I'm really liking that protest fever is spreading, from Tunisia to Egypt to Wisconsin! I have been asking myself often lately whether a mass protest in DC could ever topple our government, or even make a whit of difference. Of course, we've HAD mass protests in DC and they've never made a difference; think of all those gay rights marches and peace protests.
But really, could US leadership ever be destabilized by anything its citizens might do in terms of protest? I don't think so, mainly because of the set-up of this country. It's too big, too diffuse -- I could maybe imagine that a big protest in Rhode Island, say against their governor, might have some effect. And I'm only using RI as an example because it's tiny, but picture this: let's say that the governor of RI gets into some big sex scandal or something. He gets caught stealing money right out of the state treasury or whatever. So tons of people (well, at least as many people as they have in Rhode Island) march down to (what the hell is their capital?) Providence (?) and start protesting, yelling "throw da bum out!" or whatever. I can see this having an effect; the governor, knowing he's been caught, might resign. It's a small state, and the crime was clear, and things could fall apart.
But let's say people in the US got fed up--for some of the same reasons the people in Egypt got fed up, like no jobs, a government that wasn't listening, corruption, etc. And god knows the corruption and not-listening in our government are pretty extreme. Still -- could any protest be mustered that would cause our president (or even a congressman or anyone in power) to step down? Would enough Americans unite? Where would they protest, to have maximum effect? If there were, say, protests in every state capitol, would that do it?
I think our government is pretty much downright insulated from anything that we normal humans outside the Beltway do, whether it's protest or suffering or joblessness or every other ill we deal with every day. Our American Revolution already happened, and it will never happen again, no matter how rotten-to-the-core and completely corrupt and corporate our government gets.
On a related note, did you notice that the Patriot Act's clutches are still around our throats and will likely remain there? It barely got mentioned in the media today, even on Democracy NOW!'s show tonight. Yup, "roving wiretaps" and other violations of freedom will likely be extended by Mr. Constitution Scholar.
Back to Wisconsin: has there ever been a more bold-faced attempt at union-busting than Walker's little ploy? At least that's getting the press it deserves, and even President Obama said it sounded like union-busting to him.