Short stories and essays by Shaun Costello, as well as excerpts from manuscripts in progress.

THE MACING OF AMERICA

AMERICA – YOU’RE GETTING MACED, YOU’RE GETTING HOSED, AND YOU’RE GETTING NOWHERE!

 

Thanks to our extraordinarily right of center Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year, Americans have no shot whatsoever at campaign reform in the next decade. Publically funded elections? Sure, a nice idea. Go tell it to the Supremes. Not only is Congress in bed with the corporate colossus, but the Federal Bench climbed in, as well. And that bed is getting pretty crowded. Comparing these Wall Street demonstrations, as many have done, to Vietnam era unrest is not only naive, but patently untrue. Instead of rolling up their sleeves and making Congress accountable, thousands of well intentioned, albeit naively so, Americans are camped out in tent cities in urban parks, participating in a preposterous re-enactment of Woodstock. Young people are being maced, while the Wall Street brokerage community spends weekends sipping pina colada’s at their beach houses in the Hamptons. The individual citizen has NO capability to impact the Banking Community, but we DO have the power to hold Congress, which sanctions the Banking Community, accountable, if only Americans could understand that and act on it. The source of America’s plight is the malignant curruption in Washington. Do you know your Senator’s voting record for the last year? I’ll bet you don’t, even though that voting record is readily available over the internet. I guarantee you that that voting record will surprise you. Even the ‘good guys’ in Congress vote against the welfare of their constituents from time to time, because that’s how the system functions. That’s how deals are made. That’s how corrupt the system is.

HOLDING CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE! Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Nowhere near as entertaining as holding signs,

 shouting protest rhetoric, getting maced, singing folk songs, squatting in urban Tent Cities, and experiencing a sense of communal righteousness in the re-enactment of the political upheaval of a long-gone era. And what exactly do these protesters think will come of their exhausting, and well-intentioned efforts? Do they actually think that, way up there in the air conditioned forty third floor offices of Goldman Sachs, brokerage executives are looking down at the spirited upheaval of sign-waving demonstrators, and having second thoughts? Do you really think that the CEO of Goldman is calling the CEO of Bank of America to tell him, “You know Brian, maybe these people are right? Maybe we should clean up our act. Change the way we do business”. Do you really think that’s happening? Yeah, right. That phone call will be made on one condition, and one condition only – that Congress finally listens to the American electorate, and votes to sanction the Banking Industry into compliance with the law. Then, and only then, will America find its economic balance again. So, it’s up to you, people. You’re getting maced, and you’re getting hosed, and you’re getting nowhere. It all starts on the Hill – with Congress, You people voted those people into office.

Don’t you think it’s about time you held them accountable? 

 

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© 2011 Shaun Costello

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15 responses

  1. Annette Saylor

    I foresee calamity.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm

  2. FrancisM

    You mentioned “Do you know your Senator’s voting record for the last year? I’ll bet you don’t, even though that voting record is readily available over the internet.” If there is an easy way to gather my Senators’ voting record I don’t where to get it. Any help?!!

    October 7, 2011 at 11:52 am

    • shauncostello

      Yes there is, Francis. Go to:
      opencongress.org
      A wonderful site that will provide you with all the information you need to know about your Senators and reps, and how they voted on EVERYTHING!!!!!

      October 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm

  3. Jan Hayes

    Insightful analysis, but I don’t agree that the effort should be confined only to the congressional front. I’m sure you’re correct that no CEO is fretting over this but, right now, I don’t think that’s the expectation. If nothing else, this is a morale-builder. Part of the very nature of this assault on the working class is that it has left most with a feeling of being alone and hopeless..a very demoralizing and dis-empowered state, to say the least. Now, we are seeing that we are not, in fact, alone. We number in the millions (sadly) and there is definitely power in numbers. As that reality sets in, it delivers the sense of renewal and empowerment and energy that is needed to take further steps. The working “middle class” (what there is left of us) has been reduced to a very “shell-shocked” and fragmented condition, over the past few years and this nation-wide move to “stand up” is a kind of awakening. This is the “mad as hell” moment and, as people regain their equilibrium, a far more productive methodology will develop. Certainly, going after elected officials is one necessary avenue..but there will be others needed, as well. The Wall Street crowd is the new mafioso and we need to hit them where it hurts the most..their balance line. People need to take their money out of these big banks and put it in credit unions or form some kind of locally-owned investment co-op, for instance. For that matter, divest your 401K (if you’re lucky enough to still have one) or stock shares in any of these “offshored” megacorp monstrosities and place the money elsewhere..maybe that neighborhood co-op? Let’s invest in ourselves, if the banksters won’t! If this is done on a large enough scale..I’ve no doubt that CEOs will start to “look out the window” and get on that phone, before long!

    October 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    • shauncostello

      I hope so, Jan. My fear, of course, is that all this wonderful energy will be spent by frustrated people who feel unconnected to the government, and the financial colossus that the government sanctions, and the demonstrations will yield little. The complaint is too vague, and the target is unfocused. Other than making noise, the movement seems undirected. Then what? Those who marched and shouted and lived in tents might just give up, and that would be tragic. I target Congress because I know where it lives, and through web sites like
      opencongress.org anyone can easily gain access to how every member of Congress has voted – EVER! The Senate Banking Committee is a good place to start. Now, there’s a target.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      • Jan Hayes

        Thank you Shaun and I don’t disagree that is a danger..however, this is not some pre-engineered faux “grass-roots movement”, that dropped fully formed out of the Koch Bros womb. This is an authentic, even spontaneous, “coming-together” of people who, up until now, have really felt terribly “alone”..in spite of all the statistics bandied about in the media for a long time. You know, it’s only been three weeks or so, since the first few people gathered for the Wall Street protest..and look how fast it’s caught on, across America! I truly don’t think that those same people realized, until now, that they are in a big, big boat and they’ve actually got the oars! I speak from personal experience..older and unemployed for a long, long time now..about to lose my house and all the rest. You go through stages..at first, belief you will soon get another job..then, surprise that you haven’t..soon followed by intense frustration, then outright anger, that there is no work for you (no matter how experienced)..ultimately replaced by outright terror that you’ll actually lose everything..and finally, complete dejection and hopelesness..and the sense that you’re completey alone..and powerless. It takes a while to “get there”, no matter how much spirit and determination you had, to begin. This is what I mean..right now, these people are just “finding” each other..taking strength from each other, if you will..looking around and saying, “Hey..there ARE thousands, maybe millions of us!” We’ve all taken a bad beating and it takes time to heal..to reclaim ourselves. Then, that fighting spirit will kick in, again..especially when you’ve got obnoxious little pisants like that ferret-faced Cantor referring to you as a “mob”! It seems that they ARE beginning to “look out the window”, rather anxiously, if we’re to go by all the right-wing blowback on the Sunday news shows, speaking of how “divissive” this is! Are they kidding? I take to heart what you’ve said, but I believe this is absolutely necessary, before we can move further. Most of us have felt we don’t have a voice until now..and sadly, no champion, either. My own personal situation may well continue to fall completely apart here, but at least I feel a glimmering of confidence in the future of the country..for the first time in a long time!

        October 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      • ezbuddy

        Yawn… That’s enough for me.

        October 26, 2011 at 4:43 am

  4. Ron Townsend

    As long as the mass numbers stick together and not falter things will work out to our favor but the minute we split and go different directions we will fall backwards. Yes, we need a whole new set of characters in the front lines of politics but also need to stay visible to the world to let them know that we do care. If we can’t buy us made do without, if we do buy outside the us don’t bitch. If we buy US we are supporting what Us jobs that we still have and by following these practices we soon will have US jobs coming back to us… If the prices are to high, BOYCOTT they will come down,they had rather something than nothing. When you vote, don’t vote for the ones that have been there, they are the ones that got us into this mess, believe me it is time to pick the rugs up and sweep the floor. (got that saying from gramma,she was illiterate but a very wise woman) Save only six for poll bearers Ron Townsend

    October 7, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    • shauncostello

      Well said, Ron. Go to: opencongress.org Great site that tells all about Congress. If they so much as hiccup, it’s on that site. Keep an eye on them. HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE!

      October 8, 2011 at 7:49 am

  5. Randy Berner

    Well said but, just like the old joke about trying to get a donkey to move, you gotta hit’em with a 2×4 to get his attention first.

    October 8, 2011 at 8:57 am

  6. ezbuddy

    As said; do NOT vote for anyone who has already been to Washington, they are what got us into this mess. The republicans are a joke. How could ANYONE vote for those greedy “paid for” folks? Republicans can look you right in the eye, tell you you’re going to get screwed by them and actually seem serious. How do they do that with a straight face? How could anyone with half a brain vote for those crooks?

    Look at the voting records & see how they have stuck it to us. I would also like to see their contributors. The Supreme Court has also screwed up by allowing corporations to fund things in their favor. How do you hold a life term court justice accountable? They set in motion, through another Georgie Bush favor, passage of laws that have really hurt the entire nation. Especially limiting law suits against medical people that disables people and can’t be held accountable.

    October 9, 2011 at 2:25 am

    • shauncostello

      How do Republicans do it? Like the answer to the old “Say Mister, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?” joke – Practice, lots of practice.

      October 9, 2011 at 7:47 am

  7. Gavin

    Agreed, please sign the petition to limit their terms!
    http://signon.org/sign/limited-terms-for-congress?source=c.em.mt&r_by=600409
    This should keep them all in Check.

    October 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm

  8. The Spectre

    What is the point of the “99% Movement” and “Occupy Wall Street”? They have no demands to put forward, no platform to advocate. They are defined by what they are opposed to, but they themselves stand for nothing concrete. This is nihilism. How can you change the system if you don’t know what you want to change it to?

    Why should the elite be worried by a philosophically and politically mute movement with nothing positive to articulate? All this movement does is present a list of grievances without saying what has to be done to remedy them. The global protest movement is afraid to stand behind any position because they know their unity will instantly disintegrate.

    The global protest movement is overly broad and underly deep. It’s a superficial expression of discontent. Look at what happened in Egypt in similar circumstances. The Egyptian protesters knew exactly what they were against but they had no agreed stance. So, the military filled the vacuum and imposed its will. Are the Egyptians better off today? Many of them are as angry as they were before. What has changed?

    The global protesters are terrified of having leaders. Look at the “Anonymous” hacking group. They actually see it as a virtue to have no leaders. Guess who’s laughing at this lack of leadership? – the elite. The elite know that if the opposition has no leaders then it poses no threat. All the opposition will ever do is perform stunts: street theatre with performers in assorted masks. It’s all part of the Society of the Spectacle created by guess who? – yup, the elite again. Protestors spend more time filming themselves, tweeting, facebooking and posting pictures than they do debating politics and policy. They spend their time thinking up witty remarks to put on placards and no time at all reading Plato, Rousseau, Nietzsche and Hegel. They are PERFECT PROTESTERS – from the point of view of the elite! They are really engaged in a kind of entertainment rather than a serious attempt to change anything. Compare the Occupy Wall Street gang with the sans-culottes of the French Revolution, the radical militants of the lower orders wearing their red Phrygian caps. Which group frightens the life out of the elite? But the elite have so sanitised the world, made it so “postmodern”, that protesters never contemplate anything truly radical. They occupy an agreed corner of Wall Street – they don’t burn it down. They don’t smash any windows. They don’t hurl abuse at the bankers and traders. They have pizzas delivered to them. What’s the point? What’s the objective? What’s the end game? Does anyone actually care? Or is protesting just an end in itself? “I protest therefore I am.”

    Shouldn’t a protest have specific objectives? Shouldn’t there be a list of demands? Shouldn’t there be a political stance? Shouldn’t there be leaders? But the elite have controlled “capital” so brilliantly that they have rendered protest a joke, a non-threat. People buy “Anonymous” masks and some fat cat capitalist who owns the image rights gets even fatter – he hopes that the protests go on forever! He will become the fattest cat in history.

    The protesters MUST become political. Fuck this ludicrous attempt to maintain innocuous consensus. Obama spends all of his time calling for bipartisan action and consensus – and his ratings keep slipping lower and lower and he looks more and more ineffectual. He stands for nothing. He has no beliefs, no causes to fight for i.e. he’s the perfect puppet politician who will never pose a threat to anyone. That’s why he’s in the White House. No LEADER ever gets elected in a democracy because a leader actually wants to change things, and that’s something the privileged elite won’t permit.

    “Much of the Occupy movement’s rank-and-file understandably wish to bypass a political process that seems either irrelevant or part of the problem. But the stakes are far higher than they were during the heyday of the anti-globalisation movement. Capitalism is in a crisis without apparent end; Western governments are manically hacking chunks off the welfare state; and millions are being stripped of secure futures. In these circumstances, anger will inevitably grow; but unless it is given a political focus, it is set to erupt in ugly, directionless ways. We could be staring at a future of desperate youths rampaging through city centres; and masked riot police officers charging at crowds. But those with economic and political power would remain safely in place, possibly helped by an even greater backlash at rising disorder than that witnessed after the August riots. Those swelling the ranks of dissent have to choose: are we making a point about the 1 per cent, or are we trying to dislodge them from power? We’ve certainly achieved the former. But – unless we develop a coherent alternative that resonates with the millions being made to pay for the banks’ crisis – the people at the top aren’t going anywhere.” — Owen Jones, The Independent

    There are far too many doped-out hippies in the ranks of the protesters with all their “love is light” (does that mean there’s no love at night unless the lights are kept on?!) and “love your neighbour” crap (do the rich elite love YOU? – you must be joking). It’s time for the radicals and the revolutionaries, not the “professional” malcontents who destroy activism with their weed.

    Marxism called itself a “spectre” haunting capitalism? Where is today’s spectre? More like trick or treat.

    December 6, 2011 at 9:41 am

  9. John Bellamy

    Yeah I agree with you 100% — but the rich pay the army and the protesters DONT.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:18 am

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