One of the great things about American politics is that it often doubles as entertainment. Given that most of network and cable television has devolved into so-called reality TV, it is getting pretty hard to distinguish between “entertainment” programming and political “news” coverage – especially where the occupy Wall Street protests are concerned.
On one hand we have strangers living in a house together with hidden cameras, arguing and having casual sex, and on the other we have what looks like a bunch of camping trips gone bad – complete with no showers, drugs and casual sex.
The former are usually paid to display their foolishness, so they know why they are there. But the later really can’t give a cogent explanation of why they are there and what they want to accomplish, other than that they are mad at “the man” and that they won’t leave until they get what they want.
Some members of the media, along with helpful liberal politicians, have compared them to the Tea Party, but there is very little in the way of comparison. The Tea Party protests were large, law abiding and about something other than sleepovers, specifically a political agenda of limited government and less spending. The Occupy crowd is smaller, mob like and unfocused. Further, their campsites have been the scene of assaults (sexual and otherwise), theft, drug abuse and sanitation hazards. And yet, the Tea Party was compared to “angry mobs”, while these people represent America? Please.
Recently, Democrat pollster Douglas Schoen conducted the first extensive survey of the Occupy protesters and, among other things, discovered the following:
Only 15% are actually unemployed, (meaning the other 85% must have union jobs giving them time off to protest). And 98% say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, while 31% went even further, saying they would support open violence.
75% supported Obama in 2008, but now 51% disapprove of him, (since he’s obviously not radical enough). 65% think that government should provide everyone with health care, college education and retirement benefits, no matter what it costs. Oh, and they support raising taxes on “the rich”, which they refer to as the “1%”, while claiming that they represent the other “99%” of America, (obviously having very little understanding of just where the bulk of tax revenue comes from, much less job creation).
Schoen also points out that what is binding them together is “a deep commitment to left wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies…” In other words, they are the heart and soul of the modern Democrat Party.
It has been entertaining to watch some of them develop at least a little respect for private property when their own computers, phones and other comforts of home were stolen by fellow campers. They even got their noses out of joint when homeless people started showing up in the chow line looking for a free lunch. (Why, the very idea!)
It is worth noting that this “movement” appeared at about the same time that Barack Obama is trying to (re) kick-start his flagging political fortunes by proposing a tax increase on “the rich”. And isn’t it strange that these would-be class warriors so readily embrace all of the benefits brought to us by the evil corporations and the establishment that they want to bring down? Or that their protest marches to evil Manhattan billionaire’s homes managed to skip liberals like George Soros?
These are people who rail against the county’s most productive and wealthy “1%”, but whose own lifestyles would make them part of the “1%” in the vast majority of countries on Earth. However, they have no thanks, only contempt for the free market system that billions of others would die for a chance to be a part of.
These are the kids who borrowed big to get into over-priced universities and got degrees in English, ‘60’s French Radicalism, or Women’s Studies, and now can’t find a job, so they protest to have their student loans forgiven. These are the union members who pushed for ever more bloated benefits packages, virtually guaranteeing that they will never receive them.
What a cruel world.
So why protest Wall Street fat cats instead of their local members of Congress? Why not show up at town hall meetings like Tea Party supporters did? Because in the end it is all about histrionics. It is political theatre, community organizer style.
But it is entertaining.