Revolutions Take Time: From Occupy to Bernie and Beyond
For years now the United States has seen a number of major shifts in policy and economics that have radically, negatively impacted the middle and lower class in ways not seen since before the great depression. The reason for this in a nutshell boils down to short-sighted greed and pure, legalized corruption.
We don’t use the word “corruption” very often in the mainstream because it’s a very serious charge to levy. Make no mistake, the current money in politics system is corrupt through and through. Remember the movie American Hustle? That was all about buying politicians in the 1970’s with a briefcase full of cash slid under the table. Truth be told, if you did that today it would be just as illegal but the thing is you don’t have to. Pay offs no longer have to be done in the shadows. In today’s America you can be given unprecedented amounts of money in full view of the public, hiding nothing and it’s totally above board. All you have to do is call the funds a speaking fee or campaign contribution and your bribe is totally legal.
The thing about all that is folks have started not only realizing this, they’ve gotten to the point where they are fed up and ready to take action.
That brings us to Fall 2011 when a new protest movement called Occupy Wall Street (OWS) began in New York City. The people, young and old turned their anger towards those they viewed to be at the top of the greed pyramid. They called out bankers, corporations and began ranting about something called “Income Inequality”, a term not common previously.
The OWS movement spread like wildfire. Not only across the country but across the world. Protesters were in it for the long haul and they literally set up camp in cities all over the world for months. It was amazing. It was inspiring! It was something I’d never seen in my life. Then it was over. As the winter rolled in camping in a NYC park became less and less possible. Eventually the protests fizzled out. Critics of the movement ridiculed it and celebrated its end. Some members of the movement felt like it was a failure.
OWS didn’t get a single banker fired or prosecuted. They didn’t get money out of politics and they didn’t reduce income inequality. Revolutions take time. The groundwork laid by the OWS movement is very much still with us today and while it may not have been in the form of protest songs and placards, the movement has continued to grow.
Income inequality became a hot topic in the 2012 election thanks to this movement. That conversation continues today in our current election cycle. The number of citizens that see, understand and side with those who want this issue fixed has skyrocketed. While most of the newcomers don’t consider themselves OWS members, that’s the group they’ve joined.
These people are what has given rise to Bernie Sanders as a Presidential contender. Without OWS we would never have a major political contender who could speak against the establishment and for the people. Bernie has been on this page for decades. You can watch video after video, story after story of Mayor, Congressman, then Senator Sanders warn us of the effects of these policies. Sadly his well informed and now validated predictions usually fell on deaf ears. He made lots of sense but he was only one voice. The politicians and corporations that perpetrate this corrupt collusion could easily ignore him. He was on his own. He had no power because they didn’t give him any… or so they thought.
Even though the people started to address these issues in 2011 they’ve gotten worse in some cases and frustration has continued to grow. This is the type of frustration that is in a way, inspiring. It allows people to actually take drastic steps they may have not considered before. Steps like supporting a Democratic Socialist for President of the United States.
Bernie Sanders has spoken to we the people. He has not only understood our plight but he’s lived it. He speaks a message of working together and looking out for your fellow human to help bring back the middle class and make this nation strong again (without new wars or walls). His core point is removing corrupt money from politics that has allowed the corporations to write their own rules and take over the system.
That message has resonated strongly. In the recent months we’ve seen Bernie fill stadiums and pack huge parks with tens of thousands of people. He draws crowds that break records and make rock stars jealous. He’s gone from being considered unelectable to becoming a force that has taken on the strongest political machine in the history of our nation, the Clintons and held his own. He’s consistently raised more money than Hillary and he’s doing it all with an average $27 a pop from regular people. He’s won some states with 70 and 80 percent of the vote. In other states he’s taken districts that were strong Hillary victories 8 years ago and turned them into his voters by huge margins. He’s energized millions including many who have never participated in the process and certainly never considered themselves activists or socialists.
Now we are faced with another bump as it looks like Bernie may not get the Democratic nomination. Much like the end of the OWS protests many folks are disappointed and discouraged. Revolutions take time.
It pains me to write these words but, Bernie may not be our silver bullet savior. Our hope that this is finally what we need and he’s the standalone solution to these massive issues may not be realized. Truth be told, Bernie himself has been telling us that from the start. He may be rather, just one more step further. If so, what a huge, impressive, inspiring step it has been!
We need to keep this history in mind as we go forward. Our work is not done. The Clintons, Wall St. & the corporate lobbies have not won. They have just squeaked out a bit more time. Make no mistake, their days of corruption are limited and even they know it.
Many fear we are headed for pitchforks and torches but I honestly believe we will be able to fix the system in a more civil way. Look at what where we’ve gone, from a leaderless protest movement in the streets to a legitimate political power that is shaking up the establishment.
Our next step whatever that may be will bring us even closer to our goals of helping our people. The issues we are facing have been decades in the making. It’s silly of us to think we can fix it all with a few quick actions. Looking at the progress we’ve made already should be inspiring. We have proven the power of the people. They’ve had to pull out all the corrupt stops to slow us down. From voter fraud and blatant over the top media bias to using kiddie porn to shut down online forums they’ve had to scramble and claw to slow us down and I don’t believe they have much more left to throw at us.
We’ve got them on the ropes, no time to let up now! The people will prevail it’s just going to take a little while longer.
Revolutions take time.
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