I read this piece in the Economic Times, which states that “many see lack of focus in growing Occupy Wall street movement.”
The protests that began on September 17 by a small group of people in Manhattan have snowballed into a movement against the financial institutions, income inequality and corporate bailouts with thousands taking to the streets and courting arrests.
However, the protesters are yet to ask local and federal governments to adopt specific actions to address their grievances.
I suppose the pun (“see” and “lack of focus”) is unintentional. However, the criticism is not new. Bill Clinton mentioned it recently in an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman.
“They need to be for something specific, and not just against something because if you’re just against something, someone else will fill the vacuum you create.”
I know the protestors have a lot of free time — as many don’t have jobs — but why is the onus on them to fix the problem? And maybe I’ve being even more cynical than usual but wouldn’t any specific policy recommendations be dismissed as uninformed anyway?
I thought widespread protests against “financial institutions, income inequality and corporate bailouts” would be a good place to start, right? That is if politicians genuinely want to resolve these issues. So far, they sound like a really bad boyfriend:
“I don’t get it, baby, why are you leaving me?”
“You slept with my sister and you maxed out my credit cards playing full-tilt poker.”
“Yeah, but all that aside, what specifically is wrong?”
It’s possible to infer from the political realm’s reaction to the movement that it has failed to accomplish more than some front-page media coverage. Let’s look back at the beginnings of the Tea Party movement. Everyone, Democrat and Republican, was in a hurry to either embrace them or not piss them off. Clinton’s position is almost eerily identical:
“I think that, first of all, the tea party insurrection … that you see in these Republican primaries, reflects the feeling of a lot of Americans that they’re getting the shaft,” Clinton said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “That the people who caused these problems …the banks that were responsible for the financial meltdown, they’ve gotten well again. And everybody has got money again who is in that business, but ordinary people don’t.”
“So there is a general revolt against bigness Which in the case of the Republicans is always directed more against the government than the private sector,” Clinton said. “It’s totally understandable.”
The Republicans meanwhile have no concern about giving the movement a united golden shower:
Cantor slammed the movement on Friday in a speech in Washington at the 2011 “Value Voters Summit” intended to energize social conservatives.
“I’m increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and other cities across the country,” said Cantor at the event sponsored by the Family Research Council Action, the American Family Association, and other evangelical Christian groups.
“And believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans,” he said.
Oh no! Americans against Americans! Brother against brother in a vicious blood battle! These agitators are stirring up the otherwise peaceful peasants against their benevolent corporate masters! Where’s J. Edgar Hoover’s ghost when you need him?
Fortunately, presidential candidate Herman Cain was able to make Cantor’s statements seem benign in comparison:
Republican presidential contender Herman Cain amplified his criticism Sunday of the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, calling the protesters “jealous’ Americans who “play the victim card” and want to “take somebody else’s” Cadillac.
Yes, the protestors do want to “take somebody else’s Cadillac” — so they can sleep in it. Wow, Cain sounds about as rational as two angry ladies at a beauty salon in the Bronx.
“Girl, did you hear what those Occupy Wall Street protestors are saying about you?”
“Oh, Laquita, they just jealous. Just jealous of how fine I am and how nice my Cadillac is.”
On CBS, Cain suggested that the rallies had been organized by labor unions to serve as a “distraction so that many people won’t focus on the failed policies of the Obama administration.”
Huh? Labor unions organized this? How many of the demonstrators were actually members of unions? Wouldn’t they possibly still have jobs if they were? The biggest union presence at the protests is arguably the police — the guys with the solid health insurance and retirement plans.
The banking and financial services industries aren’t responsible for those policies, Cain said.
OK, so the Obama administration forced Bank of America to screw its customers? I guess it is Obama’s fault that the economy is sputtering along so that banks can only make jillions instead of gajilions. They have no choice to charge fees that would shame your average loan shark — though a loan shark actually loans you money, rather than charging you for the burden of using yours to play a riskier version of full-tilt poker.
And if the labor unions are pulling the protestors’ poverty-stricken strings, then we all know who is the ultimate puppet master.
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who appeared on the program with Cain, offered a more measured response, but blamed the White House for the discord.
“There a lot of people in America who are angry,” Gingrich said. “This is the natural product of President Obama’s class warfare.”
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, also pointed a finger at the president, whom he accused of fear-mongering.
“He’s preying on the emotions of fear, envy and anger. And that is not constructive to unifying America,” Ryan said. “I think he’s broken his promise as a uniter, and now he’s dividing people. And to me, that’s very unproductive.”
I’m sure privately Republicans are shaking in their boots over Obama’s Army of the Destitute. They will collectively knock down the pillars of our economic system with their massive student loan debt.
So what if companies openly discriminate against the unemployed during a period of record unemployment? It’s unproductive and divisive to get upset. Stay home and come up with some specific policy positions that your elected officials can ignore. Better yet, watch some bad reality TV instead and let Wall Street continue to steer the country in the swell direction it’s currently going. These are busy people. They don’t need your jealous whining.
Cain later conclusively proved the Occupy Wall Street movement’s threat to national security:
“To protest Wall Street and the bankers is basically saying you’re anti-capitalism,” he said.
I sort of thought that this was a protest of Wall Street excess, which did play a part in leveling the economy, rather than an outright broadside against capitalism as a whole, but unlike Cain, I never ran a pizza chain named after a mafia figure.
Wait a minute: If you’re anti-capitalist, aren’t you essentially a communist? And the terrorists also attacked Wall Street, so maybe these demonstrators are communist terrorists or, depending on whether you’re a Northern or Southern Smurf, terrorist communists!
In fairness, Cain was equally protective of Muslims as even though a small minority of extremists were threats to U.S. security, he realized that they weren’t reflective of Islam as a whole and to protest Islam is basically saying you’re anti-religious freedom.
(Yeah, you see where I’m going here: To the YouTube Mobile!:)