American Rhetoric: Graffiti on The Wall (Street)

A gross mischaracterization?

     The protests continue on Wall Street, and elsewhere in America. Earlier yesterday, protesters against the continuing war in Afghanistan attempted to enter the National Air and Space Museum in D.C., and were pepper-sprayed by security.(1) New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (yes, the same Michael Bloomberg that excluded First Responders and Clergy from the 10th anniversary ceremonies at Ground Zero on September 11th!) has come out against the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters, saying that they’re “trying to destroy the jobs of working people.”(2)

     While protests spread from Wall Street to places like Cleveland, Ohio and Prescott, Arizona, those of us watching these events unfold from behind our televisions and computer screens are either finding ourselves agreeing with the protesters, disagreeing with and ridiculing them as just so many “rabble rousers,” or just trying to make sense of the whole thing.

     I personally think that both sides need to take that proverbial “chill pill” and start letting reason, not emotion determine the course of the discussion. For instance, take a look at the picture in the upper-left of this article. Perhaps many of you have seen this one making the rounds on Facebook, MySpace (I know, who in the heck visits MySpace anymore!?) and the rest of the web. What this basically says is that those protesting on Wall Street and elsewhere are nothing but ignorant hypocrites.

     [Clue Time!] There are those of us out here that feel some sense of solidarity with the people holding the signs on Wall Street, and for us the argument is not “Down with evil corporations,” but more a question of accountability, especially for those corporations (like AIG!) that have accepted billions of our tax dollars, only to squander that money on trips and bonuses. Corporations like Solyndra, who know that their ship is sinking and still take a $535M loan from the government before the prow sinks below the waves!(3) Some of us are even pissed off at the government, for not being better stewards with our money. (Yes, OUR money. Where do you think this bread comes from?)

     Now, I have seen some pretty extreme things on both sides. On the side of the Occupy movement, there was a “manifesto” of sorts that was published and circulated around social media. In this release, there were several questionable statements about government conspiracies, cover-ups and the like. (The pendulum swings wildly to the left.)

     On the other side of the equation, Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, calling the demonstrators out for not having jobs, engaging in “class warfare” and being the ones to blame for the nations woes. Michael Bloomberg, stating that the demonstrators are against working people. In addition, we have people on the right creating propaganda pictures that paint the protests in a bad light. (The pendulum swings back hard to the right.)

     Again, both sides will need to stop all of their Bovine Scatology and start honestly listening, if any of the problems that both sides know are prevalent are going to get solved, let alone addressed.

“Hear the past a’callin,
from armageddon’s side…
when everyone’s talking,
and no one is listening,
how can we decide?”

(Crosby, Stills and Nash, “Daylight Again”)


One comment on “American Rhetoric: Graffiti on The Wall (Street)

  1. truelibertarian says:

    You can’t blame corporations for accepting money with no-strings-attached from the government. Corporations, and executives, have the fiduciary duty to maximize profit. Solyndra was all Obama’s fault. He was pushing for green energy, despite numerous DoE memos/reports stating that Solydra was a sinking ship.

    And as for bonuses, some may be ridiculous, but most CEO bonuses are structured in a way that’s incredibly deceptive. Some get straight-up cash as compensation, while many get preferred stock, equity, or incentive-driven compensation packages. Steve Jobs famously received a $1 annual salary, but was compensated in other ways. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, makes a pretty nice salary of about $6M, but receives a LOT of equity. Many of the “golden parachutes” that executives have been derided for accepting are the result of the accumulation of many years of stock options being cashed out.

    Modern society has this newfound contempt for the rich, and so every possible bias and spin is applied.

    Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t rich people who don’t exactly act pro-socially, and that there aren’t dishonest corporations. Obviously, there are. But they aren’t as a rule.

    Basically, my point is that while Occupy Wall Street movement may have some merit, most of its members don’t actually understand the real issues. And the real issue is government regulation of business. The leaders of the movement are primarily socialist (not in the “Obama’s a socialist!” ignorant Tea Party way, but in terms of actual socialism), so it’s pretty obvious what they’re looking for.

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