Friday, February 18, 2011

Random thoughts on protest and Egypt

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.


Life As I Know It Now said...

Yup, "roving wiretaps" and other violations of freedom will likely be extended by Mr. Constitution Scholar.

We live in a corrupt police state too, just not as extreme as it was/is in Egypt(yet).

libhom said...

I'm sure Mubarek thought he was insulated from the Egyptian people too.

Abu Scooter said...

Whatever security our government has from us derives largely from its global superpower status. That's been fading for a while now, accelerated by its insistence on throwing money at Wall Street, Baghdad and Kabul.

When (not if) the U.S. has seen its status sink low enough, we'll see how well the Feds can handle a something like the incipient neo-apartheid rebellion in Phoenix, the worker protest in Madison, or multiple case of both. At that point in the future, the Village's position may not be so certain.

dguzman said...

Liberality--seems that way, doesn't it?

Libhom--you're probably right there, sir. Especially with his little army around him.

Abu--we can hope for, and/or we can fear that day. It's a weird mixture of both for me; part of me wants to see what will happen when gas costs ten bucks a gallon and the seams holding everything together here start to burst. But part of me is scared shitless of that very time.

gmb said...

dguzman: What we could do is stop buying shit from the big corporations. That would create real fear, because "they" can't force you to go to Wal*Mart to buy dvds and Chinese-made socks. If 10% of us said no, and only bought American-made stuff, it could effect change. As for the government, I understand that when Daily Kos or another popular site tells people to call their senators, the phone lines/e-mail systems go down. It's not impossible. Remember the Montgomery bus boycott. Look, "they" want you to think that we can't effect real change here. Bullshit. Vote with your dollars. Refuse to go along. Object. Call and complain. Wear the fuckers down.

dguzman said...

Good point, gmb. I do try to avoid as much as possible buying cheap plastic shite from China, et al., and I definitely wish more people would do the same.

Your words are echoing in my head now -- you're so right: "they" want us dumb and docile, and I kinda fed into that with this post. It's like every presidential election, when a Kucinich runs for pres and the networks etc. completely ignore him. "They" block real change at every turn, and we let them.