Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Mar 03rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Righteous Display of Anger

tom_honig_sThe “Occupy” political movement is one of the most fascinating developments in recent years, as frustrated, self-described regular folks are stepping up to demonstrate just how furious they are with Wall Street.

They’re calling themselves the “99 percenters” and they’re focusing their antipathy towards the “1 percent” that they see as nearly taking down our economic system.

The anger stretches nationwide, even here in Santa Cruz, where it would be hard to argue that even a single “1 percenter” is living in our midst.

Which brings up only one of a number of questions that “Occupy Santa Cruz” will face in coming weeks and months.

Among them:

What is it that they want?

Who are they demonstrating against?

What are they occupying?

If they raise money, what financial institution will handle thelr affairs?

Beyond gathering and marching, what activities will they organize?

But asking those questions implies opposition to the cause. And at least in my case, that’s not true.

There’s little question that corporate corruption mixed with governmental incompetence and societal greed all conspired to nearly bring down the entire world economy in 2008. The federal treasury bailed out several financial institutions, removing any sense of consequences for their CEOs bad decisions.  Now, three years later, things have only improved marginally for most people.

But the privileged few on Wall Street are doing fine. Even after the near-collapse, they still get their bonuses. Even those who lost their jobs got golden parachutes sometimes exceeding $100 million.

Can you blame the protesters? What other strategy do they have?

The sad reality is that the U.S. government really had no choice but to bail out the banks. But the chosen few on Wall Street could have refused the bonuses and showed a modicum of selflessness.

They didn’t—and finally an unruly throng descended on the financial district of New York City. And then others did the same around the country—even here in Santa Cruz, where it’s difficult to find someone to target.

Some say that the “Occupy” movement is far different from last year’s “Tea Party” movement that swept through the right wing. I think they’re bookends.

Those on the left and those on the right are both reacting to what appears to be a Wall Street-D.C. Beltway nexus that appears oblivious to the needs of most people in the country.

Most people see that their public officials respond more to special interests than they do to voters. Just take a look at Washington’s abysmal track record in responding to the crisis: a 2,300-page Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. Few, if any, in Congress have even read it. What drives such a complex bill? Special interests.

(As a comparison—the legislation that established the Federal Reserve system was 31 pages. The Glass –Steagall Act of 1933, which prevented 2008-style collapses until it was repealed during the Clinton Administration, was 37 pages.)

So with bad actors on Wall Street, and compliant incompetence in Washington, what are normal folks expected to do?

Don’t expect miracles coming out of the Occupy movement. Organized political entities—MoveOn.org, labor unions and even the Democratic party —will try to swoop in and take advantage of the discontent. And already Republicans are vilifying it, even while cheering on the Tea Party on their side of the divide.

Those of us not joining the movement nevertheless ought to understand it. We also ought to understand the Tea Party as well.

Unfortunately, these populist movements rarely result in the kind of effective legislation that’s probably needed; rather, we’ll likely end up with more convoluted, 2,000-page documents that just add to red tape.

Instead, the best solutions available won’t fit on a picket sign. A more equitable society will require better education of its people and a better sense of duty. It seems like a long time ago that President Kennedy reminded us to ask ourselves what we can do for our country.

Those qualities don’t come from legislation. And maybe that’s, really, what the protesters are asking for: openness, equality and a lot more honesty than we’ve been getting from our financial and governmental institutions.

Who can blame these folks for getting out and expressing their anger? Not me.


Tom Honig’s online website, The Santa Cruz Observer, is available at tomhonig.com.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia