Michael Moore Battle Cry Radicalizes the Middle
It wasn’t too many years ago that Michael Moore was booed at the Oscars by the “liberal elite” and the Right demonized Moore for every breath he took; everyone from the center to middle left kept their distance from the filmmaker. So last Saturday, when he gave his rousing speech to the tens of thousands of protesters in the rotunda of the state Capitol, it was shocking that his message was met with enthusiastic cheers by all of the protesters, many of whom were Republicans who voted for Scott Walker. Those Real Americans cheered Moore’s message about the class warfare being perpetrated on Americans.
While the Right tries to paint Moore as an agent of class war-fare, the truth is that his “manifesto against the class war the rich have been conducting on the American people for the past 30 years” stirred the previously stifled feelings of the middle. Moore spoke not just for union members and the economically vulnerable, but also for the white-collar Americans who played by the Republicans’ rules but ended up with their hopes and dreams shattered along with their retirement accounts.
The previously comfortable middle class is no more. Many of them had their life savings tied up in the stock market, which crashed in 2008, along with their modest dreams of retiring before they were 90 and spending time with their grandkids, or having the money to send their children to a good college.
Many of those Wall Street companies whose stock tanked in 2008 had lied on their financials, causing responsible and careful people to lose their life savings by unknowingly investing in struggling companies. The deregulation fiasco of the Bush years meant no one was policing Wall Street. No one is policing Wall Street now, either. The companies that rate the corporations for the stock exchange get paid by the very corporation they are rating, and the corporation chooses which rating company to use. Yeah, that’s handy, eh?
When these folks complained, they were told, “The market is a risk, so you win some you lose some,” as if somehow they were at fault for being lied to or not understanding the inherent risks of the market, which by the way, are not supposed to include being given fraudulent financials upon which to base one’s investing decisions.
The national narratives have rightly focused on those who lost homes and jobs in the last three years, but what Moore’s speech showed me is that it’s not just those folks who are waking up. And while this demographic of middle class folks who earned enough to save some money isn’t the most at risk, it’s important to note that when the Republicans side against them as they have, they have in fact waged war not just on the poor and middle class, but the very class they claim to represent; the small business owners, the people who had some sort of financial success and did as they believed was the American way by saving their money and investing it back into their country. Those people have been stabbed in the back, and they’re enraged enough to now stand with Michael Moore.
Boy, those “Real Americans” are dwindling, aren’t they? It’s not just the poverty stricken and the poor who are being attacked by Republicans’ policies. Their attack on the middle class trickles upward to the white-collar workers that were once their base. Even Republicans who played the game by the Republicans rules of “personal responsibility” are getting screwed by the predatory class of wealth that doesn’t discriminate based on arbitrary class guidelines.
Republicans are trying to play the war of classism; pitting one class against another and when we buy into their narrative that only those who are “freeloaders” got hurt by the irresponsible fiscal policies of the Bush administration — the rampant, dry-drunk deregulation binge that no true fiscal conservative can justify—we all lose.
The Republicans’ class war and concurrent necessity to pit American against American in a Darwinian survival of the fittest narrative is offensive and morally repugnant. It’s not the fittest that are surviving; it’s the ethically barren corporations who are surviving, based on hand outs from Americans of all classes except the über-rich — hand outs they take while at the same time they avoid paying corporate taxes to this country whose taxpayers they are robbing blind.
How dare these people crap on the middle class and then hold their hands out for a bail out while they call us freeloaders? They exist on our money. They took from one hand as their stock plummeted and then stole our taxes from our other hand as welfare for their reckless mismanagement and fiscal failures.
And now the Kochs wage war on the middle class.; now they want the workers to give up collective bargaining. They used our money to bail themselves out and then paid themselves huge bonuses for epic fiscal failure and now they want to stick it to the unions.
I want my money back. How ‘bout you?
I agree with Republicans that the welfare bums are a huge drain on the system. It’s just that the welfare bums are the huge corporations, not the family of five who lost their job and is eating government cheese to survive. How dare they try to turn us against one another, as if we can’t see just who the enemy of justice is.
The things that once made this country great — the confidence Americans could have in their investments and jobs, the notion that if we just worked hard and saved money we could take care of our families – are all gone. In the last two years since the Bush bailouts, we’ve watched those corporations give huge bonuses to the very executives whose fiscal failures created this mess and the Republicans claim they’re entitled to this money because this is a “meritocracy”.
If this were a meritocracy, that money would be going to police, teachers, firefighters, nurses, and mom and pop small business owners, not to frat boys who drove this country into the ground. If these fiscal failures who reneged on their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders in order to reward themselves with personal jets are “worthy” of millions of dollars in bonuses, then how dare they tell us that teachers don’t deserve a pension or that union workers aren’t “efficient”.
The talking points of the Republican Party have become so insultingly, nauseatingly false, so morally obscene that I find it difficult to parse. Let’s see if I can sum it up; union workers aren’t efficient and therefore don’t deserve to make a living wage, but bank executives who knowingly caused a global financial crisis are “efficient”, so they deserve huge bonuses. I hope the Koch brothers put their logo on a bucket so we can all use it to puke into every time a new narrative about not rewarding failure comes from the ass end of these braying braggarts whose own narcissism and sense of entitlement is staggering.
Not only that, but I’d like to repeat this because it get’s lost in the ever-growing pile of dung the Right calls their “values”. When an executive is allowed by the board of a corporation to drive it into failure, thereby failing their fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders, and then has to beg the American people to bail them out of their own bad decisions, we call that an example of exceptionally poor business decisions. It’s called failure. It’s also called feeling entitled to hand outs. It’s called corporate welfare.
If a business went into the red because they took too many risks and allowed their gnawing greed to pick pocket every American in this country, and then couldn’t meet their loan notes and financial obligations, we call that a failure. There is no other word for it than failure. FAILURE. The Republicans are the party of fiscal failure. Failure. Epic fail.
The right wants to label us as class warriors, but that is inaccurate. We are freedom warriors, liberty warriors, and most of all, justice warriors. There is a massive injustice being perpetrated on the American people by the top wealthiest people and corporations, many of whom avoid paying taxes all together.
As the reception to Michael Moore’s speech showed, it’s not just one class of people who are being hurt by the Republicans’ war against the people. It’s every class except the über-rich who are being hurt, whose dreams are being decimated. The Republicans’ attacks on all Americans are unifying people from all walks of life.
If it were up to me, we’d storm the offshore accounts of corporate tax dodgers and pay the taxpayers back every red cent they stole from us and we’d give the public sector workers a raise with that money. I figure the people on the ground trying to save this country and serve this country deserve that money and since this is a “meritocracy,” naturally the fiscal failure of those corporations and their executives shouldn’t be rewarded.
For the corporate toadies of the Koch funded Americans for Prosperity who made their Pro Walker tour in Wisconsin last week, I have only this to say: Shame on you. Shame on you for not paying attention, shame on you for allowing yourself to be used as a tool against honest, hard-working Americans, and shame on you for calling the protesters all kinds of filthy names. May God have mercy on your souls, you are going to need it, because just as you stood on the wrong side of right while Bush sold us his WMD lies, you once again stand on the wrong side of right and spit on your fellow Americans with all of the smug self-righteousness of the perpetually wrong.
Shame on you all. And most of all, shame on the leaders from both sides of the aisle who sat by knowing this was happening and allowing themselves to be bought off or silenced by the Right wing narratives. There’s plenty of shame to go around, but this time, I’m not buying into the notion that the working people of this country own one cent of this shame.
This is my personal manifesto, and so I end it with this. I stand with my American brothers and sisters who are uniting in a stand against the Fascist take over of this country. We’re coming for you, you liars and thieves of the American dream. We are coming for you. And we aren’t carrying pitchforks or guns. No, we come armed with a shared, united belief in justice, a belief rooted in the very foundation of this country, a belief shared by people across the globe. The unstoppable spirit of justice cannot and will not be denied. Lady Liberty spits in the eye of the corporate toadies ruining this country and stealing from every class to feed the über-rich.
Shame on you all.