Friday, November 18, 2011

Cantor's Overplayed Hand

The video above is my three-and-a-half minute take, Cantor’s Overplayed Hand, on part of what spawned the Occupy/The 99% phenomenon. More specifically, it's a commentary on the link between the Republican Party’s longstanding gross-out-the-voters-to-keep-the-turnout-down tactics and the OWS/The 99% movement.

Note: There may be off-the-wall, or even satirical, material included. So don’t let that scare you. And, for the record, or just in case you’d rather not view the film, the script I wrote for it is as follows:

For decades Republicans have been using a low-road tactic that has helped them win elections: They have deliberately tried to make politics seem so frustrating and disgusting that a lot of people have opted to ignore that side of life … when they can. The process has worked like a charm, because it usually discouraged more Democrats than it did Republicans. It’s no secret that Republicans have seemed to benefit from low turnouts for a long time.

The elections of 2010 provided a good example of what I mean. Lots of liberals were so grossed out by the growling repetition of the Tea Party’s rants, together with what they perceived as the Democrats’ wimpy response, they simply ignored Election Day.

Rather than cite a laundry list of other examples of how this style of gaming elections has worked over the years, usually to the advantage of the GOP, I’m going point out that I sense a change in the air that stems from recent events. Over the summer, to protect the interests of America’s wealthiest one percent, Congressional Republicans threatened to push America into a default, to renege on its debts.

But that time Rep. Eric Cantor and his teammates overplayed their hand so egregiously it became a tipping point. The GOP’s unprecedented brinkmanship blew back into its face. Forget about the phony Super Committee, this time the gross-out strategy helped launch the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon.

When some good number of young citizens returned to school this fall, it seems they had lost their faith in governments at all levels in America. Of course, lots of factors caused the OSW/The 99% movement to materialize this fall. What happened in Egypt and in Wisconsin earlier this year surely played a part, too.

Now the seven-week-old movement has already changed the national conversation. A new, free-spirited force seems to be affecting the political landscape. My hunch is that this country’s three-decades-long drift to the right ended abruptly on Sept. 17th, with the birth of this year’s Occupy movement. Wishful thinking?

Maybe, but Mic Checks are changing political vernacular.

Moreover, in a message aimed at Cantor, and other cock-of-the-walk politicians who routinely do the One Percent’s bidding, I’m saying this: The previously scheduled frog-marching of the American culture back to when it was OK to dump Kepone in the James River, back to before Democrats provided Americans their Social Security program — that forced march back to Gilded Age — it has been cancelled.

Meanwhile, will the GOP’s propaganda machine stop trying to hold down election turnouts, using whatever means necessary?

Of course, they won’t.

Will that immoral, anti-worker, anti-student, anti-99% strategy keep working forever to serve the 1%?

We’ll see.

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