Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hippies, Commies & Today's Movement



Yesterday, I went fishing with an old friend of mine.

When I first met this friend, she was extremely active in local and national politics but was at that point, quickly losing heart. You see, while she wasn't quite a Hippie, she was a Commie. And her good friends were either Hippies, Commies or both.

They were the ones who saw with frightening clarity, the dangers of ceding so much power to corporations and the wealthy. Of course! They were Commies. All along, she had told me, there's no compromising with these folks in charge... if you do, they just see that as a concession, not a compromise and will take more.

True enough, that's what's going on. In the Reagan years, when Corporatism started making gains again, CEO's only (please note the sarcasm DRIPPING from that word) made 200x the average worker. In the Bush II Administration, CEO's are doing only slightly (again, please note the heavy sarcasm) more; they are now making 400x the average worker.

Yesterday, I spent half the time telling my friend about the internet's ability to give EVERY one a megaphone, about communities like the Daily Kos, about Lieberman's fight for his Senatorial life, about the predictions of a Democratic rout in November, and most importantly, I told her that had she been in today's generation, she'd be right alongside these people.

She agreed with me there.

But here's what I find fascinating. Today's people powered movement ISN'T powered by her types, the Hippies and the Commies. Today's movement is powered by people like me, people who'd been disgusted with the greed of the few, the compliance of the many and the lack of leadership from the government. We have friends who are Hippies and Commies, but we don't identify with them.

We're the ones born too late to be Hippies, but understood the passion and the idealism of them. Only we want to sleep in comfortable beds and not cots, nor do we wish to live in communes. We see the ease of life for the super-rich getting eased more and more, whereas the travails of the average worker become more and more burdensome. And we're saying enough.

We're the ones who've made friends internationally through internet games/chatting, and are shocked when we hear how the U.S.A. is perceived by others throughout the planet. We're the ones looking at our bankbooks and wondering if a catastrophe like Katrina hit our area, what would be our fate? We're the ones wondering how Bush could throw a $40 million inaugural ball and give a paltry 3 million to tsunami victims. We're the ones wondering how high gas prices will go and whether we can afford cereal at the grocery store. We're the ones astounded that people are proposing to make it a crime to even FEED an illegal immigrant.

We are ordinary people and we are pissed.

Oh, the irony of all this? Today's movement sees concessions in compromises too. The Hippies and Commies have managed to convince the rest of us that compromising with the Devil is a losing battle. Only the Hippies and Commies mostly are staying out of today's fight simply because they see it as ramming heads against a wall.

 
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