Shoot the Occupy America Kids
What they didn't do in 1968, when protests were boiling in the streets, was just shoot the damn kids, kill them until they gave up.
No one is suggesting that the Occupy America Movement, if it is a movement yet, is as rage-filled or as big as antiwar riots in the 1960s, but there are people in the street, people who won't go home. They are being faced by a police force that, if you believe the bumper stickers, is composed entirely of heroes. Perhaps soon they will be faced by real soldiers, who will soon be coming home just in time to shoot into defenseless crowds of protesters.
But that won't happen, right? At most, we'll get another Kent State, another weepy top-40 hit with a strong backbeat.
The people running America in 1968 held their hand. They would not give the order to shoot down their own children. The people in charge were angry, they were hurt by flag burning in ways a 2011 American can't understand, but still they held their hand. Maybe it was because so may of them had seen killing close up.
Whatever the reason, they didn't give the order, and the protests ended the war. The protesters were free to resume their liberal arts studies and, eventually, to become employees of large, faceless corporations.
There are more than just kids out in the streets now. One spots the occasional granny with a handmade sign bemoaning the loss of her pension.
But there are people in the streets, disturbers of the peace, engagers in disorderly conduct, trespassers, a whole litany of misdemeanor charges normally applied to street drunks but also useful during political upheaval.
And this is not 1968 America. There isn't a lot of money around. Thirty years of street-corner crack wars have made us deaf to gunshots, which are to 2011 city dwellers what auto backfires were to 1950s city dwellers.
And there is an ugliness to all public discourse.
And people talk so casually of killing, and there are fewer good jobs for people who didn't make it to college.
If you were 10 years old in 1967, your father probably had the best job he'd ever had in his life, a job hugely better than the job his father had. There was money around, and things were getting better every year. Color television. Disneyland. Wrinkle-free shirts.
And the men in charge of America, the veterans of Iwo and the Bulge, they held their hand. They would not do what the Russians did in Prague. They would not roll tanks over their own children.
We've been watching the kids come home dead from Iraq and Afghanistan for a long time now, and no one has given an organized damn, not loud enough that you could hear. Dead kids are an ignorable part of the landscape, whether killed as "heroes" in Sadr City or as "homies" on the dope corner by the off-ramp.
In a nation where the rich have been on a 30-year binge and the poor swell their sullen numbers every day, what will happen the day that 10,000 protesters go swinging down Wall Street, breaking windows and fighting the cops?
If that day comes, in this America, some voice will shout "treason," and the decision to kill or not to kill will go, by default, to men who have never seen blood. and that decision will be backed by rich people who own nearly every corner of every way to make a living, and it will be sold as a needed defense of our America.
Farfetched? Alarmist? Thirty years ago, did you think your pension would be gone, your union would be broken? Did you think there would be homeless people in front of your office, asking you for a cigarette when you walk out for lunch? Did you think huge banks would tremble on the edge of bankruptcy and still vote bonuses to their executives? Did you think you would lose your home and no one would care?
This is not 1968. The people in the streets are the same. The people in charge are worse.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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