Time magazine, in honor of Thanksgiving dinners across the country, felt it appropriate to put its American readers at the kids table this week, giving them a cover they could handle while the rest of the world got the real news, the scary stuff…
So, in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, their readers were greeted with a cover depicting the ongoing struggles in Egypt, demonstrated by a photo of a revolutionary, who stands in defiance of their miliary and still forming government, demanding democracy.
In America, we got a cover story about how anxiety is actually good for us…
And this is probably a good thing considering our politicians don’t listen to the people, they listen to think tanks…our police departments are now militarized and in many major cities, assaults, murders and even rape investigations are given lower priority than drug cases, which make money for police departments…oh, and our state leaders are trying to push through a settlement with the major banks over their fraudulent foreclosure practices that will do nothing to help the victims of their fraud…and again, no one in the banking industry sees the inside of a jail cell…
Our democracy is the dog and pony show for those who purchased their own rule of law.
So yeah, Time magazine would certainly not want Americans, in light of the growing unrest in this country, to be greeted by images of what some people outside this country are doing, are seeing as a solution to many of the same problems being experienced here, in America, where truth and reality exist as someone else’s version, the correctness of which can only be confirmed by big media outlets owned by those with a vested interest in keeping the vast majority of people powerless.
It’s a closed system they don’t want opened…but it is time to open it…
Get involved in your community, discuss your own versions of the truth, and your own solutions and then make your own demands…and don’t stop. What’s the worst that can happen, maybe a little less isolation and the realization that you can work with your neighbors to make your lives better?
Hell, we all might even wind up a lot more empowered…and a little less anxious.
Which is probably why when I heard of the Occupy Wall Street protest, my first question was: if they are trying to cause trouble on Wall Street, why the hell are they doing the protest on a Saturday? At the time, I didn’t know it was going to be an ongoing thing, but even when I found that out my cynicism remained. I expected the usual mish-mash from the left, individuals with individual signs representing each and every cause, from PETA to Anti-Police Brutality, from ending the wars to ending whatever else they now wanted to end. I used to live in San Francisco and it would oftentimes seem not a week could go by without some kind of march down Market Street, just like it also seemed that the same people came to every protest; there was no unified message, just everybody cradling their pet cause, making a lot of noise, but really, doing very little.
After all, the civil rights era is long over and the police/government have had forty plus years to figure out how to marginalize a march into nothingness. Sure, maybe marches help build community, but what do they actually accomplish?
So, Occupy Wall Street…cool, yeah…okay.
Well, I’ve been working on my cynicism of late, trying to mute it a bit, which doesn’t mean I now feel protest marches are effective.
But this occupy Wall Street thing?
Been watching it build over the past couple of weeks and yes, their appears to be no unifying message beyond anger at the banks for screwing over this country and anger at the government letting them do it, and believe me you, I get that. I personally wouldn’t have a problem if Wall Street erupted in flames, burned all the way to the ground. Nope. I’d bring beer and marshmallows, celebrate…just like I celebrate these rumors about Bank of America being in real financial trouble, especially now that Kamala Harris and California have backed out of the mortgage fraud settlement. Good. Bank of America belly up? No problem. Fuck ’em. All those bank bail-outs, too big to fail? Government gives the money directly to the banks rather than giving it to the people in trouble with their mortgages so they could then give the money to the banks…you know, banks still get rescued, plus the people get to keep their houses too. Might have been a good idea. Apparently, politicians thought not, you know, because banks give politicians way more money than home-owners and banks wanted to cut out the middle man so yeah, okay, fuck the politicians too, but…I digress. Point is, hell yeah I get it.
So like I said, I been watching the occupation protests, the arrests, the developments, the growth, the union endorsements, the increase in news coverage, their unwillingness to be moved and over time I realized something…
I don’t want to sit around and be a cynic anymore.
That cynicism is too self-defeating.
True, at the end of the day…after the occupation is all said and done, who ya gonna vote for, whatever sociopath the GOP puts up or Barack Obama’s austerity-lite? Those choices won’t change, but something else could, something more important than two political yahoo’s running for president, and that something is the narrative.
That’s what the Occupy Wall Street protests seem to be changing right now.
For the past few months all we have been hearing from politicians, both Democrat and Republican is how this is the age of austerity, cutbacks, tightening our belts. The mainstream media outlets echoed it, the commercials preached it, the banks and corporations nodded their heads in assent…but that is beginning to change. The occupation is helping to prompt questions, getting people to think about Wall Street greed just a bit more. Fucking Sean Hannity actually called in and interviewed/trashed a protestor on his show, so yeah, even the corporations/banks/GOP apologists are now paying attention to the occupation, at least inasmuch as they are trying to discredit the whole thing, and that acknowledgment is change.
And it isn’t just 5000 people in the park in New York anymore, yesterday it was also 3000 people marching against Bank of America in Boston.
The narrative is altering, and the narrative can be more urgent and more important than both the politicians and corporations combined.
People, in their homes, in the bars, in the parks, in the restaurants and at the grocery stores…people talking about the wealthy, the top 1% and how they don’t pay their fair share. People are talking about Wall Street, not as that faraway place with the stock markets and the investors and whatnot, they’re talking about the role of Wall Street, of those markets, of the costs those who work there are exacting on the rest of the country. People are talking about the banks, about withdrawing money from the big banks and going local to their community institutions.
It’s much more talking than usual, and that ain’t a bad thing. This could be the beginning of something bigger and this is not the time for cynicism. Alas, true, this whole episode could fizzle out rather quickly, kind of fade into just another series of left wing war story, like more lost tales from the Seattle WTO uprising, but it doesn’t have to. Much will depend on our cynicism, both individual and collective…yours, mine and theirs.
If you want to write these protests off, dismiss them as nothing, as hopeless, you certainly can, just as you can slag the protestors because maybe you don’t particularly care for their methods…or because they look funny, they’re disorganized or more importantly…maybe you trash them because they haven’t given up. Well, if that’s the case, then you have two choices really, you can leave well enough alone and go figure out why you thought it better to complain from the sidelines, or you can suspend your doubts and get involved, be creative, help, give it a chance and be a part of building a newer narrative because really, what else we got going on?
Sitting around, waiting to vote next year?
Besides, cynicism is precisely what politicians and Wall Street are counting on and I’d rather not give them what they want.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses. They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions. They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay. They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce. They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them. They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil. They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit. They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
Seems pretty reasonable, these and many other concerns, most based on problems with a system and its institutions that place profits over the lives of people, both at home and abroad, oftentimes accomplished through the contribution of large sums of money from the banks and corporations, and the wealthiest few of this country, making sure they are heard by the politicians…not the other 99% of us.
So yes, the protestors are out there getting heard, and asking for others to join them in being heard and yes, we can certainly make fun and do nothing, but when done with that, what do we got but the same fucking problems we had before so…
Nah, don’t want to be cynical anymore.
Rather read up on what’s going on, be a part of it and think about change with an open mind and a sense of the possible as opposed to the safe self-conceit of the negative…
It’s our choice, they’re our freedoms.
And we might want to think hard, because if this should continue to grow, if this should eventually provoke change, if this should teach a new generation about what they can do, what they can make happen…do you really think the banks, the mainstream media and the powers that be are going to let something like this ever happen again?
Sometimes all you get is one shot.
So, make it count, seek solutions and let’s all change this narrative for good.
I suppose it should come as no surprise that Republicans aren’t the only entity Obama and his administration simply rolls over for.
Economist after economist state the people won’t believe in economic recovery until the people who created the recession are brought to justice. And, economist after economist say the banks and Wall Street will not change their ways until people responsible begin to see the walls of jail cells…so, in keeping with these times of paying attentions to studies and experts to seek honest solutions to structural problems, the administration appears poised to let the evildoers of the mortgage fraud scandal off with a fine.
But it’s a really big fine…really big…so there.
And of course, I’m sure…the banks will neither admit to, nor deny wrongdoing…
“State and federal prosecutors are pressing to complete a proposed settlement with the nation’s five largest home loan companies over alleged mortgage abuses, even though they’ve only initiated a limited investigation that hasn’t examined the full extent of the alleged wrongdoing, according to interviews with more than two dozen officials and others familiar with the state and federal probes.
The deal with the mortgage companies would broadly absolve the firms of wrongdoing in exchange for penalties reaching $30 billion and assurances that the firms will adhere to better practices going forward, these sources told The Huffington Post. Negotiators met in Washington last week to hash out the settlement.”
Unless the law is applied equally, the rule of law is dead.