[The Occupy Wall Street movement may not know it yet, but Ron Paul is their candidate. You would never guess this is so from the mainstream media's aloof, retrograde reportage of the campaign season. In the essay below, my wife, Marilyn, explains why the TV networks and the New York Times are missing a grassroots groundswell that will be seen as a Political Revolution by the time the 2012 rolls around. If this proves to be so, look for a shot across the bow when disaffected young people switch their affiliation to Republican so that they can get Rep. Paul nominated. RA]
No one questions that “something” is brewing, or rather simmering beneath the surface in America. The discontent, having finally reached the heretofore silently and sublimely disaffected youth who are occupying Wall Street and any other street in any other town you might mention, is a phenomenon that has every journalist and blogger on the planet analyzing their heads off. Is the OWS movement the left’s Tea Party? Will progressive politicians regret throwing in with the legions of urban campers? Do these people have a platform? Who is supporting them? (Well, we actually know that Soros and the unions are doing that, because they’ve pretty much told us)
These are the questions everyone is pondering, and yet the most obvious issue – one that hasn’t been much written about — is how, and, much more importantly, where will this whole revolution-in-the-making play out? Don’t bother reading the New York Times or tuning in to the nightly news, or even punching up talk radio on your way to work. By the time any of them is onto the latest “breaking story,” the social networkers have already tossed it into the rerun heap, having dissected it to death in the preceding three days. This revolution is happening online, and the average American doesn’t see it. Yeah, we know Obama was elected by “the connected.” But, that was an “early adopter” phenomenon, like the kids on American Bandstand who “voted” for this week’s best dance tune because it had a good beat and catchy lyrics. Obama’s “youth” revolution was merely a well-timed call-to-arms – a call to people who were just then learning how to answer. They liked the hope-y, change-y message because it had a good beat and catchy lyrics.
What is happening now? Well, for one, we have had two grassroots developments in the last two years, wherein people came together to fight “the man.” Sure, in the instance of the
Party it was a very well-defined MAN, and what was being attributed to said man was a level of spend-thriftiness that a portion of the American populace was no longer willing to tolerate. What can be said of the latest incarnation of American fed-up-ness, the Occupy Whatever brigade? Well, they are mad, too. However, they are slightly less informed and mostly less organized than their Tea-bagging brethren. They just want rich people to turn over their riches to them – pay their student loans, pay their mortgages, pay to rebuild their roads and bridges, bring their teachers back to the classroom and their firefighters back to…the fire?
Evening News Is Stale
I know this because I was fighting a bad case of the flu for about ten days earlier this month. Bedridden, I kept abreast of the news of OWS, Greece and the gathering Eurostorm, and other topics of the hour. In every case, the news that I imbibed didn’t even make it to TV for about three days. Seriously. All the YouTube diatribes by hopped up anti-Semites in NY, all the police brutality accusations, all the protests moving to the homes of B of A’s top brass — all of it made it to the evening news…three days after-the- fact. Doesn’t the mainstream media have “online” specialists – people who are supposed to be right on “the pulse” of the young, the hip, the at-the-ramparts people who are…making the news? Apparently not. The TV networks just trudged along, well after the fact, to weigh in on something that had lost most of its relevance in the intervening days.
What does this mean? At a basic level it means just what it illustrates: that mainstream media people are completely out of touch with the electorate. By the time ABC News reports that there might be evidence of anti-Semitism at Occupy Wall Street, the YouTube video of a clearly hopped-up young “protestor” yelling “Jew!” over and over and over again at an elderly man in a yarmulke – a man who evidently erred in thinking he could have a conversation or debate with his young co-protestor — had already made the rounds of every social networking site and was already a tiresome “rerun” put out by people who check their wall once a week and share everything with their 100 friends, who share with their 100 friends. You get the picture.
Those “in the know” online have more influence on how this movement is developing than do the countless liberal sycophants like Michael Moore, or over-the-hill actresses like Susan Sarandon – or even OWS financier George Soros or perpetual foot-in-mouth VP Joe Biden. If you don’t believe me, look at how the protestors’ signs are mutating from “Pay my Loans” and “We are the 99%” to a more reasonable “End the Fed” and “Obama is bought by Wall Street too.” How did this happen? Easy, people who watch the videos online and see how desperately ill-educated the “protestors” are, go down there and try to knock some sense into these people. One person who is particularly adept at it is Adam Kokesh, the former Marine and Libertarian bellwether for countless Young-ish, recently converted Austrian economics students, who, in countless self-produced interviews with protestors, is able, usually in 8-10 minutes, to completely annihilate the faulty reasoning of his “Capitalism is evil!”-spouting victims. About a third of the time he gets them “thinking.” The other two-thirds simply get too frustrated at being made the dupe over and over again and simply storm off, with or without a snarky comment about Kokesh himself.
Backed by Soros
Kokesh has appeared on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show on Fox News. He has a huge following on the internet. But he’s just one of many people who have ventured to Occupy Wherevers around the country to try to get people to see that the problem isn’t capitalism, the GOP, the banks (in isolation) or greedy rich people. The problem is The Government — just as the Tea Party said it was two years ago, before they came up with a plan to get the bums out and replace them with nominally-more-tolerable bums. The OWS-ers, and their comrades in cities around the country (I don’t much care about Occupy Belgrade or Occupy Melbourne, to be honest), started this whole exercise with nothing more than time on their hands and a desire to live through something resembling the exciting sit-ins, stand-ins, sleep-ins and various other sex- and drug-fueled “ins” that their parents were so lucky to attend. They got their free food, their free signs, Wi-Fi access and, in some instances $600/week from the Soros-backed or union-backed goons trying to run the show and dictate the terms of the “debate” – as it is.
The people who are getting through to the hordes, people who at least say that they have gotten others to listen to reason, seem to have similar experiences with the protestors’ modus operandi: “These people just seem to like force.” “They just, I don’t know, they just think that the answer to everything is more government control; just more government in general.” “ Maybe it’s because they learned in school that only the government ‘protects’ us – maybe that is why they believe that government is the only solution.”
Winter Is Coming
How much they get through, and to how many, remains to be seen. With winter coming, the movement may well have to move indoors. Rumor has it that they (Soros and the unions) have secured the first floor of…gasp! – a bank building to house their electronics station when inclemency sets in. But, the longer they stay, the more likely someone will confront them with a solid and reasonable message – maybe just that they ought to be occupying the White House and Congress, for starters. Even now, the signs indicate that is already happening. Do they sense any irony in the fact that Obama’s cabinet is packed with people who, prior to coming on board with him, occupied offices in the very buildings standing above their encampments? One thing they do know: The interview they are doing right now will go viral by sundown. It will be picked and shredded like a Boston Butt days before Bill O’Reilly or Rush or Anderson or Rachel even get a whiff of it.
How will this play out in November of 2012? The election could prove to be the most interesting fallout from the seismic shift in American political discussion, from mainstream media to social media: namely, that what we are seeing on debates, in the recaps and in the seemingly endless parade of panel discussions about Perry’s N-word rock, Romney’s cult membership, Cain’s pizza-price tax plan or Gingrich’s grinching, is all but irrelevant when we ponder the question of what is actually about to happen. The presidential election will be decided by this social media crowd, and those who get their news from television and the New York Times will be the last to realize this.
Crossing Over to Nominate Paul
With the primaries coming, how will we know that this tectonic change is indeed happening if we don’t read about it in the Times? The first indicator will be the number of people who in just the past few months have changed their party affiliation from “X” to Republican just so they can make a difference in who the GOP runs against Obama. Who are they going to vote for: Ron Paul. Yes, the old man with the charming drawl and the dorky shoes has gained a level of online popularity that I haven’t seen since Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain” sensation on YouTube a few years ago.
Ron Paul has touched a nerve in the collective psyche of the young for very simple reasons: He’s been right about practically everything AND he doesn’t take money from PACs – not a penny. Add to that a 30-year track record of principled ideology; a pro-life stand that is grounded unassailably in his experience as a physician; support from active military personnel that is unrivaled; and the ability to raise $2 million in just two days from college kids at $25 per, and you start to see the idea. The young are hungry… no, desperate for a leader who isn’t like the moral-relativist teachers they’ve had for 16 years. They know what integrity looks like, even though it’s been politically-corrected out of their lives. They like simple honesty. They’ll pay for it; they’ll vote for it. All while the news media blather on about Romney’s cult and Perry’s rock.