to fundamentally transform America.
The Change Collective was inaugurated this year almost simultaneously with the Obama Foundation’s Leaders Program in the United States, several years after the Obama Foundation initiated Leaders Programs in Africa (2018), Asia and the Pacific (2019), and Europe (2020). This is an effort to force change at the community level, parallel with national and global efforts.
Consider also the term “change collective” and what it supposedly means: “to build a more equitable, welcoming, and inclusive democracy” that connects people of all persuasions. This is an Orwellian vision that might sound fine to politically untrained ears, but it represents a new phase in Alinskyite community organizing. The jargon is not hard to translate. It is “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) in a nutshell, the same woke agenda of DEI that requires identity politics and political correctness to be baked into every policy at every level.
Indeed, the introductory words “empower emerging leaders to bring people together” literally mean that Obama’s organization serves to give power to new (“emerging”) leaders — kicking out those with “old” ideas — in order to bring everyone into its fold. You won’t have any choice in the matter. It’s the same process that results in attacks on free speech in all institutions, especially in academia.
Political activists are being trained to turn every local community into a satellite of the Washington, D.C., bureaucracy and to turn every little red community to blue. Community organizing begins in urban areas, but the endgame is the homogenization of all of America, including rural America, and ultimately all of the globe. There is no room for diversity of thought, no room for the uniqueness of individuals.
How will they do it? By connecting with people on a personal level.
Exploiting the Power of Personal Relationships
As Obama explained in his one-minute video, the Change Collective is “a way to bring emerging leaders from different identities and backgrounds together and help them build relationships and solve problems in their communities. … Because real change happens one person, one community, one connection at a time. And we all need to learn how to better work with folks who have different backgrounds and beliefs.”
So the program intends to “change” those “different backgrounds and beliefs” to align with its woke agenda. And, apparently, it will do so in a time-tested way: through persuasion and influence via one-on-one personal relationships.
Conservatives would do well to understand this. Real change actually does happen one person at a time. It does happen one community, one relationship at a time. If more people understood this in the proper context — with a sense of goodwill instead of in the framework of manipulating people — America would be a freer and kinder place.
Intent is key. One side offers real friendship and treats each person as a fellow human being worthy of dignity. The other side sees people as tools, befriending them for the purpose of pushing a political agenda in which their individuality and individual rights are abolished. One side argues: Do what you want, but do no harm, and respect the right to think differently. The other side ultimately argues: You’re doing harm, do what I tell you, and if you don’t I’ll have you reported and canceled.
Sadly, influencers of the Change Collective won’t pursue relationships in the organic and spontaneous way that people of goodwill instinctively understand those interactions. Rather, they’d have to do so aggressively and purposefully. They’d first “listen,” and then get to work persuading. If the changemakers do their job as trained, at the end of the day there’s no room for diversity of thought.
Changing through Personal Influence
When First Lady Michelle Obama addressed Oberlin’s graduating class of 2015, she also spoke about the power of personal one-on-one interactions to influence and change a person’s point of view. She advised the graduates to seek out people who disagreed with them politically instead of hanging out with like-minded people. Here is what she said:
Today, I want to urge you to actively seek out the most contentious, polarized, gridlocked places you can find. Because so often, throughout our history, those have been the places where progress really happens — the places where minds are changed, lives transformed, where our great American story unfolds.
Can you see where Michelle was going with this? She understands that the people we personally know and trust have enormous influence on our thinking and our speech. However, she is not talking about spontaneous relationships that allow for truly open conversation in a spirit of mutual respect. Rather, she is looking to recruit an organized army of proselytizers — “influencers” — who can cultivate trust on a personal scale in order to deliberately bring people to convert to her narrative and values.
Freedom lovers must learn to tune in to the underlying truth of the power of personal relationships. But we must do so with intentions of goodwill when reaching out to others who don’t share our views. And we must express our true beliefs without the self-censorship that political correctness demands. This is the only way to counter left-wing invasions of good-hearted communities that use the goodwill of Americans against them in order to undermine their individual freedoms. Such personal manipulation is literally one of Alinsky’s rules for radicals.
So be a real friend to others, not an “influencer” who seeks to exploit people under the guise of friendship to push for a collectivist agenda. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of “changemakers” who pretend to come to “depolarize,” but are really seeking to colonize your town and your mind.
We should be actively campaigning — in our own one-on-one ways — for a rebirth of true localism, civil society, and freedom. This means looking out for your neighbor’s well-being and minding your own business at the same time. It means caring for others without looking for political favors in return.
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