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Conservatives Should Support Occupy Wall Street


We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

When I was a young boy, around eight years old, not much older than my son is now, I used to have these amazing day-long toy battles. I would spend my morning building vehicles out of Legos. I would gather up He-Man and all my G.I. Joes and divide them into two sides.

By afternoon, when all was set up, I'd invent a story to go along with the impending war. Maybe one of the G.I. Joes was kidnapped by Skeletor and was held captive in their castle. Maybe the Teenage Mutant Turtles were plotting a takeover of the Thundercats land. The rest of the day was dedicated to playing out the war between my groups of toys.

Twenty five years later, this is exactly what the political elites in this country do to Americans. They divide us into groups (left and right, conservative and liberal, middle class and poor, and so forth) and, like a child lording over toys, they set the groups against one another, to their benefit. Why? It's fun being master of the universe. It's fun playing Mortimer Duke. It's great to move the levers of society to your benefit.

It is not, however, a particularly good system for the toys involved. I have to imagine that, if G.I. Joe had a vote, he would not be a fan of the constant warmongering. He would perhaps have realized that, whatever his differences with Skeletor, they were both being used and abused by a system that left them powerless to control their own destinies.

Similarly, for decades now, the media and the political elites in this country have divided this country along any lines they could. All the while, they kept all the power for themselves, choosing to push whatever buttons would motivate group A to fight group B, while keeping both groups from ignoring the overall rigging of the game by the powerful and the elites.

The first to stand up to this was the Tea Party movement. The movement was quickly, well, occupied by the right wing. There are no longer significant differences between the goals of the Tea Party and the goals of the Republican Party.

Considering that the Republican Party actively supports everything that Wall Street and big banks are doing, and that the Tea Party was started to protest AGAINST the big banks and Wall Street, it seems there is a disconnect here. What happened? The media and the political elites got the tea partiers to identify a different enemy: in this case, the bad guy switched from Wall Street crooks to Democrats, specifically President Obama.

This is a very bad thing for your average Tea Party citizen. You've been lied to and manipulated into supporting the very people you set out to oppose. You've been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Scammed. Ripped off. And instead of channeling that rage toward fixing the system, which is what you set out to do, you now channel that rage at Democrats. While this may be correct for you in short-term political ways (i.e., if you were a Republican to begin with, you probably are more anti-Democrat now than you were five years ago), it is a losing proposition overall.

Why? Focusing your attention on the Democrats means you're not focused on the bigger picture, which is that elites and powerful, extremely wealthy people have conspired to rig the game. Defeat that first, and then go ahead and whack the Democrats around. Fix the system, and then go back to bashing Democrats.

The same has to happen for the Democrats. So far, the Occupy Wall Street movement has been a non-partisan group founded by partisans. So far, the OWS movement has avoided crossing over into an explicit partisan movement by sticking with the singular goal of fixing one problem: the outright rigging of the political and economic system by a handful of very wealthy people, very wealthy corporations, and otherwise connected elites.

All the other stuff you've heard about OWS: that they're a bunch of hippies, that they're socialists or communists, that they're anarchists or the anti-Christ or anti-American, it's all crap. Pure bunk. The people who are occupying may very well be some of those things, but it is not why they occupy. It is not why they protest and it is not what the movement itself is about.

These characterizations are designed to do one thing and one thing only: divide us. They are designed to keep you, the conservative, with the Tea Party, and the liberals with the OWS movement. It's the only way the elites can win this game, and they know it. That's why they are expending so much effort in convincing both sides that the other is evil, racist, socialist, awful, ignorant, whatever the case may be.

Consider what the Tea Party, at its core, truly wants: government to have less control over the country. More freedom for people. A chance at a better life for everyone.

Consider what the Occupiers, at their core, truly want: corporations to have less control over the country. More freedom for people. A chance at a better life for everyone.

What both sides need to realize is that both sides are right. Government has too much power. Corporations have too much power. Government has too much influence in the corporate world, picking favorites and distorting the capitalistic market we depend on for a fair economy. Corporations have too much influence in government, bribing officials to get whatever laws, rules, and regulations they want passed. In all this, the voice of the citizen and the vote of the citizen is lost. Both sides want to fix this one problem. Both sides can agree on this one point. Both sides should come together to fix this one problem.

The media and the political elites have set up this wonderful dichotomy: conservatives are supposed to support the Tea Party and liberals are supposed to support the Occupy Wall Street movement. Folks, it is classic divide and conquer. As long as conservatives fight liberals, they aren't fighting the elites. As long as liberals are fighting conservatives, they're not fighting the elites.

What the elites truly fear is not the tea partiers or the occupiers, but the tea partiers and the occupiers TOGETHER. Imagine if both sides came together and announced a joint effort to eliminate the unholy marriage of government and business, so that neither side had the power to threaten our collective liberties? Imagine if liberals and conservatives agreed that, no matter what else we disagree on, we agree on this fundamental point: that power belongs to the people, and should be removed from the government and from corporations as quickly as humanly possible?

Once that is done, we can set about deciding what kind of political system we want. We can debate and vote and decide, among ourselves, the best answers for solving education, health care, the environment, the wars, the military, the budget, and everything else we've fought over for 40 years. We can do so without the undue influence of corporations and without the heavy hand of government dictating our every move.

Do you really want to argue that Americans cannot come together, regardless of political leanings, to simply get the job done? Do you want to argue that we cannot agree to disagree on some things, but still move the country forward?

After all, there are no liberal ideas and there are no conservative ideas. There are simply things that work and things that don't. Maybe the conservatives are right about taxes. Maybe they're wrong. Maybe the liberals are right about health care. Maybe they're wrong. The problem is, we can't get to the point where we honestly, publicly debate these issues because the current system is not democratic, is not a republic and is, in fact, beholden to the elites who now seek to divide us.

I know many conservatives. In fact, I used to be one. I have changed my mind on many issues, and consider myself far more left-leaning than I used to. In all that time, I have never wavered in my love of this country and in support of what we can become. It is not the country which is broken; it is the system. Occupy Wall Street is about fixing that system, not for the Democrats and not for the liberals, but for everyone.

If conservatives love this country as much as I think they do, if they honor and love the Constitution as much as I know they do, and if they truly, honestly, and with an open heart consider what is at stake, they will join with liberals, moderates, socialists and other patriots who want one simple thing: separate business from state, and allow We the People to sort out the rest of our political questions.

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To comment on this (or any of my columns), visit my user page at Benzinga. You can also reach me by email or on twitter @johndthorpe.


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