Politics, liberalism, socialism, conservatives, and the Occupy Movement

11 Oct

I live in Mississippi, one of THE most conservative states in the Union.  It isn’t known for progressive ideas or having a fondness for change.  I didn’t live here during the previous election, and have no idea if they voted for President Obama or not.  It doesn’t even matter to me.  Sometimes, I have to roll my eyes, because as a Liberal Conservative or Conservative Liberal…I find some things woefully outdated here.  Like requiring Greg and I to have a syphilis blood test to get our marriage license–of all the things to test for in 2011, syphilis is actually the least of them.  Only one other state apparently requires this blood test.  I am not sure what they do if you turn out to HAVE syphilis, no one informed us of that when we were inquiring about the requirements.

There are a lot of things that I do not anticipate happening in Mississippi in the coming century.  Things like medical marijuana are about as likely as a herd of state supported flying pigs.  Part of me is very surprised about the states that have casinos–I honestly wonder how they got the necessary laws passed, since gambling is regarded as a social evil by most of the counties within the state.  I suspect that it was tax dollars that appeared in legislatures eyes and helped push the bill–those dollar signs can often trump moral righteousness.

So this morning, I leafed through the paper, which because of our proximity to Mobile, Alabama, also contains substantial Mobile news.  Inside, there was a political cartoon, often a good sign of which way the wind is blowing in terms of local public opinion.

Mobile is unlikely to have a viable Occupy Movement group get a grasp on the hearts and souls of its citizens, it seems.  I’d not put my money on that horse anyhow.  The cartoon I saw illustrated public opinion (or so we suspect.)  It showed a “future protester” and then the adult protester, indicating that a protester was a grown-up spoiled child demanding something that his betters had decided wasn’t necessary or even good for him.

I’ve heard a lot about the socialism of the Occupy Movement, but I don’t perceive it as socialist movement.  I perceive it as an anti-corruption movement at its core, for it is the corruption that has caused so many problems.  Politicians apparently don’t like being regarded as a pestilence upon democracy either, but they’ve done it to themselves…with the voters consent.

Jefferson got re-elected in Louisiana, while under indictment for accepting bribes, and the videos were apparently shown on national television repeatedly.  The voters did the re-electing, and Jefferson was convicted with the evidence against him, resulting in his seat needed to be filled.  At least you can’t represent your district while currently incarcerated, even in Louisiana.  That isn’t pointing the finger at Louisiana, either.  They aren’t the only state with corruption, even if everyone likes to think they are.  They likely aren’t even the worst about it, they are judged guilty because its often not a secret, whereas the other states like to bury their heads in the sand and deny its existence.  That’s all the fault of an apathetic voter population.  If you don’t get out and demand better, you sure won’t get it!

Politics always caters to the lowest common denominator.

We have let our government become a government stuffed to the gills with corruption, bureaucrats,  red tape, pompous and arrogant politicians, and corporate shills.  This is the result.  Don’t like it? Do something about it.  Like it this way? Do something to keep it this way, like almost nothing.

I’m a bit uncertain about the Occupy Movement, I’ll admit that.  I’m not physically up to coping with the rigors of being a demonstrator myself either, and the idea of being roughed up by police is extremely intimidating to me because of my physical issues.  How would I cope with that kind of abuse?  Is it reasonable to even contemplate such a thing?

Maybe I’m excessively empathetic to their situation and idealism, but once upon a time, I too was young and idealistic, and I would have been right there with everyone else, fighting for what I believed in.  Now…I realize that when you get smacked with a baton, bones and tissue can be seriously damaged and take months to heal.  I struggle with daily routines such as getting dressed and brushing my hair, how could I defend myself when confronted with angry and aggressive police officers?

Do I think that these demonstrators are the adult versions of spoiled children?  Not in most cases, but there can be some–they grow up and go SOMEWHERE, don’t they?  Spoiled children just usually don’t grow up to become empathetic adults with social woes on their minds.  They usually grow up to become adults without empathy for others and greed on their minds–the same ones that have fed this cycle of corruption and greed.

I do think there is a lot of idealism in the Occupy Movement, and while that can be a good thing, it can go horribly wrong too.  We saw the rise of many communes in the 60s and 70s.  They had great ideas, but the idealism didn’t always follow through–too many didn’t realize that EVERYONE has to contribute equally, or some get tired and disgruntled, and move on.  Communes were an extreme example of idealism, and the bigger they were, the harder they fell.  They didn’t work.  Utopia isn’t found in a commune.  People are often lazy and greedy at the same time, and they can shatter idealism to the core in a season of hard work.

We’ve tried a lot of things in America that turned out to be big mistakes, and we’ve had to work hard to rectify them when we made them, as a nation, as states, as communities, and as individuals.  We’ve built a big government, and we’re discovering that it was a big mistake now.  It’s gotten too big for its britches, and it spends more time thwarting individual rights than it does in protecting society from corporate predators.

Corporate predators…those massive entities that apparently have “rights” as individuals, yet lack responsibilities.    Our current woes include things like GMOs, oil spills, high energy prices, low wages, out-sourcing to foreign countries, importing cheap (and contaminated) goods, high priced medications, lack of health care, and unevenly distributed tax loads.  The list could go on and on, with everything from environmental destruction to even genocide.

We’ve let them get by with it.  Over and over.  What’s that old cliche?

Something along the lines of: Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

It’s our fault, and it is long past time to do something about it.

Is the Occupy Movement the beginning of “something about it“?

We’ll see.

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