If You Build an Agenda, They Will Come

Well, JP, no malice intended. (I wrote that blog at like 1:30 AM, is that an excuse?) Perhaps our differences are in terms of lumping versus splitting. And, for the record, what I said was, you would have the Tea Partiers like whining teenagers; I did not accuse you of whining. I suppose the intent is not far off, though.

I have my own personal multifaceted agenda regarding the Tea Party. First of all, I do want them to succeed, assuming that their agenda jibes with my somehow. I also want to understand them and those who disagree with them. All of that requires at least a little specificity, however. I think you approach this allied more closely with them than I do; so I feel like an observer, you more of a compatriot. I detect more heart, less head from you in this category!

Let’s get to the issue of empowering the “99%” of us. When I was in Houston, many of the Occupiers carried signs that said they were the 99%. I am pretty sure we can agree that recognizing the Regular Guy is a key plank in their platform. I also think we agree that how to do that is really difficult. Here’s a question, more fundamental. What is “recognition”?

Cynically, jobs are certainly a component. The very conservatives say, once these protesters have jobs, their protest would be over. Others would say there’s more to it. But jobs are critical, agreed. And some sense of equity in pay is also an issue. We’re not simply jealous of zillion-dollar executives, and crying ‘unfair’ is also inadequate. What is really at stake is that the concentration of wealth has superseded actual democracy. This is the crux of the matter, the nut to crack.

The Tea Party thinks it happens through largely Libertarian means; reduce the government, reduce the taxes. They have a near religious faith in capitalism; the purer the better. I assert that those are counterproductive methods, but they have every right to that opinion. Is it safe to say that the Occupiers take the opposite approach? Use the government to facilitate recognition, and have more progressive taxes? Reich likes that, and so do you, JP.

The purpose of a protest is to sway the public dialogue, and that must be done through media attention. The Occupiers are accomplishing that, to their credit. I am afraid that as their specific agenda is fleshed out, and assuming that recognizing ordinary Americans remains integral to the mission, the only way to get some actual results is through voting, especially by replacing a heck of a lot of US Representatives. And that body is working very hard to make that sort of change as unlikely as possible.

In the meantime, the Occupiers need to get some goals, around which regular people can rally.


About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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