Yesterday I watched Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich flapping his mouth, saying the Occupiers should, "Get a job! After you take a bath." I haven't been so angered something coming from a politician's cake-hole in a long time, and I've heard a lot this past year to raise my personal ire. Gingrich's command to "get a job," means he thinks jobs are out there to be had (from those billionaire "job creators" you Republicans tout, eh, Newt?) The second is about personal hygiene, which is hard to maintain while in tents. I should know; I spent time in the U.S. Army living in tents and foxholes, and yes, I definitely needed a bath. I'll bet it's been a long time, if ever, that you suffered any personal discomfort, right, Newt?
The civil rights era and anti-war movement of the 1960s have both passed into history, with those who supported them considered now to be on the right side of history. What makes the Republicans, who are so baldly trying to protect their monied friends–the 1% who control over 40% of the nation's wealth from the 99% who divvy up the scraps–think they'll come out of this on the right side? Outrage at inequities in our system is what fuels the protests, and the Republicans are working to keep those inequities intact. Every one of the Republican Presidential candidates has spoken out against the protesters.
While that makes me more determined to work against any of them in their run for the President, I'm also disappointed in our sitting President, who is lukewarm at best in response to the protests.
Something else has struck me about the Occupiers: why was it just fine for the Egyptians, Libyans or Syrians to occupy public places to protest their oppressive governments, but not OK for Americans to occupy public spaces to protest an inequitable and corrupt financial system? The hypocrisy in all of this is mind-boggling.
Newt Gingrich, with his "Get a job!" and "...take a bath" reminds me of the famous, "let them eat cake." I've read that the quote has been misattributed to Marie Antoinette, but even so it has a broader meaning, the disdain of the rich for the common folks. That sentiment has been shown over and over again this past year by Republican leadership.
Newt was in trouble in the 1990s, too, as this page by Mad great Al Jaffee shows.
Whoever the Republicans nominate for President better be careful what he says. There's no telling where a movement like this could lead if policies aren't changed. The sight of heavily armed police using batons and pepper spray on unarmed protesters is already all over the Internet, and if unaddressed by political leaders could have serious ramifications. The protesters aren't just protesters...they are also voters, and get enough of them in a bloc and comments like those made by Republicans since the Occupy movements began will come back on them in a very American way. They'll be voted out.