Sunday, October 9, 2011

NYC Leads an American Spring

Like many great things in America, it began right here in NYC. 

A month ago, Wall Street was quiet. The streets of America were quiet. For the American power elite, everything was as it should be. Things were looking up! The political parties they had bought and the government they controlled were duly bending to their will. The hated President Obama's approval ratings were tanking and it seemed like only a matter of time before he would be replaced by their favorite whore, Mitt Romney. The richest 1% and their conservative Tea Party allies -- who only have contempt for the poor, the unemployed, the young, the dispossessed, the unlucky, basically anyone who isn't them -- were on the ascendant and these hated "others" seemed to be withering away. The country was going the power elite's way -- with them owning and controlling everything and the rest of us literally and metaphorically dying. Good times were here again! 

Then the streets of NYC came alive and America soon followed.

And the American power elite is freaking out!

It's impossible to guess what the Occupy Wall Street movement will lead to. The American left has a poor track record of grabbing and holding onto political power for very long and affecting huge change. The American right is better at it since they're better financed, better organized, and, in many ways, better motivated. It's easier to get motivated when your afraid of losing something concrete (namely, huge wealth and a privledged position in society) then it is to get motivated about gaining something abstractly better (namely, closing the gap between the rich and poor and a better job). Machiavelli wrote about how the enemies of reform will attack more fiercely than the advocates of reform will fight for their cause since the enemies have a clearer idea of what they'll lose than the advocates have of what they'll gain. This is largely what the power game throughout time has been all about.

But at the moment the other 99% are striking back. The advocates of reform are on the march! They're organizing, making noise, and drawing attention to the grotesque economic disparities in our country and how our government is owned by and operated by the rich few instead of by and for the regular many. The poor and the middle class have done something that they usually have a huge problem doing -- changing the national dialogue, forcing the media to take notice, and scaring the heck out of our bought and paid for government. Right now it's called Occupy Wall Street but it's turning into an American Spring.

Oh, and is the power elite scared! The right wing/Tea Party/Republican Party/Big Media are having a conniption. They're swinging wildly, saying stupid things, unable to comprehend the power of the sleeping giant that's been awoken. 

For example, the loathsome Republican Congressman Peter King recently said, "It's a ragtag mob." It even reminds him of protests in the 1960s which he didn't like since "it ended up shaping policy. We can't allow that to happen." I guess Peter King thinks civil rights and ending the Vietnam war were bad things! Such stupid, thoughtful statements are pure gold for Occupy Wall Street and makes Mr. King the epitome of a useful idiot. Keep up the good work Congressman!

The right wing counter attack has already began and hopefully Occupy Wall Street will ready the counter-counter attack -- and hang their opponents with their own words. Mr. King's words are a good start. So are those of pathetic presidential hopeful Herman Cain who said that if people are unemployed and not rich then it's "your fault." Yeah, try running for president saying that. See how many votes you get. Also wonderful is scumbag Congressman Eric Cantor who has called these protestors as "growing mobs" -- mobs that hopefully will turn into voters and will throw the likes of Eric Cantor out of office.

Mayor Bloomberg -- that billionaire-best-friend-of-the working stiff -- has called the protests "ridiculous." He thinks that people being upset about how their government and society is screwed up is just pure silliness. Yes, tell an unemployed person that he or she is silly -- and then count yourself lucky to walk away without a bloody nose.

Even worse is Bloomberg's girlfriend, the supremely arrogant Diana Taylor. Oh, this is one screwy broad. She recently said in an interview that President Obama has "a lot to learn," apparently because he doesn't completely (only mostly) sell his soul to business and has the temerity (again, only somewhat) to care about people who aren't multimillionaires like her. And Ms. Taylor says that she would have run against and beaten Senator Gillibrand last year but just didn't feel like it. See, she didn't just want to be one of 100 senators, that wouldn't be any fun. This kind of elititest, arrogant, "I'm rich so I know better," screw everyone else kind of stuff goes on and on in this interview. And in the end, Ms. Taylor thinks that what's wrong with America is that most Americans are morons. As the brilliant Alex Pareene of Salon writes: "Mayor Bloomberg, partner diagnose what's wrong with America: You." 

Yes, you, me, and those Americans outside of the rich elite, those of us without powerful connections, those of us who just want to work for a living and live a nice life without killing our souls, yes -- we're the problem! Someone all of us blew up the economy in 2008 -- not the bankers on Wall Street or their employees in the government who let it happen. And these people wonder why Americans are pissed and what Occupy Wall Street gets bigger and more powerful everyday. 

As I've said, I have no idea how Occupy Wall Street will play out politically or if it will change anything. Sadly, big money has a way of shutting down even the most forceful people powered organizations. But hope springs eternal. 

In June of this year, I wrote about how happy I was that gay marriage was legalized in New York and how unthinkable this was just a few short years ago. But I also wrote about how the next front in the war for social justice, now that the war on gay people in New York was won, was ending the war on the middle class and the poor. I held out hope then that something might happen on this front, I just didn't know what it might be. Sadly, I had no good ideas myself. 

But Occupy Wall Street was just the spark I was looking for, and hopefully it will only continue to get more powerful and, a year from now, affect the elections and government policy. Hopefully something good for the middle class and the poor is coming and enemies of reform will be crushed. The tide is turning on the power elite's war on the rest of us.

Here in the streets of NYC, the battle has been joined.

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