Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where Does Change Come From?

Right now it comes from the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. Some of us thought it came from electing Barack Obama in 2008, some of you were afraid that was true. Sorry to disappoint you both. Presidents can have an effect (look at the Health Care Bill (which I am glad for)l and the Iraq War and our state of seemingly permanent war (which I am not glad for) ). But big, societal change comes from the people. The Tea Party has shown us the power of a movement to redefine the political agenda; OWS can do the same.

If you want change, get behind one of the groups out there, are start another one if you don't find your issues represented by the Tea Party or by Occupation Wall Street.

I will attempt to summarize your choices, readers with better knowledge please correct me if I'm wrong.

The Tea Party stands for absolute individual freedom, and little or no reliance on government. What this means is little or no taxes, little or no regulation, and little or no social safety net and government services. Our current social safety net includes things like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment payments, foodstamps. Our current government sevices include things like the military, K-12 education, public Universities (tuition is state subsidized, although it is certainly not free), public libraries. Support the Tea Party if you want to be free, pay lower taxes, and see a lot of the list above go away.

Occupation Wall Street (and the other Occupy movements) seem to stand for greater opportunity for those with lower incomes. This implies an increase in the social safety net and in government services. It also implies higher taxes. I see OWS as a move toward a more European-style state (look up the German Education System and the German Tax System in Wikipedia for an example). Support the Occupy movements if you want things like free College tuition, help for homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments because they lost their job, help for the unemployed, and higher taxes.

Let me put in a plug for OWS here, since that's where my sympathies lie (unless the Tea Party takes a lesson from the Amish, that is):

Maybe you like some of the OWS issues, support for the homeowners and unemployed, but not free tuition, say. Maybe you are put off by the students demanding cancellation of their student loan debt. If some of the other OWS issues do fit with your priorities, then get involved with OWS, make your point, maybe they could learn something from you.

Right now it's either OWS or the Tea Party, or start your own.