I was working my way across the radio dial on my way home the other night, delighted to hear the right-wing blathersphere ablaze with denunciations of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, a sure sign that they’re starting to have an impact. Oh, those commies, those hippies, those radicals, those anarchists, those evil revolutionaries and their nefarious plot to destroy capitalism! How dare they trumpet the obvious, that Wall Street bankers are not really on the side of the working stiff (or in way too many cases, of the no longer working stiff) that perhaps the Emperors of Finance have too many clothes, while the rest of us don’t have enough. We now live in a country in which the top one percent receive a quarter of all income, and control more than 40% of the nation’s wealth. I’ve been wondering when the other 99% would finally take to the streets. I only hope this thing continues to grow until we see massive demonstrations, angry mobs of ordinary Americans demanding real change, and deaf and blind politicians finally being forced to listen to their constituents and not just to the K Street lobbyists. Power to the people! It’s about time.
I couldn’t resist this one. In the Arab world and wherever else there’s a popular revolt against autocratic rule, it’s the dictator who ultimately flees. Not so in this country, evidently. In Wisconsin, where Republican Governor Scott Walker has proposed outrageously punitive restrictions of collective bargaining rights for select public unions, sparking massive demonstrations, it’s the Democratic supporters of the unions who have fled to avoid a vote on the measures.
What Walker has proposed will certainly pass the GOP-controlled legislature when the Dems return. It’s a union-busting package, pure and simple, having nothing whatever to do with balancing the budget. In fact, the unions have already agreed to the proposed salary and pension cuts, but this is driven not by budget necessity, but by the reflexive Republican hatred of unions. It would be a little easier to swallow if the pain were spread equally, but the bill unfairly selects only those public unions that have traditionally supported Democrats and spares those that have not. Teachers get the axe, but Republican-leaning police and fire unions are spared. So much for sharing the burden.
Worse, this is a trial run for Republican governors in other states who are salivating at the chance to decimate their own public unions. After a few more years of this kind of authoritarian rule, will Americans rise up and throw the bums out? One can only hope. In the meantime, the wrong people are being forced to flee.