the Dream and the Mechanic
Once upon a time there was a lawyer and community organizer (CO) who really, really wanted to become a mechanic. There was an industrial arts college near him but he wasn’t making much money with his law degree and couldn’t yet afford the tuition. He didn’t know what to do so he asked his pastor.
“God damn, America,” said the pleasant older man. “Those Jewish White bankers are standing in everybody’s way . . . if you want to do God’s will the Wright-way, and find a way to make them stop obstructing our Black Liberation Theology goals and get them ponying up for the good of God’s earthly representative then you, son, will be justly rewarded!”
The community organizer was astonished. “You mean Jesus is back here on earth? In my reading of the Koran, I knew that would happen some day, but now?”
“God-double-damn, America, son! You’re interpreting things all wrong or my name isn’t Wright! Yes, Jesus is found in both books, but the earthly representative I’m talking about is ACORN! Put your trust in ACORN and all will work out Wright!”
The CO was very confused. “What,” he said to himself, “does an oak-seed have to do with me becoming a mechanic?”
But he put his faith in Wright-thinking, it had never failed him before . . . . And the community organizer took on another job where he could use his law degree working for a pleasant little group called ACORN. His new ACORN job was actually a lot of fun and he was very good at it. Using the techniques from a course he taught called “Rules for Radicals” based upon the thinking of a sweet man now deceased named Saul Alinsky, the community organizer would call upon mortgage-companies and persuade them to make very, very stupid loans to people who couldn’t ever be expected to pay off their loans . . . .
If he found a man without any ID, his job was to get him a housing loan. If he found a family with neither partner working, his job was to get them a housing loan. If people had to list food stamps as “income,” his job was to get them a housing loan. If people had terribe credit ratings, his job was to get them a housing loan. If people didn’t even have a rental history to show on the application forms, his job was to get them a housing loan. If people were on welfare or even were illegal aliens, his job was to get them a housing loan.
Once while he was talking to a friend named Bill (who used to make and plant bombs aimed at killing policemen, whose main job now was telling teachers how to inspire their students) who was now ghostwriting the community organizer’s first book about his communist father’s dreams, the community organizer said, “Ayers, how exactly does all this work?” I know it’s good that we pull off the Revolution and all so that everybody’s equal . . . but isn’t it dangerous getting all these billions of dollars in loans for people who won’t ever be able to repay them? I mean where’s the hope and change in bankrupting the whole system like that?”
Ayers, pushed away the stack of disorganized, notes, tapes and other collected jibberish he had in front of him . . . “B.O., my friend, the country is a lot like these notes of yours you left me to fit together . . . right now, it’s just a mess. But one of these days with the right intelligence behind it, it’ll be a masterpiece. In the case of the book, the right intelligence is me organizing the whole thing, planning it out and then making all the little things ‘sing’ like I did in my own two books. In the case of the country it’s the Revolution. When we’re done with it, it’ll be a Utopia and the whole country and everyone in it will ‘sing,’ that is, everyone will cooperate perfectly and we’ll see that all the necessaries are given to everyone in accordance with his needs and everything will be taken from everyone in accordance with their abilities.” At that moment, Michelle, the CO’s wife came in, “Barack baby, quit bothering Bill it’s your turn to wash the dishes.”
Well yes, Ayers’ ideas did make sense but still he’d read where in 1975 only one in every 404 home loans was made for 3% downpayment or less; and today (1995) thanks to his work, one in every seven home loans was made with 3% downpayment or less. And he was getting a lot of his clients into $500,000 homes . . . oh well. And he’d go to bed every night, dreaming of becoming a mechanic and of the Revolution and he’d say his meditations and end with ‘God-double-damn, America, AMEN!’ and sleep sound happy-dreamfilled sleep.
In his favorite dream, one that repeated all the time, he was talking about a ditch and a car in the ditch. Somehow, some fool had driven the car into the ditch because the CO’s mechanical work had been really, really poor and he’d gummed up the steering and messed up the brakes by getting a huge ACORN jammed in under them and even made the windshield wipers stick out on either side of the car . . . and here he was talking to a big crowd just like the Reverend Wright might and he was talking about the poor fool that had driven the car into the ditch because he was drunk or something . . . but really in his dream the CO knew that somehow his mechanicking and his ACORNing had really done it and yet even though it was a mess and he had caused it, somehow he was sure it would work out all Wright and Utopia was on the horizon. And he slept very soundly.
Ya’ll live long, strong and ornery,