With each passing day, President Joe Biden defines the direction of his new Administration. Optimists might hope that the theme of unity in his inauguration address would result in some gestures of goodwill toward conservatives. However, the towering stacks of divisive executive orders dash those hopes and prepare the stage for conflict.
One minor gesture speaks volumes about the President’s radical agenda. Missing from the Oval Office is the bust of Sir Winston Churchill. In its place is a bronze bust of California union activist Cesar Chavez.
The departure of the Churchill bust is both ironic and deliberate.
It is ironic because the figure of Churchill could have proved an inspiration for the times.
“We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency,” President Biden recently commented. What better model for handling an emergency than Sir Winston? He took England through the war by uniting all factions and focusing on the crisis at hand. His leadership, tenacity and wit would be very welcome in a divided America.
Although controversial, none can deny that Churchill had his shining moments. The departure of his bust sends a signal not to expect any flourish of Churchillian grandeur or magnificence of expression. There is no room for statesmen of stature anymore. Now is a time of little men, petty politics and narrow horizons.
The Cesar Chavez bust represents these new times. This placement was very deliberate. The Biden transition team went to the Visitor Center of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene, California, to ask for the sculpted bust displayed there. The team knew what it represented. It sends a message of what can be expected from the Biden Administration.
For those too young to know, Cesar Chavez was a union organizer for the United Farm Workers in the sixties and seventies. Like Barack Obama, he was a follower of Saul Alinsky. He trained with the Community Services Organization (CSO) in California, a creation of Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation. Thus, he served the Revolution all his life.
In 1965, he led a boycott of farm produce and table grapes that established his fame as a labor organizer. He also became the darling of the Catholic left who supported his efforts to organize farm workers and his fight against the rival Teamsters Union. Now a footnote in American history, Chavez’s name was synonymous with leftist causes in the turbulent sixties and seventies.
By choosing Cesar Chavez as his Oval Office bust, the new President establishes a clear link with the left of the distant past. He manifests his desire to reinforce his stature among unionists and the Catholic left. He follows in former President Obama’s footsteps.
The move unites around an activist who was divisive and remains so to many who remember his violent strikes. Chavez was not reassuring since many feared his communist sympathies and ties.
Thus, the choice of Chavez’s bust reflects well the direction of the new Administration. His Cabinet and other officers’ choices are figures with connections to a leftist past, many being pro-abortion Catholics. Yet others are on the cutting edge of liberal and LGBTQ+ causes. Each is like Chavez, a faithful soldier marching to the same beat of the left.
The vulgar celebrations of the left announce an ominous future that will purge the nation of any who hold values different from its own. Churchill’s bust must go, along with any who might remind others of past greatness. Under Cesar’s shadow, all must now reflect socialist utopian dreams of an elusive world of total equality and radical unrestraint.
IMAGE CREDIT Joel Levine CC BY 3.0