Joyce L. Arnold: Liberal, lesbian, Independent, equality activist, writer.
How do you change an entrenched system, one designed, funded, maintained by and for the benefit of a handful of the wealthiest of the wealthy, and by necessity, the benefit of the lesser (but still way above the majority of people’s incomes) class which directly serves them? Multiple ways and means, from electoral politics to Occupying your own world, creating spaces for conversation, analyses, options, experiments. New experiments, or at least, variations of the ongoing “experiment of democracy.” And we certainly need something new, which is what the Occupy movement is at least in part about.
But of course, the troubles within the Two Corporate Parties of our Corporate Nation have been visible, and growing, for a long time. Occupy is growing out of years, decades of a “rotten at the top” reality. What follows are excerpts from a few news and analysis pieces that are at least in part talking about our Two Party system. Even at the DC level, Electeds are acknowledging problems. As for the rest of us, we’re way past that point.
Every poll shows it: Americans are hopping mad at Washington.
Well, Washington’s mad, too.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has had recent disagreements with a fellow Democrat, William M. Daley, the White House chief of staff, over the handling of recent legislative issues. …
Congressional Democrats are mad at Democrats in the White House over prerogatives, consultation and divergent interests.
Senior Republicans on Capitol Hill are mad at junior Republicans over the balance between ideological zeal and political pragmatism.
Workhorses in the House are mad at divas in the Senate over everything, because they always are.
Former advisers to President Obama are mad at current advisers over economic and political strategy.
The White House staff is mad at the White House press corps over how its battles with Republican adversaries are covered. …
You don’t hear much “My good friend from across the aisle” language any more.
As Brian Beutler, at TPM, puts it, “Congressional Dysfunction Begins To Spook Old Pros.”
Congress has always been Washington’s whipping boy, particularly near election time. The antics get sillier, the pace shifts from glacial to gridlock, and the frustrated public gets daily reminders that lawmakers are often too mired in politics to function in the national interest.
That’s not news.
What is news is that this time it’s starting to scare the pros.
The GOP’s hyper-partisan turn after Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 meant 112th Congress was destined to test the limits of dysfunctional governance. But it also happened to coincide with a moment in history when the country needed the government to do better than the bare minimum. Instead, it’s done less. And that’s shaken people who’ve spent their careers steering the ship of state.
Beutler then quotes former Def. Sec. Robert Gates as an example of a “pro” being “scared.”
‘I do believe that we are now in uncharted waters when it comes to the dysfunction in our political system … . It appears that as a result of several long-building, polarizing trends in American politics and culture, we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country. Thus, I am more concerned than I have ever been about the state of American governance.’
Krugman broadens the focus in Panic of the Plutocrats, an October 9 column.
It remains to be seen whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will change America’s direction. Yet the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent.
And this reaction tells you something important – namely, that the extremists threatening American values are what F.D.R. called ‘economic royalists,’ not the people camping in Zuccotti Park. …
The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is. …
This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny – and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage.
There’s much more of this sort of analysis. Earlier this week Chris Hedges, at Truthdig, wrote Why the Elites Are in Trouble. On the same day Katrina vanden Heuvel, at WaPo, wrote Will Occupy Wall Street’s spark reshape our politics?.
Three weeks ago, Larry Pinkney’s “Notes on a developing revolution” appeared in the Intrepid Report.
There is, to be sure, a people’s revolution developing in the United States. …
This is a revolution that is in the making ITALICS in spite of ITALICS the corporate-stream media, not because of it.
Neither corporate-government subterfuge or the phony manipulative ping-pong rhetoric of Republicrat [i.e. Democrat & Republican party] politicians can stop this revolution for real systemic change. This is a bottom-up revolution that begins with critically thinking people of all colors and both genders. …
In a March 4, 2011, Intrepid piece, A manifesto for the impending second American revolution, Carmen Yarrusso begins:
The elite oligarchs are getting fabulously rich while a record 44,000,000 Americans live in poverty, a record 40,000,000 Americans rely on food stamps, 30,000,000 Americans are unemployed or underemployed, a record 6,000,000 Americans have given up looking for a job, millions of Americans have lost their homes to foreclosure by the same banksters bailed out by billions of our tax dollars, and, unlike our privileged ‘representatives’ in Washington, 51,000,000 Americans have no health insurance. America is ripe for revolution. …
He argues that the needed reform can’t come by way of a “deeply corrupt political system.”
The only thing our just-for-show elections change is which special interests get our tax dollars and how much they get. …
Quite simply, it’s either revolution or business as usual. Our political system is openly rigged to prevent any real reform. Besides, the elite oligarchs controlling our government would never give up their power … short of a revolt by the American people. …
Hopping mad. Dysfunction. Scared. Panic. In trouble. Deeply corrupt. All of that, describing our Two Party System. No wonder another word you hear is “revolution.”
( Photo via ThinkProgress )