Back when Occupy Wall Street was just beginning, I wrote a post called Solidarity Means All of Us.
It included a Venn diagram that showed the overlap between Tea Party and Occupy interests. I wrote in brief about the dangers, as I perceive them, of becoming too divided as a nation. If danger is too strong for you, then we can discuss our polarity in terms of productivity instead. As in, when we’re busy telling each other we’re wrong, we’re not getting a whole lot else done.
I closed that post with this thought:
“While we’re beating each other over the heads with our clever poster board signs, the corruptions we’re passionate about dismantling will continue to do their profit-hungry bidding right beneath our noses. And the shame will be on all of us.
Solidarity is what will win this movement for everyone. Stand together.”
There are two issues that have come up recently…
…that make me facepalm so hard that both my face and my palms will likely see bruises before congress votes on them. They are SOPA / PIPA and the National Defense Authorization Act bill. I’ve posted on Facebook about each of them, and to my surprise, my few conservative/tea party Facebook friends have eagerly jumped into the threads to voice disgust that matches my own. We agree. We actually agree! In light of this miracle, I decided to revisit the topic of bi-partisan solidarity. I see an opportunity here to sow a little unity, and I’m jumping in with both feet.
For starters, I think I’ll point out the obvious: We’re all getting fucked, equally. So why not let’s work together?
I’m not saying we have to join forces forever, on every issue. That clearly won’t work. But on the issues where we do agree, imagine what it would be like!
Tea Partiers and Occupiers, standing shoulder to shoulder, in peace and respect. Spiky mohawks and safety pinned fatigues, right beside a granny in mom jeans and an appliqued season-themed sweatshirt. Together, we’d be representing our entire population as the patriots on both sides who feel most strongly about, and are most passionately committed to, the freedoms for which America used to be known and lauded the world over.
Imagine the power of all of us, standing together to shake our collective fist at Capitol Hill to cry in unison, “We do not approve!” I would love to see a movement of combined energies, if only just to taste the power there would be in that unity.
Productivity aside, imagine the terror we would instil in our do-nothing congresspeople. Imagine them gathering by the windows to look outside and see something that looks a lot like the real 99%. We’d blow their heads right off.
Remember that saying, “Divide and conquer”?
As siblings tend to mirror combative parents, so too are we as a population reflecting the dysfunctional two-party system that’s modeled in Washington. You know who wins when we’re at constant battle with one another? The terrorists.
Who wins are the exact people at whom we’re channeling our rage. Whether you’re a tea partier pissed about cronyism, or an occupier mad about corporate influence in Washington, while we’re standing on two sides of a line pointing at one another, the very structures we seek to dismantle are growing stronger.
Divided, we’re conquered.
It Won’t Be Easy
As I’ve written this post, I’ve had to backspace the word “bagger” several times and replace it with “partier”. I have my notions about what and who Tea Partiers are, just as they do about us.
I’ve had some scary thoughts about this notion of joining together. Like, for example, what happens when an OWS black bloc kid (notoriously agro and troublesome) comes face to face with some TP gun-toting bigot (notoriously agro and troublesome)? Our chances could be ruined right out of the gate, I suppose. But I also suppose that most of us are fairly moderate patriots, perhaps equally unfairly represented in the media.
I’d like to think we’d control our most difficult members at a united rally the same way more moderate occupiers keep the aggressive ones in check on the heated days of police action. I think the issues are more important to us than hating one another, and if I’m wrong, we’re in a whole world of trouble I don’t have the heart to get into at the moment.
Hey, Tea Party!
Occupy has a slogan we like to chant, and I’d like to offer it to you on temporary loan. It goes like this: The People, United, Will Never be Defeated.
That slogan has a broad meaning, and I would like to formally extend an olive branch over the masking tape line that’s been stuck down the center of our adolescent bedroom. You have the bathroom on your side, but we have the door to the rest of the house. So let’s get together. Let’s…you know…join forces. Just on a temporary basis. I’m not suggesting anything permanent or committal. We’re as reluctant to align ourselves with you as you are with us. But there are disasters happening in congress right now, and stopping them is more important than our stubborn old pride.
Who’s with me? If you have ideas for how to make it happen, please comment.