Let’s just say that it’s not Bull Conner and Birmingham. And it’s definitely not the recent “Arab Spring.” Pundits and protestors alike need to stop comparing this to those historic social movements because its an insult. There is no absolute, hopeless desperation connected to this. Yes we are in hard economic times but most of us still eat and our lives are not at stake. Most in America will go on living and not even give this a second thought. On the other hand it’s not exactly something to be flippantly blown off like this photo:
Funny, truthful, and perhaps ironic. But the photo misses the point. It attempts to write off this phenomena as just a bunch of people with too much time on their hands. Maybe, but I’ll chose to take them at their word. From my scan of the landscape here is the gist of it. The country’s richest 1% control 25% of the wealth. This is up from the 1970′s, where the ratio was 1% to 9%. Folks are upset with this ratio and finger the Wall Street/Washington relationship as the cause of it.
Here’s the primary problem as I see it. It doesn’t matter whether the politician is Democratic or Republican, if they reach office they will be loyal to the interests of the 1% because the 1% is what provides their financial support. In fact many in Congress are the the 1%. Both Repubs and Dems carry their water. Why would they fight against their own personal interests? Only when it is politically expedient to do so.
Therefore that is the possible significance of these protests, and when I say possible I mean slight chance. It may move from nice political theater to full populist outrage. If it reaches that level politicians will pay attention and respond in some fashion. It won’t be a revolutionary change because everybody loves change as long as it is happening to someone else. So the 1%, if it becomes politically expedient to do so, will give in a little if it means more votes. We’ve seen that movie before during the Great Depression, where about 4 years in people took to the streets. It will be interesting to watch what develops, if anything.