“So join the struggle while you may/ the revolution is just a t-shirt away” – Billy Bragg
Yesterday was “Occupy Day,” where concerned citizens around the world protested in their town squares and in front of government buildings because The System Is Broken and they are The 99% and assorted other catchphrases.
Don’t get me wrong. I am well aware that there are inequities, perceived and real, in the distribution of wealth around the world. Perhaps because of the news cycle and assorted documentaries, I almost feel like I know more about the US and UK/European systems than I do about ours. I think, for example, that it is basically criminal that the US congress is influenced to the extent that it is by lobbyists. I think that the system – the one on the books – would work just fine if people actually adhered to the process instead of shrugging and saying that they have no choice but to work within generations of corruption.
I’m glad that the American people in particular seem to be waking up and hitting a breaking point; fighting back, even if it is largely an empty gesture at this point. Pundits are talking about what fortunate timing it is for Obama, energizing the Left just as the election campaign gets underway. As if he was ever going to lose to the assortment of non-starters and chumps in the Republican party!
I don’t have much patience for this “me-too” protesting. The US is in dire fucking straits. We Canadians are not. Our financial system is the envy of the globe. Times are tight, to be sure, and we do have some assholes in power, but our nation is paradise compared to most others in the world. We owe it to them to set an example, and not by shouting vague slogans or marching in a protest one day and then going back to your everyday life.
You think The Man cares about your protest? He doesn’t. Because the truth is that you are The Man. I am The Man. We are all The Man. We are the ones who vote – or should. We are the ones who can hold our elected officials accountable – but we often don’t. We are the ones who can write and call and demand justice – but hey, Grey’s is on. We are the ones who have been like clerks in a jewelry store who keep our backs turned while one thief after another comes in and pilfer everything we have, suddenly rousing ourselves to turn around for a moment and yell “hey! stop!”
Effecting change, real change, takes more than a day. It takes years, generations. In my own lifetime I have seen women, minorities, gay people and others struggle and obtain significant gains in society. I have also seen corporations and the bastard children of Reaganite economists consolidate wealth, lowering our standards and expectations and convincing us that it’s better that way. That Costco is a good shopping experience, that East Side Mario’s is fine dining, that Dr. Phil is helping people, and everyone can be a star one way or another.
If you don’t want the overlords to treat you like sheep, stop acting like one.