Does the government shutdown, as a form of protest, resemble Occupy Wall Street? The current state of government dominated by business has caused protest on both ends of the political spectrum in the U.S. – and cries out for public recognition that something is very, very wrong.
In chapter two of Citizens DisUnited, I write about the extent to which the corporate community has taken over the US government. In many ways, I see this as a driving factor for the faction that has brought about the government shutdown. This group in Congress represents people who have perceived the same things that I point out in my book, and they’re fed up with it. Citizen dissatisfaction with the Washington circus is at an all-time high and one sector of the population is in favor of – if not the shutdown, specifically – some action that addresses government spending that favors corporate interests.
The illicit union of commerce and government is unacceptable and this group, like the Occupy Wall Street movement, is protesting in the only way they can. The Congressmen realize that in standing up like this they are incurring every imaginable kind of enmity and blame, and from their point it is worthwhile – because they and their constituents see the Citizens DisUnited America as unacceptable.
Look, the shutdown is creating a mess and we will all feel the repercussions the longer it continues. I may not agree with many things this group supports, but I think we have come to the same conclusion about corporate influence in Washington. The shutdown may be further undermining citizen confidence that any good comes out of DC – BUT, I think the citizens behind it are trying to stop government driven by the Chamber of Commerce from pushing us over the cliff.
And, of course, this is what business-dominated government does: It uses national credit to create business and profit for big corporations. The citizens who support the Republican faction feel that unchecked government spending and incurring of debt must be stopped. However, where this group goes wrong is when they try to shape the issues within right-wing party ideology. The issue of our national debt is not new – and the hysteria surrounding it is misplaced because George W. Bush slapped a couple of trillion dollars onto our liabilities and severely hampered our financial security. It didn’t begin with the Obama Administration and it didn’t begin with the Affordable Care Act. But, the insurance companies bought and paid for the Affordable Care Act – whether or not it helps people is a side issue. It was passed because the insurance executives supported it and because it’s a bonanza for the insurance industry. We didn’t get what the people wanted – we got what Wall Street wanted. In the end, both parties have been captured by corporate interests.
So, to my mind the citizens supporting the rogue Congressmen are similar to Occupy. They are both, in a sense doing something outside the norm, outside the system, something unexpected. They are trying to call people’s attention to the problem — they won’t succeed but they could use this opportunity to call peoples’ attention to the problem. Unfortunately, they are rather ham-fisted and inarticulate about it. And, the preoccupation with blaming Obama will not help them. Their entire program seems to be to withhold funding for Obama Care. Instead of looking at the larger problem of corporate influence driving government spending, they are stuck on a loop of party politics that is making them look foolish and will ultimately fail. It raises the wrong issues.