I say “pretend to make a difference” because nothing has changed and nothing will change because of the street theater that has been going on. I can understand the frustration that is boiling over everywhere, with people unemployed, under employed, and the realization that what has been done by the federal government to remedy this situation is not working. People want to identify with anything that puts a voice to their frustration. But the sign-spoken remedies of “End Corporate Greed”, “Eat the Rich”, and “Down with Capitalism” that these people put forth are at best platitudes and at worst feloniously stupid.
The majority of people in America are still right of center on the political spectrum. They won’t always vote that way, but mainstream America is mostly conservative. The machinations and shouting of these protesters is not going to change that. It will actually work the other way. Mainstream America sees dirty, pot smoking, drum beating, protesters claiming to represent them. Those same OWS and OSD crowd demand free electricity, free WiFi, plus the right to deny the use of public property to others, so they can continue to waste the time and resources of the local authorities. All of that it in the name of nothing they can articulate clearly. Mainstream America is much more likely to shy away, rather than to support them. Assuming of course, that anyone not under the influence can figure out what the protesters want to have supported.
Think I’m wrong on that? Flashback to the late 1960s and 1970s. I grew up listening to the 5 o’clock news, with my folks. The news anchor would insinuate how important those protesters of the Vietnam War were, and how they were changing America. The protesters led the evening news as often as the war did. George McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate, campaigned in 1972 to end the Vietnam War just as soon as he was elected. It was his big campaign promise. The vote was to choose between end-the-war McGovern and another four years of Richard Nixon. Nixon won in a landslide. The Vietnam War was not popular. People from all walks of life wanted it over. But those protesters were actually looked on as draft dodgers and anti-American by the majority of voters. They voiced their displeasure with the anti-American sentiment at the ballot box. The same is likely to happen to anyone who is foolish enough to openly support the OWS crowd, and their t-shirt fixes.
The idea that the vast majority of people are going to get up and work their butts off to just be the same as everyone else is what Socialism is based on. “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.” That is how Karl Marx summed it up. He should know; it was his idea. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that rather than work hard to be equal, people would rather not work and still be equal. Witness the riots in Greece as they have run out of their own money, and are currently stealing (all right, technically they are borrowing.) money from the rest of the Eurozone. What about when that runs out? You have to have more people producing goods and services, to pay the tax to support those who aren’t. When you cross that line, like America has, you live on borrowed time.
Is our system perfect? Hell, no. And it probably has no shot at being perfect. As long as there are human beings in it, nothing will be perfect. There will always be richer people and there will always be poorer people. But, look around you. Do you see abject poverty in America? Do you see a world-wide campaign to raise money for America’s poor? No, you don’t. America has the fattest poor people in the world. Our poor are considered rich by the majority of the people in the world. Do you know what makes that possible? No, it is not the Democrats. It is our capitalist system, which produces the wealth, which is taxed, which makes it possible to take care for the down trodden and pay our obligations to the elderly.
You want to make things better? First stop believing that the government can “give” you anything. What your Uncle Sam gives you, he takes from someone else. This includes subsidies for solar panels, growing corn for ethanol, earned income tax credit, all forms of welfare, and as our OWS crowd appears to want, free college education. You can turn a blind eye and tell yourself that the “someone else” has more money than you and he can spare it. Maybe he can’t. Maybe that person making $200k is also sending two kids to college, has a mortgage, and works 80 hours, as a doctor, to make that money. Maybe the person that gets aid via, 99weeks of unemployment, housing assistance, and so on, has five kids by four fathers, dropped out of school, drinks and smokes, plays the lottery, and refuses to look for work. Those are all choices that I am not about to suggest should be illegal, but they shouldn’t be government subsidized either.
Compassion is the not the job of the federal government. That is the providence of ordinary people who are right there and can see who milks the system and who genuinely deserves help. Family, friends, neighbors, churches, and social groups are there to fill those needs. (I do believe there should be a government safety net, but not a government built hammock. Government help should largely be temporary.) When the very distant federal government gets involved, like it is today, it is just a legal way to buy votes. “Vote for me”, the politician says “and I will take away that mean rich person’s money (because he has too much) and give it to you.” It is way past time for Americans to stop demagoging “the rich” for the money they have earned. They need to start appreciating what the Sam Waltons (whose low prices have done appreciably more for the poor than Steve Jobs’ Apple iPod, iPhone, or iPad ever will) of America have done. It is time for people to begin to Occupy Reality.