Henry Rollins: The Column! Occupy America
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My editor contacted me the other day and asked if I had an opinion on the Occupy protests that are growing daily all over America.
Opinion? Moi? Don't get me started. Well, OK, start me up.
I was in Washington, D.C., a few days ago. I spent part of an afternoon at Liberty Plaza, watching the sidewalks fill up with people carrying sleeping bags and food. They were ready for a prolonged stay. I watched the police spreading out, with teams on corners, their faces grimly set. It hit me how serious all this has become.
I emerged from Penn Station hours ago here in Manhattan. Lots of cops clutching the heaviest firepower I have ever seen on NYPD. Apparently, Occupy Wall Street protesters were going to be marching.
Is the Occupy protest being taken seriously? Oh yes. The main indicator is how hard and often Fox News pundits and others on television and radio are going after the protesters. Glenn Beck is cross-eyed, with paranoid Method-acting rants. He predicts that he and his ilk will be taken into the streets and done great harm.
Doubtful, but his wacky speak may still play to his ever-dwindling demographic, who are definitely to be avoided. The hysterics of the three professors on Fox & Friends are pathetic and forced.
It's easy to tell that they're getting their marching orders to fill time, and that it's not going all that well for them. It is funny, however, to watch scripted people attempt to connect words and form sentences on their own and fail so miserably in front of a national audience.
Words cannot express how much I am enjoying witnessing the real fear that is coming from zero-traction hacks like P.J. O'Rourke. He recently buried himself on an episode of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher when he characterized the protesters as clueless bongo-drum enthusiasts.
Then there was Rep. Peter King of New York, who took a break from Islam-bashing to accuse the protesters of being anarchists. Sen. Rand Paul made a fool of himself trying to compare them to a "French mob." Ooh la la!
The more they attempt to vilify the Occupy protesters, the more distinctly out of touch they come off. I say give them as much airtime as they want. The more they talk, the worse it will get for them.
Why will it get worse? Because all they are doing is pointing out how on-the-money (literally) the Occupy protesters are. Americans tend to have a short memory as far as news cycles. However, it's not so short that they can't remember the raging anger at Tea Party rallies. They will not forget the signs depicting the president of the United States with a Hitler mustache or a bone through his nose.
They will not forget all of the guns that were present. They will not forget the incredible levels of hatred at these events. These images are so burned into the national consciousness that when Sarah Palin -- in her recent, idiotic book, America by Heart, which, yes, I bought a copy of and read -- characterizes these psychopaths as "rowdy patriots," she and anyone attempting to marginalize the Occupy protesters will only be marginalizing themselves.
People will remember that the Tea Party was co-opted and funded by billion-dollar corporations, and that it was supported by Fox News and other outlets with the same vigor with which they attempt to denigrate the Occupy protesters.
People will understand that the Occupy protests are truly organic -- which is why it sometimes looks like there is confusion amongst them. As the weeks go by, every police officer who stomps on and attempts ruinous harm to the First Amendment with arrests will only attract more people to the protests.
Why? Because finally, the real issues are being addressed. This is the reason all the right people are losing it. They are not stupid. They know that this bell cannot be unrung.
I urge you to read the Occupy Manifesto, written by the New York City General Assembly. It is unavoidably clear. This is not directionless action. If it were, the media would have moved on.
Who should be losing the most sleep over all this? Not Wall Street and not the ultrarich. No. It should be the president. He dropped the ball. It's cool. The people picked it up. Sir, with all due respect, you'd better recognize.
Occupy Wall Street and the resulting protests across the country are going to end up being one of the most decisive and simultaneously underreported events in this new century.
These protests will obscure the Tea Party and affect local and state elections. They will change the opinion that people all over the world have about America. Occupy Wall Street will get international support.
Every pundit or politician who lashes out at these protests does so at the risk of their careers.
As things get worse, the movement will grow stronger. The Tea Party faded quickly because it was weakened by artificial ingredients, and is now all but over with. Occupy Wall Street is 100 percent analog and will thrive without corporate life support.
This is only the start. You don't have to like it. This is going on with or without you.
Thomas Jefferson has momentarily stopped spinning in his grave.
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