The pundits on the Right are agreed—the Occupy Wall Street protesters don’t know what they’re saying.
“They don’t have an alternative. They aren’t even sure what it is they’re protesting.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hearing this kind of counteroffensive nonargument since I was old enough to understand politics. What it boils down to is this:
“My car won’t start.”
“Do you know what the trouble is?”
“I turn the key and the motor just turns over and over but it won’t catch and run.”
“You don’t seem to have any understanding what the problem is. Come back when you know what’s wrong, otherwise I can’t fix it for you.”
How many people would accept that as a reasonable response?
The Powers That Be are saying to the country, “Unless you can articulate exactly what it is you want done, we can’t do anything.”
Where once one might have said in reply “You broke it, you fix it,” that won’t do anymore. Now the only reasonable response seems to be “If you can’t figure it out, then move aside and let’s elect some people who can.”
The demands of Occupy Wall Street are fairly simple and straightfoward.
1: Get the money out of our politics. Regardless of the theoretical legitimacy of the decision, the Supreme Court was wrong in spirit with Citizens United. They missed the point. We elect those who get on the ballots and those who get on the ballots are those who have the money to do so, and without controls on where that money comes from we are left with candidates picked by those with the funding.
2: Money is flowing to the top end of the socioeconomic spectrum. There are many complex reasons for this, some of which are purely systemic, but many of which are by design. This must be reversed.
3: Jobs are being shipped out of the country along with a great deal of manufacturing and other business and with those jobs our tax base is eroding. We cannot tax the wealthy enough to make up the shortfall, but to continue cutting their taxes with the hope that they will reverse their policies and start hiring Americans again is absurd. That has not happened yet and is not likely to. It’s not taxes that are making the difference, but the appearance of tax inequity is acting as a corrosive.
4: The transfer of wealth from public coffers into private hands is theft in all but name and those on the receiving end of this have yet to face any kind of penalty for their mishandling of the economy or their continuation of business strategies that continue to bankrupt the middle class.
5: Wall Street exercises too much influence in Washington and in the state legislatures across the country.
None of these are difficult to understand. It seems to me the protesters are being very articulate. The problems have grown larger than the normal avenues of redress can bear.
Using the police to try to break this up is an act of fear and is only making the disconnect between our ideals as a country and reality of our politics that much clearer.
“Do you know how to fix it?”
“Then just shut up about it until you can offer a solution. Go home and put up with it till you can teach me how to repair it.”
“I have a better idea.”