The “Powers That Be” which in Washington, DC consists mainly of the collective pundits, politicians and their entourages, and various well-paid shills for special interest groups, keep trying to smoke out the protesters. The Powers That Be simply can’t deal with a shape-shifting mass that doesn’t come with a prepared list of demands. It’s frustrating for the Powers That Be, mainly because without a list, they are unable to slice it and dice it, spin it and refudiate it, mock it and lie about it. In a nutshell, they can’t attack it or embrace it. They can’t CONTROL it. Which is exactly the point.
The protestors don’t seem to want to change the players. They want to change the game, a game they have come to perceive as rigged, not only against them but against all of myths upon which this country has rested for more than 200 years.
One of those myths is that anyone can get ahead with enough pluck, enough hard work, enough self-sufficiency. America was a MERITOCRACY! It didn’t matter where you came from or who your parents were, as long as you had a good work ethic and a little ambition, you could move up in the world.
The five Hispanic guys who worked from 7 am to 8 pm re-roofing the house next to mine in 100 degree heat last summer looked like they had pluck, enough work ethic, enough ambition to get ahead. But the Powers That Be have been spending the last three years debating the best way to keep guys like that out of the country. A fence? An electric fence? Dogs? Moats? Guys with guns? Go after the employers? Let the cops pull any guy with a dark complexion over to give him a shakedown?
Those protesters (we’ll call them the 99% for shorthand) identify a lot more with those Hispanic guys than they do with anyone in Congress, even liberals like my own representative. Why? Because the Hispanic guys and the 99% have been forced to play the same rigged game. The Hispanic guys just have to do it with 40 pound bags of sand tied around their waist.
The oil that allows the American Political Machine to run is money. If you have money, you affect change in the system. If you don’t have money, you’re fucked. Forget one man, one vote. You’re fucked.
The Koch Brothers have announced they plan to spend somewhere around $240 million in the 2012 elections. Two-hundred and forty MILLION dollars. But of course, they only have two votes, so my wife and I have equal opportunity to sway the election, right?
The 99% don’t have to think about this. It’s in their DNA. They understand a genetic pre-disposition to being fucked by the system. That’s why is so incredibly stupid for the main stream media to stick a camera in the face of a kid named Sequoia Brooktrout and ask him what he’s protesting. Sequoia doesn’t represent the 99%. He’s just a kid out to have a good time, maybe get laid. The 99% are the people who used to gather at the union hall, back when unions had some actual clout. They’re the people whose kids can’t afford to get into college, can’t even afford to go to welding school. They’re the people who bought what the banks were selling — interest-only mortgages on houses three times larger than they could afford.
The Republicans want to discredit the 99% and the Democrats want to pre-empt them. Good luck on both accounts. Both political parties are little more than assemblages of whores, pandering to whatever special interest is willing to rent them for an election cycle. The 99% recognizes this. The Democrats are like 50-year-old hookers in hot pants and spandex. They might have been attractive, even sexy once but they’re pretty repulsive when you take a close look at them. And the Republicans are even worse. Unless, of course, you’re a Tea Partier.
Although neither side wants to admit it, I think the Tea Party and the 99% have a lot in common. The major difference is that the Tea Party sees the problem as Big Government. Their solution is to wreck the engine of government by taking away its oil: tax money.
The 99% see the problem as the corruption of government by corporate and other special interests. While they haven’t gotten to the point of articulating it, I think their solution is likely to be to wreck the engine of the existing political system by taking away its oil: campaign money.
Getting money out of politics is about as likely as me scoring the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. But reformation movements aren’t started by people trying to do the possible; they are started by people trying to do the impossible.
The worst thing that could happen would be for either of the political parties to succeed in co-opting these movements. The political gridlock we’re experiencing across the country is not because the two parties are exploding with new ideas. To the contrary, the parties are simply trying to bend the rules to maintain power. Meanwhile, a very very large number of people advocating for a major re-write of the rules with the express intent of bringing new players into the game.
As Dylan sang in “Ballad of a Thin Man”: Something is happening here and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?”