I missed this Sullivan post from early this morning, but having seen it now, I'm not sure what Sullivan is calling out. The two pictures show OWS protesters engaging in their protests while conspicuously consuming corporate products, while Tea Party protesters engage in protest while standing/sitting on a street corner that was completely paid for with taxpayer money.
Cesca rants about the false equivalencies present. To me, it's hard to take any of it seriously. We can protest against over-taxation and meddlesome social programs while occupying public property and receiving public funds for health care. We can protest the over-reach of corporations and the obscene wealth inequality that has all but choked the middle class while wearing Izod shirts, using iPhones, and meeting to organize over lattes at Starbucks. It's not the existence of any social programs that has the Tea Party up in arms, although their calls to end or seriously cut entitlement programs are perfectly in line with their tendency to subvert their own personal interests. It's not the existence of corporations that has the OWS movement showing up in growing numbers worldwide.
As a cousin related to me over the weekend on Facebook, her favorite placard at the OWS gathering on Wall Street was one that read, "We're Here, We're Unclear: Get Used to It." The lack of coherency in either Tea Party or OWS messages is not the point. President Obama can rail on and on about the excesses of Wall Street in an eloquent and forceful manner (and he has), but he benefited greatly from corporate and financial sector donations during the 2008 election campaign. Hypocrisy can be rooted out everywhere, easily (see Swaggart, Jimmy or Vitter, David or Haggard, Ted).
Instead, let's focus on the fact that people everywhere, from all walks of life, are just pissed off. I'll spend all day ranting about the Tea Party's racism, or the fact that they are willing pawns of the moneyed class trying to sow seeds of discord loud enough to distract from their efforts to enrich themselves. I'll also get on the case of the OWS crowd for being painfully unclear and lacking in resources when their opponents are painfully articulate and resourceful. But their rights to protest are not unclear.
Another Facebook friend posted an epic rant by MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan from last week, which hit the nail on the head. The real enemy is not the Tea Party over there, and it's not the anti-capitalist mobs over here. It's the unholy alliance between the moneyed class and our politicians at every level of government. Eisenhower warned us about the military/industrial complex, but he had it only half-right. It doesn't matter if it's the medical/government complex, or the union/Democratic complex. The focus is on the money, the money, the money. As Ratigan shouted, "We have a bought Congress!" We need to get private money out of politics once and for all, because it is largely the people with the most money who contribute the most to the most influential and powerful politicians. Do we want action on taxation, healthcare, financial reforms, and the like? Hell yes. Well, so long as the law allows for rich corporations to give to political candidates with full anonymity and with the equal protection afforded to human beings, we're not going to end this problem. Ideally, what we need is one candidate to stand up and proclaim that he/she will from this point forward not take another red cent from private sources but will finance his/her campaign from public funds. He/she may not win, but if enough attention can be given to that candidate, the message might spread. It has to be organic, and it has to be honest, and it has to be resonant with Americans who are pissed off.
Private money has wrested power in this country away from all the people and given it back to the rich white landowners originally vested with electoral rights per the Constitution. Time to reassert our rights.