This is a question I’ve been asking myself repeatedly about not only Bloomberg but all the mayors across the country that have been using violence and intimidation in a futile bid to end the Occupy protests. What is going through their minds? Do they honestly think it’s going to work? What could possibly lead them to that conclusion?
Are they looking to the brutal suppression of the Green Protests in Iran for an example of how to shut a populist movement down? Tienanmen Square, perhaps? They’d better be prepared to open fire with live ammunition on unarmed crowds for that. Not terribly likely given the disastrous backlash of the unplanned Kent State Massacre of 1970.
Maybe they’re looking to the Arab Spring? Since country after country have overthrown their corrupt governments (some violently, others relatively peaceful despite government violence) this seems to be an unwise move on their part. The harder the government pushed, the more resolved the protesters became. And not for nothing, the Arab Spring is occurring in countries not usually celebrated for being free and open societies.
America, on the other hand, is simply drenched in symbols of our freedoms. Curiously enough, we have the 1% to thank for this as they have tried to pervert our definition of freedom to mean “freedom from government and responsibility to our neighbors” and cram it down our throats. Thus, in a nation where not wearing a flag pin is tantamount to treason, we take our freedoms pretty damn seriously. That particular chicken has come home to roost as the 1%, in a blind panic, are overtly attacking the First Amendment because they don’t know what else to do. It’s not going well at all.
The other problem with the course of violent suppression that far too many in authority have chosen is that America was not founded on a shared ethnic, religious or historical identity. It was founded on a set of principles. The end result is a strong national identification with those principles and only those principles. The belief in a free press and the freedom of expression cuts across all socioeconomic lines. Except, of course, for the 1% and not even all of that minority is united in its opposition. Attacking the foundation of who we beleive we are as a people will rouse even the most apathetic slacker. Why do you think the NRA is constantly accusing President Obama of plotting to take away peoples’ guns despite not having pushed a single piece of legislation to that effect in three years? It drives people into a frenzy.
Well, banning the press, beating up nonviolent protesters and ignoring court orders all in the name of “public safety” isn’t going to make people sit down and shut up. What it IS going to do is send tens of thousands of angry people streaming into the streets to take back their rights and that’s exactly what we see happening.
What are you thinking, Bloomberg? It didn’t work on Civil Rights activists. It didn’t work on Vietnam War protesters. What makes you think it will work this time? Do you think that thirty years of distractions and lies have stupefied us? Do you think thirty years of quietly stripping our rights would leave us unable to recognize what you are doing? Do you think thirty years of preaching “Me! Me ! Me!” would make us too petty and fractured to unite and oppose you and yours? Do you think thirty years of grinding us down with debt would leave us too timid to raise our collective head high in defiance?
You’re a fool. All of you. Fools to the last one.
You don’t understand the character of the creature known as “The American.” Apparently, you never did. You just figured that with all your power and wealth you could treat us like toys and cogs. We were there for your amusement and profit. You label us “human resources” as if we were no more than a commodity to be expended at will. You send our children off to fight for your bottom line in foreign countries, throw our elderly to the wolves, our sick are left to die and our children are left to starve.
How long did you think you would be able to get away with it? Forever? Did you think that when you had all the money and held us all in debt, we would just become your servants and you, the Royalty?
You stole our future and rubbed our noses in it. You forced us to bail you out and told us to be grateful for the privilege. You gave yourselves billions in bonuses and laughed when we cried “foul!” You fired millions of us and demanded tax cuts to ease your uncertainty.
Even now, you try to paint us a commies or radicals or Socialists or Anarchists or Muslims or hippies or un-American or whatever label you think will stick this week. You don’t know how to control us or our anger. Anger that you’ve provoked by overplaying your hand. You co-opted the Tea Party and made them your unwitting and witless servants. Good luck pulling that off twice. We’re watching for you.
You’re terrified right now, even as you make jokes about us on your propaganda network. The speed with which the protests have grown and the stubborn dedication of the protesters have unmanned you to the point where you are lashing out like a frightened child. You simply don’t know what else to do. All of your usual means of control or coercion are ineffective and the message of the 99% has already pulled the national discourse away from how much we should punish the poor and Middle Class for the excesses of Wall St. back to where it was in 2008: How Wall St. cost the country trillions of dollars and was rewarded for it. How not enough was done to keep Wall St. from doing it again and, most importantly, who enabled them, protected them and demanded they never be punished.
Oh yes, you should be afraid. Not every politician and election can be brought; this past Election Day proved that as your puppets, the GOP, were slapped down across the country. Unless you can find a way to dismantle or redirect the Occupy movement over the next year, the blow to your power base will resound for decades. Even worse, an entire generation, the very one whose future you have stolen right before their eyes, will have learned that resisting you works. All of your erosion of our national spirit undone by your overwhelming greed.