The crowd was raucous. Hundreds gathered to protest against a government they felt had not only let them down, but had taken way too much from “the average Joe.” The country watched with baited breath as the protestors wailed their grievances. Some brought guns. Some held signs that depicted the country’s leaders as Hitler or Stalin. The air vibrated with angst and discontent. This was the American people on the march. The citizens ready to “take their country back.” Where were the police? Where were the city leaders? Who would tell these people to pack up their signs and go home?
No one. No one would do any of that because these protestors were of The Tea Party. The day was April 19, 2010. There was little to no call for these protestors to disband. In fact, they were bussed in by big business under the cover of patriotic sounding names like “Americans for Prosperity.” This display of American freedom was hailed across the media as an outpouring of good, solid citizens trying to make their voices heard.
Fast forward to October 26, 2011 and you will find a very different scene. In this scene, Americans once again have taken to the streets only they are not Koch brother funded. These protestors are young, educated, and tired of being used as economic fodder by the wealthy. They have signs. They are screaming their grievances. They do not have guns. And yet, there is violence. The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread about the country and in like many places, Oakland, California, the violence comes at the hands of the police.
The very same local officials who encouraged, if not turned a blind eye to the Tea Party protestors have unleashed a hailstorm of rubber bullets and tear gas on the OWS protestors. All the while, the same media who fawned over the TP protestors continue to pretend the OWS protestors have no message, no reason, and are riotous misfits who have provoked the police into violent action.
The lesson? Civil unrest is meant only for those deluded into believing the hype of big business, not for the students who will not ever be able to climb out from under college debt, the workers who have been unemployed for months or years, the homeowners who were bullied or deceived into outrageous home loans. In this America, the only people who are “people” are the corporations.
Those on the Right have accused the President of “dividing the country,” “promoting class warfare,” and encouraging the protestors to act in violence. Of course, he has not done any of this, but that does not stop the spin. It does not matter that these are the people who declared class war on the American people with at least thirty years of governmental deregulation.
They are correct, the war is on. They started the war and the people, the real people, are on the march. And they are scared, and thus the police are being used as something akin to a military force. A force whose interests are more aligned with the protestor’s than those they work for.
The winter of discontent continues and the people are not backing down. God bless America.