Is it me, or does the news these days seem like so much chaotic noise? It’s all blah-blah-blah from reporters and journalists whose partisan leanings are oh-so-evident reporting on people and events that bear the mark of that partisanship in one way or another. The blue pill or the red pill, Democrats or Republicans, Brady or Manning; same damn thing. It’s difficult in this environment to a) figure out what’s really going on and b) find allies and worthy issues. If I’ve reverse engineered this process as correctly as I think I have, that’s just by design.
I mean, let’s take a look at this Occupy Wall Street thing. Factions have swapped sides again, as if politics were some sort of baseball game where teams switch off batting. The Wall Street protesters sound like the Tea Partiers of yesteryear while Tea Partiers are reacting to OWS similarly to the way many of the protesters themselves reacted to the Tea Party (which is to say, denigration into annihilation). Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats have switched places; Democrats now sing the praises of the OWS while Republicans use hostile rhetoric to try to discredit them.
The thing about the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street Protests, however, is that the constituencies of neither movement would be happy if they were able to achieve their goals. While liberals and progressives made much hay over the Tea Party signs that said “Hands off my Medicare!” they see no irony in their signs, which read “Tax the Rich!” If so-called “entitlements” and limiting them was a subtext of the Tea Party rhetoric (and it was), then what the government is currently doing with taxes and the left’s disapproval of that activity is certainly a subtext of these ongoing protests. Opposition to wars, Guantanamo Bay, secret wire-tapping, attacks on civil liberties, illegal military activity, etc. are generally par for the course with Wall Street protesters.
Here’s the thing, though: if Tea Partiers are successful in eliminating as much spending as they say they want, Medicare as we know it is going away. If Occupy Wall Street is successful in its goal, the government will have more money to perpetrate wars, fund Guantanamo Bay, illegally wire-tap, etc. And it will use the money for those purposes. It will not translate to income equality, just as Tea Party demands will not translate to a less corrupt government. The demands do nothing to change the underlying processes of corruption that both movements are hostile towards.
The flip side of that disconnection is the confluence of sentiment behind both movements. They are similar, if not the same. The electorate is highly dissatisfied with the current state of affairs and both movements have capitalized on the growing sense of anxiety ordinary Americans are feeling about the improbability of upward social mobility and their own political isolation as the political elite have been more and more concerned with the problems of Wall Street than they are of Main Street.
So what does an ordinary American do with such sentiments and movements? How does one get the accurate information that is needed to bring good judgment to bear? In an environment where both sides demonize the other and try to paint purity pictures of their own adherents, where in order to join, to go all in, as they say, requires a belief that one set of American citizens if wholly bad and another set of American citizens is wholly good, what is a political moderate supposed to do? The argument is over before it begins because the premises are in opposition to the most basic rules of critical thinking and modern political identity. (more…)
Filed under: Politics, Tea Party | Tagged: #OWS | 36 Comments »