Is OWS the Real Center?

Even as the movement grows, what coverage there is (on Monday, the NBC nightly news with Brian Williams didn’t mention it, despite the record numbers and number of protests over the weekend) continues to paint the movement as a bunch of radical lefties. A couple columns illustrate that point well. See this from the Wall Street Journal. Okay, yes, they are conservative, and they are seen as the reasonable conservatives by the business class, even by those who recognize that Fox News isn’t fair or balanced, so it is worth noting here. Compare that to what I’ll call the public media, that not funded by corporations, that which doesn’t yet reach the numbers needed, but is growing, that which, if you will, gives the lie to the via media (I wish there was a true via media, but what passes for it in America is really just the corporate media). This great column by Richard Eskow from the Campaign for America’s Future takes down the WSJ column using, you know, facts, polling data, and logic. It shows that polling of America as a whole and of the OWS movement shows they are almost completely in agreement; that rather than being the fringe left, OWS is the center. When Brian Williams or Scott Pelley report that, I’ll eat my hat. A brief quote of the highlights (though if you have doubts please read the whole article):The public agrees with OWS on health care: 65% of protesters believe government should guarantee health care for all. In the last major poll on the subject, 64% of voters said the same thing.
The public agrees with OWS on taxes: 77% of OWS participants want to raise taxes on the wealthy; according to the Marist polling organization, 68% of all voters – including 68% of independents – agree with them.
The public agrees with OWS on a secure retirement: 65% of protesters think the government should guarantee a secure retirement. 70% of all voters – including 73% of independents – agree with them.
I think all this shows that the media is part of our problem. If the people thought their voice was being heard and reported in the media, maybe they wouldn’t have to protest. And when they are ignored by both the politicians and by what passes as mainstream journalism or via media, then the only choice they have left is to take to the streets.
On a side note, I really don’t think any of the Republican candidates have a chance to get more votes than Obama, no matter what the unemployment rate is. That doesn’t mean one of them won’t win. The most surprising thing to me in this election cycle is how silent the Democrats (and heck, the justice department) have been in the face of all the state laws (I think in over 14 states now) that have passed or are in the process of passing laws that are designed to suppress the vote, largely of the poor and minorities–you know, the kind of people who vote Democratic. The new Wisconsin law is estimated to disenfranchise around a half million voters who don’t have state IDs or who now won’t be able to vote early or at a location they can easily get to. My old state of Iowa is now getting into the act. I have to wonder if they’re starting to wonder what they were thinking in giving the governor’s mansion back to Terry Branstad. The Brennan Center for Justice has a new report summarizing the new laws. Their introduction begins “Ahead of the 2012 elections, a wave of legislation tightening restrictions on voting has suddenly swept across the country. More than five million Americans could be affected by the new rules already put in place this year — a number larger than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.”

Democrats, and the country–all who believe in Democracy and that voting is a right (in most developed countries you are eligible to vote merely by the fact of being a citizen; it’s only here that we have separate registrations and all these crazy laws to suppress the vote; WI claims they’re broke, and their new law to suppress the vote is estimated to cost at least $8 million, so I guess we know where their priorities really are–are ignoring all this at their peril.

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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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