The Varieties of Thanksgivings
Happy Thanksgiving Day 2011

Special 2011 Thanksgiving

category_bug_politics.gif With Congress into its second or third year of dysfunction, with mainstream media, elected officials and their police enforcers working overtime to discredit the 99 percent movement, there isn't much to be thankful for in our world at large – except one extraordinary thing:

Let us praise the outstanding contribution of the Occupy protesters. Arrests, beatings, pepper spray, arrogant “let them eat cake” mayors and all, in two months they have changed the national debate, turned it on its head.

Before OWS, the public conversation was about deficits and “shared sacrifice” in which the poor and middle class pay and the rich (“job creators” dontcha know) reap the rewards.

OWS changed that. Now we are talking about mounting inequality, stagnant unemployment, hungry people and the declining middle class.

Two weeks into OWS, the media asked how long it would/could last. They predicted cold winter weather would end it. City officials across the land did their part to fulfill that prophecy by confiscating tents, personal belongings and shutting down encampments – sometimes violently.

And still, OWS continues. Still, the conversation continues to be about social inequality and justice. Glory be, how long has it been since those two words have been uttered seriously in the public square?

That is an astonishing achievement for a bunch of “dirty hippies” who, according to the most Marie Antoinette of them all this week, Newt Gingrich, should take a shower and get one of those non-existent jobs.

But he is wrong to scorn them. Wrong about what and who they are. And on the wrong side of history too. The OWS protesters, mostly young folks, are going to change everything. Oh, not completely (you can never sink the oligarchs, but you can control them a bit until next time) and certainly not quickly.

Or so I predict. What the powers that be gathering their forces against the demonstrators don't understand is that it has passed a tipping point now. Every photograph of baton-wielding riot police, every injured war veteran demonstrator, every pepper-spray viral video makes every posturing politician denouncing the movement look more ridiculous.

And each one of those instances gains the Occupy movement a few more supporters.

Cold weather and more state-sponsored violence may change the demonstrations, but I don't believe they will stop. These “kids” have proved their resilience and creativity in face of all attempts to silence them.

So as we sit down to our holiday dinners tomorrow, let us be certain to include in our gratitude lists the OWS protesters. Each one of us and the country at large will all benefit from their work.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Shopping

Comments

Happy Thanksgiving, Ronni. Your planned dinner makes me want to fly down there and crash the party.

Have fun.

P.S. Woke up to first snowfall.

I have one thing to say about your comments on the young OWS protesters (and their older supporters): Amen

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Yes, absolutely, OWS protesters have made a big difference and I'm with you on that. I do not think it is over, not by a long shot.

We (Canadians) had our Thanksgiving six weeks ago, may yours be wonderful too.

How soon "they" forget the Chicago & VietNam War Protestors. Have a wonderful blessed Thanksgiving everyone. Dee:)

Here the media is waving the flag of deficit spending to maintain the protesters. Cost effectiveness of the police presence. Lost wages of those who work in the space they occupy. Endless dithering that only makes my city look foolish.

I have much more to be grateful for her. Both my children are alive. Sometimes it's things like this that really focus ones thanks.

Remember the Freedom Riders -- they were mostly young and idealistic -- they went through great perseverance, brutal treatments by police and citizens. The Freedom Riders were spotlighting the inequalities and injustices of our black citizens. A social movement developed that became stronger through time. The result, in the long run, eventually created the Civil Rights Act. I am in agreement with you as are many, many others. -- barbara

Thank you for speaking in support of these brave young people and their important goals. Forgive the responses of the ignorant and the violent who try to hurt these our sons and daughters and hurt themselves far more. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Great Post Ronni.

This is one of the most rewarding narratives that we can become involved with to motivate those in control to make the changes needed to prevent further declines in our once vibrant middle class and social safety nets for elders, children and the handicapped.

Great post Ronni
and Happy Thanksgiving.

I have very high praise for the Occupy-ers!!
I marched with them a couple of weeks ago here in San Diego County -- and believe me, there were a lot of us Elders with gray hair there! It was like a reunion of the 1960s crowd who, like me, had marched with the Civil Rights movement in the cities of America. I talked with Elders who had marched in Los Angeles, Chicago and many other big and little cities. Brought tears to all of our eyes to march and hold up big signs again!

Amen to your OWS comments. Thanks for the post and Happy Thanksgiving!

Occupy won't go away. We elders have to be out there with the young, because people in the middle years are having to spend 100% of their time making ends meet.
I hope there is enough of a center for things to hold in the U.S. In Egypt, things have spun out of control, and casualities are horrendous.
The issue is the same; it's a matter of degree. The rich want most of the wealth and resources for themselves and want to get away with giving the minimum to the rest of us.

I am so happy that we, the people, are not going to take it anymore. It is shaking up the powerful and for that I am very grateful.

I am sick of the voices that deny the injustice we are all enduring and try to characterize the protesters as homeless unwashed hippies. So what it they are? The question is, why are they homeless? The old mantra 'get a job' no longer works with the unemployment rate stuck at 9%.

I have advocated making our voices heard for a long time and I am very happy that it is happening. And I am sad that the protesters are being blamed for the violence. It's "blame the victim" all over again.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I truly love watching the Powers That Be go crazy over what they otherwise deride as "dirty hippies" who should "get a job" (as if!).

For 30 years, we've been hearing this endless stream of cr*p about "trickle-down economics". Now that its many failures are manifest and FINALLY people start to protest, the oligarchs are having spasms.

Did they ever truly think we all believed in magic, as they apparently needed us to?

Go Occupy!

I agree with you all & support the occupy movement wholeheartedly. Yes, we beat them back about Vietnam, and this is much bigger. The 99% need good honest leaders & hopefully they will emerge, too.

Meanwhile, I'm grateful for Ronni and the commenters--makes me feel far less alone!

Merry Thanksgiving to all!

Maybe I shouldn't be, but I'm astonished at the violence used by the police on *peaceful* protesters. VERY disappointed that Pres. Obama, who I've always supported, is so vocal on the human rights of those in other countries and has nothing to say about the police trampling the constitutional rights of American citizens at home, including veterans.

Another thing Mayors, and the politicians have forgotten is: The OWS protesters VOTE.

Many of the individuals in the OWS encampments have legitimate gripes and stories of lost opportunity and financial hardship. This no one can deny. But I'm puzzled that nobody challenges their claim to "represent the 99%." The OWS protesters say the tax burden should be distributed more fairly.

What 99%? Consider that about 47% pay no taxes at all -- that group has no gripe about taxation. So the people who are overtaxed are the remaining 53%. If one goes to the actual figures -- the top 50% of earners pay 97% of the taxes; the top 25% pay about 86% of the taxes; the top 10% pay around 70% of the taxes; the top 1% pay around 38% of taxes. So what is this "99%" about? Who should really be complaining about inequality of taxation? Who is supporting whom? Consider -- we know that many citizens in Greece are rioting in the streets about cutting government benefits -- but just because they have sincere and strong emotions, are their demands rational?

@happy ponderer - you forget about payroll taxes (Medicare, Social Security), as well as sales tax. Anyone who earns any money and who buys things pays taxes. Most people in the "47%" live in poverty and so don't pay income taxes for that reason. GE earned billions of dollars this year and didn't pay any tax either - are they part of this 47% that you disapprove of?

I stand with OWS, 99% is us. Thank you, Ronnie, for saying so well what so many of us feel. It reminds me of the "Yes Cukes, No Nukes!" days.

Elizabeth, I, too, am irked that GE paid no income taxes (but, as you point out, they paid FICA, unemployment insurance, sales tax, etc.) But their zero income tax, although immoral, was not illegal. It's the law that was at fault. I'm sure GE and other corporations paid lobbyists to influence the law, but they didn't actually pass those laws. It was our government. In fact, GE could be sued by its shareholders if they decided to ignored the existing laws and generously pay 35% tax.

For that matter, our current economic downturn had its origin in Washington. It's not only the Republicans with their insistence on lessening regulations. It was also the Democrats' strong-arming the banks to lend money to clients who were, in all truth very poor risks, so that they could "realize the American dream." The unintended consequences of social engineering. The very people they tried to help are suffering the most.

The OWS people are misdirecting their energies -- they should be picketing the Capitol and the White House.

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