They Have Come

Jim, no malice taken. I’ve written posts at 1:30 a.m. myself. I think we’re probably more in agreement than disagreement. I think because you live in Texas you are much more surrounded by tea party people and thought than I am, so have to deal with them more directly. (I feel for you, man.) You say you want them to succeed in as much as you agree with them, and that of course is the crux. It seems to me that if they have an agenda it is to destroy the government and let our lives be ruled entirely by corporations. I don’t think the rank and file of the tea party necessarily understand that, or what it would really mean, and that seems to be their goal (at least as an outside observer, far from their centers of protest). You say about the Occupy movement that if they build an agenda they will come. My only question is who you mean by “they.” For they have come. There are now over 900 sites occupied worldwide with hundreds of thousands of people. In Rome and a couple other places they turned violent, but largely they have been peaceful. Saturday was the big day of global protest, and our old stomping grounds of Iowa City participated (no surprise there).
And your hope for specific demands is starting to take shape as the movement grows and settles in. (For the record, and I’m just asking because I don’t remember–it seems like the tea party did not take off like this. I don’t remember them getting 900 protests going around the country and world in one weekend. It seems like their large rallies happened only after weeks of hype and promotion on Fox News; that I remember well. I think it may be the difference between a movement pushed by outside money and one that just happens more organically.) So stay tuned, your specific goals are coming (and I of course think they’ve been there taking shape all along).
You are right that I am perhaps more a compatriot of the protesters while you are more an observer, and while I haven’t yet attended a protest here, I may well. And you are partly right that actual results will only come by voting, by replacing a heck of a lot of the people in congress (as I’ve said, the crux of the problem is that those people in congress no longer represent the American people, but rather their corporate funders). I do think though, that movements like this can scare some of the people currently in congress to change and to start listen to and vote for the interests of their constituents. For that you need to make it very clear to them that it is a large and sustained movement that isn’t going away, and it just may be that. The powers that be may have overplayed their hand and put down the people hard enough that this time they won’t go quietly back into complacency, because that option has been taken away from them.
The rich will always be rich; the question is whether they are happy being rich in a country with a strong middle class, or if they want to be obscenely wealthy by destroying middle class. Their greed has pushed them too far towards the latter, and the protests are showing that the people are recognizing that. What really needs to happen now, I think, is to make the movement spread and be about more than protest gatherings, for that will fade (with the weather, and as energy and supplies begin to wane). It needs to keep going in the form of house meetings, getting involved in local political parties and pushing their agenda, taking over the system from within the system, keeping the pressure on Washington and the people in congress even without thousands of people in the streets. And that can happen, and perhaps the biggest challenge in that is getting the media to continue to pay attention. Of course, even if thousands stayed in the streets, the media will soon grow tired of covering them (just look at their lack of coverage of the wars the past couple years; eventually they just see things as old news and stop covering them. I was talking with a neighbor this summer and we wondered about the fires in Texas. They had been the big story in the news for a week, then were just dropped. We couldn’t get news on TV about whether the fires were stopped or if the media had just moved on to the next story. Journalism is dead in America. Without the Internet the protests probably wouldn’t have happened, at least this large and this fast, and because of the Internet they can keep going even when the media stops paying attention and people leave the streets and move on to the next phase of taking the country back.)

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About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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