Then the morning came when I opened my eyes and felt the finger of Fate upon me, I knew the time had come…
– Robert Penn Warren
At this moment, tens of thousands of Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over the world are under arms and in peril, engaged in conflicts that serve only to prolong this terrible, endless age of war. At this moment, millions of innocent people are cowering somewhere because of it.
Make no mistake: someone is, at this moment, bathing in riches at the expense of those soldiers, their families, and the untold scores of civilians whose only crime was getting in the way of the first, best, and biggest payday of this new century. The last ten years have been a festival of profit-taking for a small collection of people you will never meet.
None of them will ever be buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, yet their fortunes have been made off the blood and bone and soul of the American soldiers who have gone into that cold ground, and off the screams and agony of millions of innocent human beings ensnared and annihilated by an American machine that eats, and eats, and eats.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans are sitting in their homes with an acid bath at work in their stomachs, fear just behind their faces, because their family is all around them, and they don’t want to let it show that the roof over their heads is hanging by a thread because the job just cut back hours and layoffs are imminent. A lot of people have stopped believing in the idea that hard work and dedication will carry them forward, because they are running as fast as they can just to stand still, and that’s if they’re lucky. A lot of people are going backwards, even as the richest among us enjoy record profits, obscene bonuses and tax breaks that would make Marie Antoinette blush into her cake.
If a family does have to go on relief, well, good luck after November, because even the hardest-working families that need help might have to live up to the Republican ideal, which in the world of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and Rand Paul and Rick Santorum means there is no help, because real Americans don’t need help, but have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, whatever bootstraps are…and it really doesn’t matter in the end, because poor people don’t count anyway.
A large and growing segment of the population does not think this is right, and have been saying so in ways both loud and subtle since September
The Occupy Wall Street movement hurled down a marker, and changed the nature of the conversation in this country in the process. For the first time in decades, income and tax inequality, and the pornographic economic largesse given to the wealthy, have become fodder for mainstream political discussion.
Last fall, the movement was met with violence in a number of places, but only after the encampments had been in place for weeks. Last week, in New York City, the movement was met with extreme violence almost from the moment it raised its head.
It appears the authorities have no intention of letting the movement take root this spring, and have put us all on notice that life and limb will be in peril for anyone who dares to stand up. As before, it will all be documented – if last week is any indication, the police still have yet to catch on to the fact that everyone is a journalist in the 21st century, and their violent tactics no longer happen in the dark – and instead of dissuading people from joining in, their heavy-handed tactics will motivate them like never before.
History cracks me up, because it really does repeat itself. The original name for St. Patrick’s Day is “Evacuation Day,” commemorating the day when the British fleet- under patriotic duress – fled Boston Harbor. That was a tipping point that eventually led to American independence. March 17, 2012 in Zuccotti Park now stands as a similar day of pride in American history. The authorities pushed people around, beat them up, put heads through windows, and made it all too clear that Occupy Spring is going to be a serious, even brutal affair.
The intimidation is very real, and the danger of harm is vividly present, if last week is to be the norm for Occupy Spring. They want to kill this thing before it begins.
We cannot let that happen. We have come too far, and accomplished too much, to let them scare us back into the cowed submission that allowed this country to be plundered in an orgy of greed, fraud and state-sponsored for-profit murder abroad.
Not again. Never again. This is your time. This is our time. Let us show them what real American courage looks like, as we make for ourselves and our children the better country, and the better world, we know is possible.