It's always interesting when one of the nation's premier liberal voices -- take-no-prisoners blogger Glenn Greenwald -- says that he can sympathize with the so-called Tea Party protestors who turned out en masse on Saturday in Washington to air their greiviances, some real and some perceived. Greenwald's point is right on the money, that the American middle class is right to be furious, but their true targets lay elsewhere:
This is the paradox of the tea-party movement and other right-wing protests fueled by genuine citizen anger and fear. It is true that the federal government embraces redistributive policies and that middle-class income is seized in order that "someone else benefits." But so obviously, that "someone else" who is benefiting is not the poor and lower classes -- who continue to get poorer as the numbers living below the poverty line expand and the rich-poor gap grows in the U.S. to unprecedented proportions. The "someone else" that is benefiting from Washington policies are -- as usual -- the super-rich, the tiny number of huge corporations which literally own and control the Government. The premise of these citizen protests is not wrong: Washington politicians are in thrall to special interests and are, in essence, corruptly stealing the country's economic security in order to provide increasing benefits to a small and undeserving minority. But the "minority" here isn't what Fox News means by that term, but is the tiny sliver of corporate power which literally writes our laws and, in every case, ends up benefiting.
Greenwald makes a point that I've thought about, too, that there was a brief moment in American when most people -- right, left, and even center -- were mad about the same thing, and that was the billion-dollar bailout of Wall Street bankers. Since Bush was behind the bailout and Obama (and McCain) voted for it, there was a target for everyone. But no one protests the bailout anymore, not in the concrete way that conservatives oppose health care reform. Too bad.
Just think what would happen if right-wing radio hosts, left-wing bloggers and, um, regular folks dropped their natural disdain and instead worked together -- to publicize banks that behave badlly. People could withdraw their money en masse from unethical financial institutions and move their money to banks that agree to sound principles and that work to benefit the middle class and not their own personal Swiss bank accounts. Now THAT would be a true public option.