Thursday, November 17, 2011
There is an uprising occurring in this country, and I don’t think it is going to end anytime soon. But CNN correspondent Carol Costello raised a very good question this morning, asking, “Has the Occupy Movement changed the political conversation in America?”
I think it has, resulting from the fact that all of the attention is not being trained on an out-of-touch Tea Party, a conservative-leaning group committed to the status quo wrought by the failed policies of former president George W. Bush (R-Texas). Media outlets are now talking about the economic and social issues that need to be resolved today, not 12 months from now.
As you will recall, many of these self-proclaimed “Tea Party activists” sported guns during assemblies in Washington, DC and other parts of the country. They even called President Barack Obama a fascist, and questioned his American citizenship. By sporting guns, these misguided Americans were seemingly trying to send a message to President Obama. “Do it our way, or we’re going to force you out.” But the emergence of the Occupy Movement is enabling more Americans to see that the modern-day Republican/Tea Party is against the 99%, for the 1%.
I find it odd, however, that the Occupy Movement did not gain momentum during the 2010 elections. Prior to these elections, all we Americans heard about was the Tea Party, and how it would work through the Republican Party to rebuild the American dream. And because the media focused so much attention on its establishment, and the personal attacks made against President Obama by conservative Republicans, we ended up with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Because progressive-minded Americans didn’t show up and show out at the polls, the Democratic Party lost the momentum it needed to bring about the change we can believe in.
I don’t know if the existence of the Occupy Movement will cause more progressive-minded Americans to show up and show out next November. If we do, President Obama will be elected to a second term, and the Democratic Party will regain control of both Congressional houses. But if such a change is to occur, we progressive-minded Americans must overcome the Jedi Mind Tricks being employed by the GOP, whose number one goal is to make President Obama a one-term president.
The GOP wants us to believe that they have the country’s best interest at heart. Based on the comments made by Republican presidential nominees Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, our best interest is better served by allowing the 1% to hold on to the monies they received from George W. Bush’s tax cuts. But these tax cuts, coupled with corporate and populace greed, is what turned the (Bill) Clinton surplus into a Bush deficit. So, I ask you, my friends, is the GOP’s cut, cap and balance plan enough to restore this surplus?
Most people think not because it does not call for the establishment of new revenue streams.
The Occupation Movement is doing so well because it isn’t allowing itself to be taken over by either the Republican/Tea or Democratic Party. But the Republican/Tea Party is trying to link it with the Democratic Party, referring to it as a leftist movement. While such a linkage should be perceived as a compliment by President Obama and other Democratic leaders, it also reveals how much members of the Republican/Tea Party fear real progress. They know if progress is made, they have no chance of unseating President Obama, and their Congressional numbers will shrink.
Hopefully, it also causes Democratic leaders to wake up. They now have the 99%’s support for a progressive agenda free of special interest group influence.
What do you think?
I look forward to reading your responses.
Jeffery A. Faulkerson, MSSW
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
But what are they mad at? Well, for starters, they are upset at the major banks and multinational corporations, the role they played in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations (http://occupywallst.org/about/). And its organizers boldly proclaim on their website that the movement “was inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.”
I don’t know about you, but I think the Occupy Movement protesters are speaking a language that most of us should be able to identify with. Truth be told, slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. birthed this movement when he stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial in the 1960s and told the world citizenry about his dream. I tend to also believe Dr. King was assassinated because he had the audacity to tell others that the next phase of his nonviolent protest would be the initiation of a Poor Man’s Campaign. Like the Occupy Movement protesters, Dr. King felt rich Americans were accumulating their wealth off the backs of working class Americans.
I have been appalled at the amount of violence being directed at Occupy Movement protesters in Oakland (CA) and New York (NY). In this day and age, you would expect these police officers and other law enforcement personnel to lay down their arms to fall in line with the protesters. Don’t their low wages place them among the 99%? But they blindly follow orders that are contrary to the values they share with the Occupy Movement protesters.
And it is the existence of these shared values that causes me to believe the Occupy Movement is one that will not, and cannot, be suppressed. While most Americans will say they support capitalism, the fact still remains that working class Americans are the pawns rich Americans use to amass wealth and assets. We work their fields, consume goods produced by our hands. Yet at a time when we pawns need rich Americans to do more to improve an ailing American economy, so many of them are reportedly searching for tax code loopholes that allow them to hold onto more of their fortunes.
The Christian bible warns that the love of money is the root of all evil. Our economy seemingly is ailing because rich Americans elect to allow their money to lead their hearts rather than allow their hearts to lead their money. Receiving more, not giving more, has become commonplace. And it seemingly is the persistence of this status quo that deters rich Americans from making innovation investments, charitable donations and new business development in this era of economic uncertainty.
The bickering in Washington, D.C. doesn’t help matters. Conservative Republicans, especially those vying for the GOP Presidential nomination, consistently enable rich Americans to shun their obligation to invest, donate and develop by denouncing tax increases on rich Americans. They tend to think a portion of their fortunes will “trickle down” to us working class Americans. But if banks aren’t lending money to working class Americans like they did when President Bill Clinton was at the helm, what makes them think rich Americans will voluntarily relinquish more of their fortunes?
The GOP Presidential candidates have also openly criticized the Occupy Movement, calling it un-American. Some of them have even used buzz words like “communist movement” when referencing these nationwide occupations. Didn’t this practice lose its luster back in the 1950s and 60s?
Call it what you want. I just hope these GOP presidential candidates and other members of the Republican Party wake up tomorrow to a fuller understanding of how their obstructionist tactics hurt our economic recovery rather than help it. Yes, the federal government needs to decrease spending. But it also needs to increase revenue. You can’t have one without the other.
In the final analysis, tax increases have more of an adverse impact on working class Americans because more of our incomes are fixed, not discretionary. This one truth should give all Americans a better appreciation for what the Occupy Movement is all about.
Those individuals protesting in America’s streets are clearly standing on the side of righteousness.