community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
For months now we’ve been hearing about the coming revolution. Maybe, more like just over a year. At first we didn’t believe anything about it. We thought it would pass - most of us anyway. For those of us pacing around, worried about where the money to pay the bills would come from, catching a bus to wherever to follow a script written up by… well, nobody knew who at the time, really didn’t seem practical.
The majority of us were so worried about whether our jobs would be next we missed the scripts others of us, with more time and resources, had been following. They had been going to the designated town hall meetings to unfurl plans to disrupt politicians and make it so nobody but themselves could be heard. They shut down public meetings with protests designed so that normal, everyday people would never be able to get a word in edge-wise.
The strategy worked, and gained them plenty of attention. It was entertaining, but many thought that’s all it would amount to at first. Most thought it was a bleep or a blip and would soon disappear from the political radar.
That was dead wrong. Soon the movement morphed into something less raucous and somewhat more focused. It became more organized and got people thinking differently. It felt empowering, even if you weren’t involved or agreed with their message, you saw people rising up. It looked like ordinary people, and we all felt how powerful that was.
We were told this was to be a movement free from party affiliation. We were told this was to be a movement separate from the influence of big business. We were told this was ordinary folks tired of big government and its growing influence over their lives. We were told this was a movement to shake things up and get rid of the big government/ giant corporation corrupting relationship which had turned Washington into such a cesspool.
Well, soon things changed a little. Right when we were all beginning to be pulled in by the message and influenced, right when we were all saying ‘this is something we understand’ whether or not we agreed with the message, right when we were all saying, ‘well, tell us what else you have to say’ the beginning of the revelations happened.
The message went from ‘no party affiliation’ to one which read ‘pick a side.’ Further elaboration revealed this to mean you needed to decide whether you were going to vote Democrat or Republican. Huh? What about an independent movement? What about a change away from the same old folks in Washington? What about all that hope for America and changing the system?
This was about as new as a mountain. Sure the leaves are never the same and young wildlife enter as the old leave, but the mountain is always the mountain.
That was not what we were told. Of course, all the people being interviewed about the movement on CNN, FOX and MSNBC, not to mention the network news programs, were all current or former Republican bigwigs.
Guess it should have come as no surprise, when all the people selected were almost entirely Republican. Guess it should have come as no surprise, when the GOP establishment began pumping money en masse into the Tea Party candidates. Guess it should have come as no surprise when we realized we had been fooled.
It turned out, in the end, to be a way to corral so many of us into voting Republican again. The same guys who screwed things up so badly less than two years ago. It had been another ploy to get us to vote for one of the big tent parties; to keep buying into the broken system by paying someone to concoct another clever jingle.
The status quo had been marketed to us again and we bought it. Wouldn’t be the first time hope and change had been peddled to us. This time it was merely different faces.
We had also been warned about big government trying to take Social Security and Medicare away from seniors. Then the candidates from the same party began saying some of the first things they wanted to cut were Medicare and Social Security. Who was it that was shoving grandmas and grandpas aside again? Perhaps not all of them believed that.
It was said this would be the time to see a separation between big government and big corporations. It was to be the beginning of a true exorcizing of legislative pork. No more large connections or cozy bedfellows between the two. That was a good thing.
Then we learned the people behind the movement were not average Janes and Joes at all. They were the people being told what to do, those out on the front lines and those going to vote, sure. But, the main folks behind the movement were the men who ran Koch Industries. They had been working on legislation favoring big business for years and when they saw the anger on the streets, they pounced.
But, these men were not of the people. They were not true believers in separation of the public and private sectors. As it turned out they had, since 2000 alone, raked in roughly $100 million in government contracts. They were actually participating in the practice of our government’s cozying up to large corporations, the expansion of big government and the increased spending of tax dollars.
They had been cited for illegal dumping of toxic waste materials, found guilty and forced to pay. They had been cited for stealing oil from Native American lands. They were charged, found guilty and forced to pay. They had been cited for stealing oil from federal lands owned by the same taxpayers who provided them with $100 million dollars. They were charged, found guilty and forced to pay.
They wanted to reduce environmental regulations, huh? I’ll bet they did. They poured millions into trying to debunk greenhouse gas studies, huh? I’ll bet they did. Picked out candidates who just happened to believe most environmental science is bunk, huh? I’ll bet they did.
Then, even worse, after railing against the Washington establishment for what they referred to as a lack of transparency, accountability or willingness to answer questions, the leadership sequestered their candidates, so they couldn’t be interviewed by media except those designated friendly to them. They have been told to stay quiet and not to answer when asked questions by people who may actually challenge them.
Isn’t that a display of a lack of transparency? Isn’t that a display of a lack of accountability? Isn’t that a display of a lack of willingness to answer the hard questions we all want answered?
After all, these are the folks who told us they would be the ones to have the answers. They told us they would be the folks to stand firm and solid when things got rocky. So why are they running for the hills, hiding out in caves or moving only when nobody can see them? They haven’t even been elected into office, yet! Are they that insecure? Talk about disappointing.
This news organization just happens to be the one most friendly to their cause. The news organization recently donated millions to their party (as they are all from the same party) and always covers them favorably.
How can we ever get to know them if they are afraid of reporters? How can we expect accountability from these people if they are afraid to answer the tough questions? How can we expect real solid candidates if they hide from the heat and tell others to run? Real Americans don’t run or hide. Isn’t that what they’ve been telling us? What has happened to this group of folks who were supposed to be so tough? What exactly are they so afraid of?
It really does give one pause. It’s sad for them, but even more so for those of us who had just begun to believe in the hope and change they promised. There just isn’t anything new there - just different wrapping. Hopefully the next time they unveil something new about themselves it won’t be just more peeing on our legs and telling us it’s raining, because that is truly disappointing.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.