Among the political left, certain personalities seem to carry with them an air of invincibility and utter immunity to serious criticism, but recent developments in Illinois suggest that when it comes to the hierarchy of wokeness, nobody is truly safe.
Chicago ABC affiliate WLS reports that amid discussions over renaming two schools in the Waukegan Community Unit School District 60, a suggestion to honor Barack and Michelle Obama was met with fierce resistance from “Latinx” community organizers, who labeled the former president an “oppressor” due to the number of deportations that occurred during his administration.
The issue arose in relation to the district’s decision to change the names of Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Daniel Webster Middle Schools over their namesakes’ historical links to slavery. The school district developed renaming committees for each of the schools, inviting community members, staff, and students to participate in the process, according to WLS.
The committee charged with bringing forth ideas for Thomas Jefferson Middle School announced that among the top three options formulated was that of naming the school in honor of the nation’s first Black president and first lady.
Surprisingly, the proposal was met with swift opposition from members of the so-called Latinx community, with school board member Edgar Castellanos – himself a formerly undocumented immigrant – declaring:
I will not be part of renaming a school after someone who did not and does not represent the undocumented community.
Local immigration activist Julie Contreras added her voice to those who do not support honoring the Obamas, saying that while president, Barack Obama did not fulfill promises made to undocumented individuals, adding:
From the time Barack Obama became president until 2017 when he left, he today is still the highest ranking president with deportations in our nation. We fell that Barack Obama did disservice to us. He denied us, and he didn’t stop the deportations, the way he promised.
The turn of events in Waukegan is particularly interesting given that some might consider the Obamas to be perfectly emblematic of the left’s willingness to erase those with whom they disagree politically. Earlier this year, for example, Michelle Obama called on social media giants to permanently ban former President Donald Trump from their platforms in the wake of Jan. 6 unrest at the Capitol, as CNBC noted.
However, it is also worth noting that even Barack Obama seemed to appreciate the dangers such tactics pose to civil society, saying back in 2019 that those who focus on being “politically woke” need to “get over that quickly,” adding that “the world is messy, there are ambiguities, and people who do really good stuff have flaws.”
As the controversy in Waukegan clearly illustrates, though, even seemingly untouchable liberal heroes such as the Obamas can sometimes find themselves subject to the old – slightly paraphrased – maxim of “live by the woke sword, die by the woke sword,” depending on which grievance group has the floor.