Who are those people? They look like ordinary citizens but they act like maniacs, screaming at members of congress who want to discuss health care coverage for the tens of millions, including themselves, who are either uninsured or may become so tomorrow. They shout gibberish into the microphones of reporters, things like “I don’t have a job. I don’t have health insurance. Keep the government out of my business!” No one could make this up.
They spread incomprehensible nonsense about President Obama’s birth, and prevent their children from listening to a U.S. president, THEIR president, speak to them in the classroom, as other presidents have in the past.
At first glance they seem to have sprung from the media’s imagination, manufactured to placate the mindless and fill time between stories devoted to happy talk about Wall Street and the ‘recovering’ economy.
I have been to dozens of protests, large and small, since my son was killed in Iraq, but I have never seen anything like today and the only term I can use is: Profound Overkill. There were easily two cops/soldiers for every one of us protesters…or maybe even 3 to 1.
About two thousand of us gathered in Arsenal Park in Pittsburgh to try and march downtown. We were all peaceful and had no weapons. We had only traveled a few blocks when cops dressed like they were in full combat with heavily armed opponents stopped us and blocked our way with a new weapon called “LRAD:” A new “crowd control” device. LRAD stands for: “Long Range Acoustical Device.” I was, unfortunately near it when the cops turned it on. It’s painful.
Just when many conditions seemed ripe for a progressive political movement, the likelihood is fading fast. Concentrated corporate power over our political economy and its control over peoples lives knows few boundaries.
As Republican investor advocate leader Robert Monks puts it: “The United States is a corporatist state. This means that individuals are largely excluded both in the political and corporate spheres.”
Since Wall Street’s self-inflicted multi-trillion dollar collapse last year, the corporate supremacists have shown no remorse. They have become more aggressive: they are blocking regulatory reforms; pouring campaign donations into the governing Democrats’ coffers; and, shamelessly demanding more bailouts, subsidies and tax reductions. They also continue to block avenues for judicial justice by aggrieved people, whether they be the wrongfully injured, defrauded consumers and investors, or jettisoned workers and bilked pensioners.
There is a scene in “Othello” when the Moor is so consumed by jealousy and rage that he loses the eloquence and poetry that make him the most articulate man in Venice. He turns to the audience, shortly before he murders Desdemona, and sputters, “Goats and monkeys!” Othello fell prey to wild self-delusion and unchecked rage, and his words became captive to hollow clichés. The debasement of language, which Shakespeare understood was a prelude to violence, is the curse of modernity. We have stopped communicating, even with ourselves. And the consequences will be as extreme as in the Shakespearean tragedy.