Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Harold Ford, Capitolism, and the death of American Protest movements

Once again the inestimable Glenn Greenwald nails the national character up for all to see:

Indeed, given the extraordinary disparity between the government-enabled Wall Street bonanzas and the government-caused financial suffering for most everyone else, it really is somewhat mystifying that there's not only so little populist rage, but no outright disruptive protests. There probably are many reasons why that is so, beginning with a citizenry trained to accept its own helplessness and impotence against a seemingly omnipotent financial and political elite, but this is exactly the sort of gaudy pillaging and resulting wealth inequalities which have produced serious disorder in the past. {emphasis mine}

Interestingly, jalb seems to be on a similar track:

Many Republicans have stated that they are in their positions because it is part of "God's plan." Aside from being an obvious attempt to pander to the evangelical religious, more importantly, I find this just an attempt to remove themselves from responsibility over their own actions and words. After all, it's not you but rather God that is making thus and such happen. For a party that ostensibly prides itself on taking responsibility and claims that Democrats are irresponsible and always passing the buck, this is very tell-tale. It show these individuals are simply two-faced liars who don't want to own up to what they say and do while simultaneously giving them an excuse to say and do the most vile, unChristian nor God-like things.

You see, when a society arrives at a point where it's supposed leaders don't accept responsibility for their actions - much less the consequences of their actions - then its really easy for ordinary citizens to do the same. You don't have to invest your personal energy in a politicla system where ther's no responsibility after all, because if you do, then you have made a decision to be responsible for something, and that just gets you into trouble. Someone else will take care of ti for you - especiallly if you just donate $10 more this week.


Mike at The Big Stick said...

I don't follow how Harold Ford fits into this post.

Philip H. said...

The Harold Ford Reference comes from Glenn's original post, and his point as I read it is that Mr. Ford is, like many politicians of today have abandoned their moral leaderhsip in order to pander to their funding sources, and by so doing, they have enabled the hands off, no responsibility culture.

I think.

secularist10 said...

I find reports of the "death of American protest movements" greatly exaggerated, Philip.

What about the tea partiers? Like them or not, you must recognize that they have become a massive social and political movement.

If you are referring to left-wing movements, of course you have a point--and that is a function of the dominance the Democrats have on the government now (when Bush was in power, there was a flourishing of leftist protesting).

Other than that, there's no question that the moral bankruptcy of a nation's leadership often stems from that of its citizens.

Philip H. said...

Secularist - yes, there are occassional Flourishes of protest on both sides, but where's the PROTEST? where's the March oN washington, with people stretching from the capitol steps to the Tidal basin? Where are the coordinated traffic stoppages in dozens of cities durin gthe height of the business day? where are the email/letter writing campaigns that force politicians and pundits off the national stage?

What's my generation's Kent State?