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   Volume 10 |Issue 41 | October 28, 2011 |


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More than a Silver Lining for Incumbent Obama

Najmun Noor

The Occupy Protests in the USA seem to be taking the world by storm. As if in resonance with the debt crisis in Europe and the movements literally flooding its streets, it kick-started with the Occupy Wall Street agenda. And now it's spilling over to other countries like bonfire.

A banner reading 'Revolution' is displayed in front of St Paul's Cathedral in the city of London. Photos: AFP
A member of the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) holds a banner during a protest in front of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Occupy Wall Street participants carry on their occupation of Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in New York.

There's more to it than meets the eye. Even if there are commonalities with countries in Europe, the US economy has its own enormous worries.

One cannot help but wonder, though, if earlier events in the Middle East were labelled as the Arab Spring, could this be the Wall Street Fall? No pun intended. Here is the eyebrow raiser. It's one thing to have a variety of views. But the ideological positions that the Republicans and the Democrats hold steadfast here are poles apart. As if views on the state of the economy were not stunning enough.

It's difficult to overlook the Republican view that fans the open animosity. Even for a frontrunner party looking good to tip the scale, labelling the protesters as “jealous” and “mobs” may just be pushing it. These groups have never been violent and to antagonize the momentum that is gaining traction stems from ill advice.

On the flip side, it's easy to surmise none of the protesters have had to brace dire conditions ever in their lifetime. Experiences of economic recession of the past never really crossed the path of these new age protesters and explaining to them that success is only a result of hard work is currently being perceived as an irrational advice. The USA is at war on two fronts and the financial crisis still looming overhead and unrelenting just does not offer the level playing field.

It's no nonsense information either that rising income disparities have only widened even after the eye-opener crisis in 2008. The rich few have become richer and the poor en masse, poorer. It's not the bailout of any industry or sectors as much the lack of remorse of a greedy segment identified as being the source of the plight that is the concern. Persisting on the phlegmatic indifference and apathy is really difficult to understand.

Sometimes there is little patience for candour in the United States but the biggest folly has been the perceived successes of the adventurism that began in the Reagan years. Coincidentally, the dismantling of the Soviet Union waylaid suggestions of caution that other socialist systems like China were stealthily advancing full steam without being oblivious of its teeming billion.

Like India, China, too had proved the Malthusian theory wrong. And they were able to achieve the economic wonders with regulation within the country and hurling caution to the winds outside its borders.

If there is a silver lining from these Occupy Protests, the Republican are handing it in a golden platter to the Democrats. Never before in the nation's history has this unmistakable indulgence of a few could have been responsible for the plight of more than ninety per cent of the population. While the statements of those affected on Main Street are passionate with more than rhyme and reason, those who do not understand need not be lumped with those who are greedy. Small wonder therefore that revisiting the millionaire tax was considered alarming.

The Occupy DC camp is seen in McPherson Square in Washington, DC. Exactly a month after a few hundred anti-capitalism activists set up camp in New York.

If the Republicans fail to understand the pitfalls from the malaise, they are not blameworthy. Their ignorance will weather the storm better than the inflexibility in accepting the sordid reality and the need for its correction. Not being dismissive of the woes of the majority would have been a step in the right direction.

Could it be any different with any white president espousing similar policies? For sure, no one would dare suggest that a white President is attempting to spread the wealth.

The Obama camp will have you believe: “…damned if you do, damned if you don't…” Given the continuing plunge in poll numbers, however, Incumbent Obama will clutch on to any straw in sight and do more than feign rope-a-dope reminiscent of the Ali vs. Foreman fight in Kinshasa. Obama plucked the Buffet Tax suggestion deftly and there will be many more of where that came from in months to come with the Occupy protests that just won't stop gaining steam.

There may not yet be any quick fix solution for its economic worries, but unwittingly, America's newest and fastest export of Occupy Protests could be one of its windfall glories.


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