We live in a time of pain, a time of change, a time of yes, Revolution. No matter what anyone tells you, this is not Democrat vs Republican, Right vs Left, Christian vs Atheist, Straight vs LGBT, guns vs peacenik, legal vs illegal immigrant issue. Those things are merely smoke and mirrors meant to distract our ADHD “Oooooh, SHINY” easily distracted society from seeing what’s painfully evident. It is, as has been said by all the wrong people, Class Warfare. Problem is, the people saying it are millionaires many times over, and they see their easy money gravy train challenged by the sleeping giant they have literally kicked awake. Watching millionaires on television whine that class warfare is being waged on them rings so hollow for the many who have had their American Dream stolen by the Plutocracy. Anyone who stands, daring to challenge the theft of democracy is accused of “Class Envy”. What a proverbial load of crap. People who have worked hard and produced something, deserve their wealth. People who have traded worthless paper and crashed a global economy deserve prison. Wanting a roof over your head, food on your table and simply “enough” – not wealth or riches or even vacations in the Hamptons, but enough, is not class envy or class warfare waged against the rich. People want enough to pay for a dentist when they have a bad tooth. They want to pay a doctor when their child is ill. When a parent has to choose between accessing medical care for a child or feeding that same child, it’s a decision no American should have to make, yet all too many do on a daily basis.
Our citizens have known for a long time things weren’t fair when it came to having a voice in our “of the people, by the people, for the people” government. That actually went out the window for good with Citizens United– when the Supreme Court of the United States decided that corporations are people and unlimited money could be channeled to politicians and ugly smear campaigns waged against anyone who challenged them. That’s the day our Democracy was sold to the highest bidder, my friends. Of course, Citizens United didn’t happen overnight. There was a lot of illegal secret money buying judges and politicians long before that. It’s always been that way, it simply accelerated into warp speed with Citizens United. And frankly, I’ve always thought that was kind of a funny name, “Citizens United”, since it was never really about the citizens at all, but was nothing more than an Astroturf organization made to look like a grass roots organization. It’s wholly funded by the John Birchers *Koch Brothers and their ilk. Billionaires purchasing “free speech” with money for their corporations is not democracy. The most wealthy 450 individual people in this nation having more combined wealth than the bottom 150 million in our country, that is class warfare. When one party has systematically worked to defund education, destroy civil rights and disenfranchise huge blocks of voters to cheat their way to political victory, it’s time to stand up and fight for our freedom. No matter that the there are those who would stand on our throats, screaming that the only “Patriotic” thing to do is for us to remain silent. I, like the protestors, have given up my right to remain silent and frankly, it pisses off the people who have done this to us.
So what’s the result? Americans have reached their pain threshold. Sitting silently by is no longer an option. They’ve lost their jobs, their homes, their dignity – and when there are 20 million people competing for 5 million available jobs, they’re not lazy, they’re desperate. And borne from that desperation, they’ve taken to the streets with homemade cardboard signs. They’ve gathered together and have attempted to speak out, eloquently and respectfully, only to be corralled in a pen like animals and pepper sprayed. They have been pushed and punched and run over by police motorcycles and they have been arrested. The videos clearly show they have been neither violent, nor breaking the law, nor resisting arrest – all crimes for which they have been charged. In this day of cell phone video and YouTube, the videos speak for themselves. In this post 9/11 atmosphere, the police are no longer equipped to deal with peaceful and legal demonstrations and have treated our citizens more like terrorists than Americans. In American city after American city, the police are running “sweeps” where they threaten the demonstrators, close public (taxpayer funded) spaces and throw Americans in jail for availing themselves of their Constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceably assemble and to speak freely. I’m confused how the police can be legally arresting citizens who are doing nothing more than this. My advice to the arrestees? Do not fight. Do not resist. Go directly to jail. Do not simply appear before a judge and permit them to dismiss the case against you because they have none after illegally detaining you and throwing you in jail. Demand a jury trial. Can you imagine how clogged the New York City municipal court in Brooklyn would be if the 700 protestors arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge all demanded jury trials? At some point, there are so many people protesting, so many people with family members protesting, it becomes impossible to impanel a jury. As a student of the 60’s and having grown up at the tail end of that era, I can assure you, it not only works, it will stop the illegal arrests in their tracks. The influential can’t pay enough police to arrest an entire Revolution. And people, the Revolution Will Not be Televised. The Main Stream Media, often referred to with the tired meme “Liberal” media is not going to be your source of information. The media is a wholly owned subsidiary of a handful of players and what is happening in the streets threatens them too. Without cable news *and a good deal of that can’t be trusted, the average person would be hearing little of the truth. They would be hearing about dirty, pot-smoking, sex-having hippies, lazy unemployed people and union thugs disrupting the things that “matter” in this country. If you’re not employed and you’re not rich, it’s your fault. These people are violent and want to steal iPads and Cadillacs. These people have no message. Really? No message? Really?
That’s what you hear from politicians and the Main Stream Media. In the sick and twisted world according to Glenn Beck, let the beheading begin. So, where do find the truth? Select cable outlets and social networking – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are making the “Occupy” movement our Tahrir Square – for without those three tools, very little of the truth would be getting out. Why, my friends? Because The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. With these tools, we see good, desperate people speaking eloquently, respectfully and in a united voice. They don’t have a list of “demands”. Unlike the Astoturfers, this is an organic movement and people have gathered there for a host of reasons. They’ve worked hard to listen to every voice in an attempt to identify the problems. They are not dirty hippies, lazy unemployed and union thugs – they are Americans respecting the true spirit of Democracy and they have offered up a list of grievances because they know what is not acknowledged can never be fixed. They are comprised of families, children, the elderly, veterans, working people, not working people, young people, college students. They are Americans – and I know this from having personally attended an “Occupy” event last weekend. Look, there are a lot of us just trying to survive day to day without the financial resources to “Occupy” anything. If you live near one of the demonstrations, go down there with food, bottled water, the offer of a shower for some of these folks. If you don’t, but you support them, write to your elected officials and stand in solidarity with them. Don’t know who your elected representative are? Click HERE.
The Revolution will not come with a remote control. If you want to change what’s happening in our country, you’re going to have to get up and change it yourself.
Carol Baker is a political writer, satirist, and co-host with Vicki Childs of our Here Women Talk weekly internet talk radio show called BROADSIDED. You can hear their show every Thursday at 11 am Eastern/10 Central/8 Pacific.