The latest episode of Real Time (which, by the way, had John Waters on the panel) ended with Bill Maher talking about Occupy Wall Street, which I kind of didn’t know was still a thing. Then again, I also forget the Tea Party exists, and they’ve made considerable strides in Republican politics. Well, at least they like to think they have; it’s all under the control of big business anyway. Occupy doesn’t appear to have corporate sponsors, which means they’re not hypocrites, but also limits the amount of say they have. Like Maher, I agree that the Occupy movement has a good message, but its methods aren’t thought out all that well. If what he said is correct, they’re largely focusing on camping out and singing folk songs. Yeah, because those things worked so well in the sixties.
I had thought this movement DIDN’T want to just be hippies all over again, but maybe I was wrong. It got me thinking about the whole nature of protest, and how often it’s totally ineffective. I mean, you’ve occupied Wall Street. So what? Business is still going on as usual around you. So how DO you get your message heard when you lack power, which is pretty much what the movement is all about? I don’t know. Simply making it clear that you’re there in large numbers is a nice start, but you need more. Of course, Sean Hannity, perpetual favorite of people who find Rush Limbaugh too intellectual, has his own answer:
As usual, I have to wonder if Hannity is actually stupid or just pretending to be, because isn’t the fact that people CAN’T find jobs a significant part of what the Occupy thing is all about? It’s also about empathy and solidarity, foreign concepts to the Republican establishment. Does it really help the country much for one person to get a job when there are millions who can’t, or who have to work really lousy ones that don’t pay a living wage? Apparently some people think Hannity actually had some kind of point here, which baffles me.
Obviously, money brings political power, and it’s been that way since…well, since we’ve had money, probably. And before that, it was probably the people who owned the most cattle who ruled. That said, I sometimes wonder how money can influence the electorate so much. I’m assuming for the moment that elections are actually straight, and nobody is rigging them, which I realize is a large assumption. Even if our votes really do count, however, it looks like money can influence the voters way too much. Look at Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walk-All-Over-You managed to win, and win big at that. The reason I see mentioned over and over again is that he and his Republican backers had a lot of money to spend.
Which I’m sure is true, but why should that matter? Aren’t you going to vote for the person who best represents your interest, not the person who runs the most obnoxious commercials where they take a quote from their opponent out of context and harp on it for the remaining fifty seconds? Apparently not, in many cases. Of course, there are other factors that almost certainly affected the Wisconsin vote, like the growing distrust in unions and the hatred of recall elections. I agree with the latter; Walker is a jerk, but let him serve out his term before getting rid of him, unless he does something impeachable. That’s how the process is supposed to work, right? The union issue is more complicated, but as crooked as unions can be, I still think they can’t possibly be as untrustworthy as the corporate establishment. Regardless, I would like to make an almost certainly futile call for people to ignore the advertising at least when they vote, as it’s the one thing you’re supposed to be entitled to despite your social or economic standing. It seems to me that too many people are voting against their own interests because they’re listening to all the blather about Obama being a socialist who’s going to steal your guns, raise your taxes, ban the Bible, and make your kids gay. (Mind you, I’d probably be okay with a few of those things, but that’s just me.) Or maybe I’m wrong, and people really do feel the big-business candidates (well, okay, the candidates who are even MORE under the thumb of big business; I think all of them are at least partially there) represent their interests. I just fail to see how.