"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance"

--James Madison--

"The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries, but between authoritarians and libertarians"

--George Orwell--

The 155 Million

Too many people on the left make the false assumption that everybody is upset about the same things.  That everybody is fighting the same demons.  They think that everybody else either also blames "Wall Street" and the "1%" for all of their problems, or is an uneducated idiot.  Or worse, if you're not on board with their agenda, you're either a supporter of the "police state" that they imagine that they're living in (quite an unusual "police state" that lets dissidents openly whine about the government on their computers), or you're one of those dreaded "one percenters" yourself.


Like I said, this is one strange police state that allows open dissent and protest.  True, the police are breaking up some of the "Occupy" protests.  After putting up with their vandalism and other assorted law breaking for over a month.

I have a clue for the Occupy folks.  Your right to peaceably assemble ends when you stop acting peaceably.  If you break laws, other than laws specifically aimed at quashing protest and dissent, then you are no longer acting peaceably.

When a protester over a month ago threw a rock at my truck, he forfeited his First Amendment rights.  I have no idea why he threw a rock at my truck. I'm not "Wall Street".  I'm not a "one percenter".  Hell, I'm not even a "ten percenter" anymore.  I used to be, but I'm not anymore.  I don't blame that fact on people more fortunate than myself, or our financial system.  The same financial system that once made me a "ten percenter" didn't change my fortunes one way or the other without input and action from me.

My truck isn't even very new.  Seven years old.  It does look nice, though.  That's because I take care of it, not because I'm a wealthy Wall Street executive (I'm not).

But someone from Occupy Denver threw a rock at it anyway.  I hope that whoever it was was one of the protesters that got a pepper ball as a souvenir from the Denver Police Department.

Way to go, folks!  You're alienating and pissing off the very people whose support you're going to need to get anything done.  The 155 Million.  The 53%.

155 million?  53%?  I deconstructed the numbers a while back, but basically, it really does come down to this.  Half of America basically subsidizes the other half.  Most of us on the subsidizing side don't mind it so much.  It's part of the price of civilization.  Nobody wants to see anybody starve.

Most of the 155M anyway.  There's no particular agreement among us, either.  Some of the 155M are more liberal, and blame some of the same demons as the OWS do for our current economic decline.  Others of the 155M blame the government as much as OWS blames the wealthy and the financial system.

When it comes to the financial system, it doesn't seem that anybody likes them too much.  Especially banks.  It's always fashionable to hate banks.  Can't say I disagree too much.  It is, in fact, a business that attracts a lot of bad actors.

But even though they contributed to the mess, they aren't to blame entirely.

The banks and other financial institutions, the government, the wealthy, and just about everybody else all contributed to the crisis.  Big business had a big hand in it. But jeeziz, folks, people making the median income  didn't cause people below the median income to make less money.  We didn't cause double digit unemployment.

Neither did "Wall Street".  Or "Big Government", either.  Not all by themselves.  We all contributed, each in our own way.  But it takes maturity and courage to admit that the demons didn't cause all of your problems.  To admit that you are also part of the problem takes--balls.

Anyway, as I noted in my last piece, "Trash A Bank", the "Occupiers" sure aren't doing much damage or even inconvenience to actual financial and business interests.  They're just inconveniencing average people who have to get to work.  So they can pay the taxes that pay for, among other things, the damage done to public facilities by the protesters.

The money to fix the damage they're doing comes out of the parks budget.  Way to go!  You Occupiers have yet to cost Bank of America or Wells Fargo a dime, but you're sure trashing the parks budget of a city that has, or at least used to have, very nice parks. 

They're not damaging the bankers.  They're damaging the rest of us.  Folks, there is no such thing as "99%".  Not everybody agrees with you.  Not everybody sees the same demons hiding under the bed.  The protesters sure don't seem to understand that they're becoming a bigger problem for the average working person than "Wall Street" is.  They don't seem to understand that their main problem isn't that the 1% won't play nice and share with them.

So here's a message from me to OWS:

You are mostly a bunch of losers.  But you aren't losers because of "Wall Street", or the "fascist police state".  You're not losers because rich people won't give you free money.  Many, if not most, of you are losers because you won't take risks, you won't behave responsibly, and you expect all of your problems to be taken care of for you.  If you worked hard, lived smart, and took appropriate and calculated risks, most of you would still be poor anyway.  Financial times wouldn't necessarily be any better for you.  Horatio Alger is dead, and his world never existed anyway.

But at least you wouldn't be losers anymore.

As for those of us who are out here plugging along, paying income and other taxes that the top 50% pay almost all of,  we aren't one monolithic group, either.  But maybe we should do some organizing, too.  Because most of us are invested in our society more than the Occupiers are.  99% of Americans may make less money than the other 1%, but 100% of Americans live in better conditions than a good 90% or so of the rest of the world's population.  It's not perfect, but nothing is.  It's not all that bad, either.

It works well enough for the vast majority of Americans that nobody should want to see it torn down and destroyed.  We can always work to improve it, and I'll never stop trying, but there is nothing to be gained from its destruction.  Only from its improvement.

OWS isn't about improvement, though.  It's about destruction.

Watch out, Occupiers.  Watch who you pick as a target.  If your actions truly threaten the interests of people and institutions that have hurt us all, most people will not disapprove.  Even if they don't agree with you. 

But threaten the homes and livelihoods of the majority, and you just might find yourself living in that fascist police state after all.  That would really suck for everybody.  But it would suck worse for you than for me, in all likelihood.

We are the 155M, and we're getting tired of bearing the weight of your temper tantrums.  We're tired of seeing our public facilities trashed and our lives disrupted.  We're getting tired of being your target by proxy because you don't have the strength of your convictions, or the balls, to attack those that you say are causing your problems.

Only destruction comes from destruction.  The 155M, plus the more than 60M that depend on us directly, don't want to see it.  We want to build.  But we shouldn't have to rebuild that which should never have been destroyed in the first place.