Friday, October 14, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But...

By Carl
(Note to my readers at The Reaction: Simply Left Behind is usually a weekly round up of news you might have missed. Sometimes, like today, I have something to address in depth. I felt this needed a wider audience than my crappy little blog's)
1) Break from tradition. I have something to say.
TO: Occupy Wall Street
FROM: Actor212
RE:  Going Forward
You looked Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Brookfield Properties straight in the eye. They blinked.
Good on you. That's the first of many, many victories to come.
My first political involvement was in 1968. It was in sixth grade, so I couldn't have been more than ten years old at the time. A couple of classmates, Kenny, and I think Hank, set up a table on the corner outside our school, and campaigned for Hubert Humphrey. We had a hand-drawn poster, and all the literature we could handle from the local campaign office.
It was cute. I think we even got our photos taken for the Daily News.
We did it because we hated Richard Nixon and all that he stood for. Looking back over the past 45 years or so, it's embarassing to think that Nixon turned out to be the most domestically liberal president in that interim (a case could be made for Carter, I suppose).
And that's what I want to talk about: the past. And how your future as a movement can be shaped by it.
Nixon was as liberal as he was, passing environmental legislation for example, or lowering the voting age to 18, because of the pressure the left put on him (yea, there were other circumstances that he tried to curry favor to prevent, but he went so far as to propose single-payer healthcare!)
We blew it, we old farts. We achieved much in those protests, getting better acknowledgement of the equality of women, of gays and lesbians, and better integration of blacks and Hispanics-- I'm still waiting for Herman Cain to thank us. We ended a war.
To our discredit, we allowed Nixon and Congress to dismantle much of the Great Society that LBJ had worked so hard to put into place, among other things.
What we truly didn't do, and what we could have done, was forge a political movement that would have dragged any conservative who stood athwart the earth shouting "STOP!" to the ground and subdued him. We settled out. We got caught up in the glamour of forcing a sitting President to resign and figured our work was done. We were tired, we were infighting, and frankly, we were growing up and getting jobs and starting families.
Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.
What we were too young to notice was the seeds of destruction that the Goldwater campaign of 1964 planted, that were starting to sprout, beginning with Reagan's election to California's governorship. We laughed. He was shitty actor, a former President of SAG and a liberal, spouting all kinds of crazy nonsense about the welfare state.
What we should have been doing, what if we could go back in time we would do, was crush him. We had the bodies still warm from the resistance.
I look at you, and I see that same anger that motivated us.
I see a difference, tho, a big difference. We grew up insulated from the world around us, some of us at any rate. You've had that sheathing stripped from around you, and you're scared and angry. I see the signs you hold, and they don't deviate much from the basic theme that the nation is unfairly benefitting the rich at the expense of the rest of us.
Some would say, "Life is unfair." Some are idiots. Mouthing that bromide is the shortest way to prove you haven't thought through life. “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
That was the great Robert F. Kennedy, who in life and especially in death sparked the anti-war movement to greater heights, and had he been President would no doubt have asked us to do our part for the nation to heal it, to move forward and to help.
There is so much I would say to you, and so little time to say it, if I have your attention this far. You will face challenges. The movement will find critical moments in which it needs strength. There will be conflict. I would say this: there are many paths to take, and all of them, all of them, can lead you to the goal you seek. Some will have dead ends, but don't be discouraged as so many of us were: turn around and find a new way. You're still on the path, that's what counts.
I look at pictures of myself down through the years, and see the promise of infinity within my eyes. I'm older now. Those eyes have dimmed but they still hold the faint glimmer of that promise as I look to you to carry the torch we let fall decades ago.
Let that torch keep ther fire in your eyes burning. Do not give up under any circumstances. They may defeat a person but a truth can never be defeated.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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  • Great observations, Carl, from someone who's been there and done that. Passing it along. Thanks for sharing.

    By Blogger Ramona Grigg, at 8:01 AM  

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