There are many who appear to be intrigued by the growing number of protestors in New York and around America who claim to be the 99% that have been perennially handed the short-end-of-the-stick by the well-marketed, yet poorly distributed, dream of trickle-down, capitalistic economics from the top 1% down to the rest of the 99%. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, and it is, but where the bulk of those opportunities go and who they have traditionally gone to in the past is not as much about the home of the free and the land of the brave as one might be inclined to patriotically believe.
The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be a legitimate, grass roots movement of the underclass who have been happily delegated to the unwanted, yet overpopulated, position of being on-the-outside-looking-in, while the top 1% remains perched on the inside looking on! So while many on both sides of the political aisle have very little faith in the validity of this anti-corporate, anti-Wall Street movement, the overall emotion being expressed does represent a chronically serious problem in this country.
Not to throw political stones at conservatism, but it is conservatism that has championed the merits of capitalism and all of its shortcomings for decades, and that support has not died. It has only grown stronger, and it has definitely multiplied, especially within the economic, political confines of the affluent. No one is saying that the Democrats or the progressives are totally innocent in all of this, but the Republican Party and the Tea Party have unashamedly promoted their version of Americanism as the doorway to the top 1% that’s open to anyone who is willing to work hard for it. America is touted over and over again as the ultimate land of opportunity, where all you have to do is work hard, and greatness can be yours!
Republicans and conservatives have built their entire platform around this stairway ideology to prosperity. They openly brag about it, and they are more than giddy to go around the country telling their stories of odds overcoming successes. Take Speaker of the House John Boehner’s story.
According to political script, Boehner got his start working at his family owned tavern sweeping the floor, where he learned the true, American value of an honest day’s work. Every Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingram and so on would have you believe that it was Boehner’s hardworking, work ethic that catapulted him to prominence, and to a certain extent that probably has an element of truth in it, but there is more to this story than the conservative, Cinderella component of the economic, glass slipper that could easily convince us to believe that we can just slip one on and leave our worries behind.
What Republicans and conservatives are happy not tell you, and what corporate Democrats are too afraid to tell you is that one of the most misleading belief systems that has ever been created is the capitalistic misnomer that hard work is the best recruiter of the glass slipper of American opportunity, which is total bullsh*t! The narrative of Cinderella John Boehner sweeping his family’s tavern floor on his way to becoming Speaker of the House at the Congressional Ball has worked out well from him, but it would be ill-advised for any of us to get our hopes up for that Cinderella lightening to strike twice and this time in our corner, because it’s probably not going to happen. For every John Boehner who has swept his way to the top, there are millions, like my grandmother and grandfather, who scrubbed floors and worked as janitors for most of their lives without ever seeing the Boehner glass slipper; making any dream of trying one on a broken dream.
What Boehner and conservative Cinderella also fail to mention is that they were both more fortunate than fabulous when it comes to the decided distribution of their opportunities by the upper echelons of the opportunity managers. Take my story as an example.
The most important, employment position that’s ever been held in my hands, which is still small potatoes compared to the top 95%, had everything to do with the fortunate fate of my connections and very little to do with the hard work of my ethics. It’s called being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right, white people; and being lucky enough to be the only job application in the tray! A person like me could go around telling the 99% that it was all because of my hard work, when in reality it was because of the connection of my connectedness that actually pulled the lever on my minimal success, and the same thing probably happened to Boehner, which goes back to the old axiom that says: “It ain’t what you know. It’s who you know.” As Van Jones said recently on Real Time with Bill Maher: how can you expect people to climb out of poverty when there are only a select few ladders or glass slippers available, which only adds to the validity of the abandoned 99%?
For African-Americans like my grandparents, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, women, and other minorities, the impression of a conservative Cinderella, a floor sweeper turned House Speaker in John Boehner, or the existence of a glass slipper has traditionally been about as farfetched as the cow that jumped over the post-racial moon. And nowadays, the improvements are still sparse at best, as the only true, American melting pot has become the 99%, with an ever-growing number of Whites being economically forced to integrate. Unfortunate as it might be, if there is a microcosm of the mythical, post-racial society; the declining, downtrodden, disenfranchisement of the 99% has to be it, as the realities of poverty and the elitisms of greed and corruption have managed to accomplish what our human hearts and our superior, cognitive abilities have failed to accomplish, and that’s enough failure to go around to a number of ideals!
When some of the Occupy Wall Street protestors booed New York Rep. Charlie Rangel telling him: “You, sir, have no business being here – you’re part of the problem,” they were right. Rangel is part of the problem, as are Republicans, Democrats, the private sector and the consumers, which is all of us. If the Charlie Rangel’s of the world are capitalistically enslaved to the corruption of profit, then so are the thousands who are protesting their economic exclusion from the capitalistic enslavement to profit, and that is where government has failed—Democrats in particular, as they have allowed the Republicans and the Wall Street crooks to finance their apathetic silence and their political immobility through political intimidation and lucrative campaign contributions. Corporate sympathy is to be expected from Republicans, but any Democrats who shed tears for the Wall Street crooks and the corpulent, stingy banks should be ashamed of themselves. Those tears should be reserved for the taxpayers, many of them from within the 99%, who bailed out the country, only to have the country turnaround and bail on them!
Now as for the lack of media coverage regarding this movement, here is a disturbing fact that everyone probably already knows, yet strangely still appears to be bewildered by. The corporate media owners, the people who really call the journalistic shots based on the revenues of ratings and not necessarily the urgency of the moment or the needs of the people/the 99%, have more in common financially with the top 1% than with the bottom 99%, and that commonality would be the capitalistic exploitation of the 99%. When the corporations and the top 1% feel that their financial livelihoods are in jeopardy of shrinking, profit margins, the coverage will begin to take precedence, but not a minute before.
This entire situation is very reminiscent of the Poor People’s Campaign that was made famous by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which was described by Dr. King as the ‘the second phase of civil rights movement,’ despite the fact that it was never realized due to the killing of Dr. King. It was seemingly a large part of the reason why Dr. King decided to go to Memphis, Tennessee in support of the striking sanitation workers, when many of his advisors were unalterably against it, as the ‘it’s not our problem’ attitude was in full force with the daunting question of whether it was worth it to risk everything for poor, insignificant, garbage men.
But Dr. King’s mentality, like this current Occupy Wall St. mentality, led him to take the plight to the streets, even for the lowly garbage men, because they were the 99% percent then and they are still the 99% today. The faces are different, but the plight of the 99% remains the same, and that speaks volumes about the character of America, and its current inability to differentiate between the fear mongered ideals of ‘spread the wealth around’ socialism and the diversified fears of ‘spreading the opportunities around’ equality, as the well-preserved status quo is not a fan of either!
This epic battle of the ‘Haves and the Have Nots’ has been brewing for eons! Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign was just a small indication of the economic inevitability of what is to come down the pike at some point in time, even if this Occupy Wall Street movement is still not the big one. Dr. King understood the severity of such an event, and so did his opposition, which arguably played heavily in his untimely assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, not just because of race, but because of the troubling economic conditions of the 99%, which did have a racial element within it. But in historical hindsight, the Poor People’s Campaign had more substantive depth than mere racism, which made Dr. King dangerously and tragically too far ahead of his time.
Contrary to popular beliefs, the one thing that frightens the establishment the most is not the sensationalized hype of the great race war between Blacks and Whites, which is also something that numerous people feel is inevitable, because if the Occupy Wall St. movement was based on the famed, racial quarrel of Whites against Blacks, you wouldn’t be able to pry the media’s interest or the public’s interest away from it, because racial chatter is good for the ratings, and it is good for the preservation of the status quo. The one thing that does frighten the establishment to its core is anything resembling the Occupy Wall Street movement. Racism is a divisionary tactic that keeps people scattered about, but the plight of Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign and the 99% has the unnerving ability to unite people in opposition, and nothing cuts across societal lines like the impoverished, declining conditions of the clothes on your back or the dwindling pennies in your pocket!
It’s almost verbatim to what Caesar, the lead chimpanzee in the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, demonstrated to the other apes, when he held one stick in his hands and broke it in half and used sign language to convey the message that the one easily broken stick was him. Then he picked up about 20 sticks and tried to break them but couldn’t. He then told the apes how the 20 sticks was all of them together, as he confirmed the value of a unifying strength and the non-petty ideology needed to achieve it, and that is the dreaded strength that a poverty campaign or a 99% campaign has the power to wield.
Now the establishment has already gotten wind of this 99% campaign long before it ever happened, and they have labeled it as class warfare ushered in by the election of President Obama and his socialistic conspiracy to spread the wealth around to the 99%. Pundits like Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and former Fox News’ pundit Glenn Beck spent a lot of their time warning against the oncoming threat of a socialistic 99% of entitlement consuming barbarians who would take their disdain to the streets when their big government benefactor could no longer afford to sustain them through many of the welfare programs that entities like the Tea Party and the Scott Walker administration of Wisconsin have designated for the chopping block. Allegedly, Glenn Beck has even built an underground bunker loaded with food, water, gold bars, and lots of NRA backed supplies.
And with that, we should all ask ourselves why the 99% being afforded the opportunities to have a bigger slice of the American pie is the doomsday, bunker building, American nightmare instead of the American dream, when the only real nightmare is being forced to exist on-the-outside-looking-in towards the greatest nation on earth that at times seems too reluctantly afraid to open the door that is never supposed to be closed to try, and change it!