Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dissent Grows

One side effect of the Teabagger movement that I predicted two years ago was the rise of a leftie activist political movment.
Chicago. Denver. LA. All either started or slated to start soon to complement the protests on the actual Wall Street.
All without astroturfed money or influence. No Dick Armey. No Koch Brothers. Started out of a postal box in a UPS store.
Just kids. And anger. Lots of anger.
God bless 'em.
As the Teabaggers' influence wanes, we see now a true people's party forming. People can discern between a fraud, a scam, and a political movement. Indeed, if anyone missed the hint, when Rick Santelli started urging people to send in tea bags to the White House, wasn't it odd how quickly a framework and infrastructure for this protest sprang up?
The Teabaggers were doomed from the get-go. It was just a matter of how far down they'd drag this country before they evaporated.
Turns out, pretty far, mostly because we let them. We, the people, let them bully our national dialogue, and our national leaders. We, the people, complacently sat by wondering when SOMEbody would shut them up. We, the people, laughed at them then turned on the TeeVee to watch Snooki's exploits.
Meanwhile, they very nearly took down this nation. They fiddled while Rome burned and then turned and threw some more kindling on because, you know, their furniture was kinda old.
The best news? They got co-opted. Bought out. They sold what was left of their souls, their birthright, to the Republican party.
Oh, they can deny they did. Many do. Many swear they are "non-partisan," but push comes to shove, they'll inevitably talk up this Republican or that Conservative Republican. As people like Sarah Palin, and Eric Cantor, and Mickey Mouse...I mean, Bachmann, paid lip service to their concerns, these folks believed they were making a difference.
There are parallels to the Christian Coalition here:
1) A movement coalesces around some wealthy individuals (in the CC case, evangelicals) that purports to speak about issues important to thses constituencies,
2) Forces a "grassroots" movement onto those constituents.
3) ????
The worst thing that can happen to the kids down on Wall Street, and in Denver and Chicago and LA, is a similar inculcation into the political mainstream. It will be hard to resist. We're already seeing signs that this movement is attracting political influence: Susan Sarandon, Cornel West, and Michael Moore have all made high profile visits to the protest on Wall Street.
Before you jump down my throat, this is not a bad thing: the protest had been working feverishly to generate some publicity (until Saturday's unfortunate and unnecessary violence,) and appearances by high profiles activists and leaders can only help.
I'm worried about the next step. What happens when the tempting offers start rolling in? We've seen it before on the left, as the lure of TeeVee time has co-opted some of our original blogstars like Amanda Marcotte and Markos Moulitsas.
A seat at the table in the Democratic party was a powerful lure to them, and I have no doubt that, when the OWS crowd starts gathering more momentum, the same urge will befall them. A chance to "affect policy"? Who wouldn't want to try to do that.
Only, I think we on the left have grown a little these past years: we've seen that the people in power are not necessarily our friends and certainly not our allies. When the chips are down and the cards revealed, they tank for the moneyed interests every time. The best hope we have for now is to let them know we're watching.
After all, they still need our votes.
For now.