Archive | November, 2011

Secular: What it is and is not

29 Nov

So a little while ago we put up atheist billboards in Columbia, South Carolina. You can see the list of ugly responses we got in the post preceding this one, and the list of supportive responses over at the Ashley F. Miller blog. One of the ugly comments stood out in particular:

To all you atheist and “agnostics”. Believe or dont believe in God, but the day you die, you WILL come face to face with GOD and you’ll have to explain to God why you didnt believe in him. You are saved by God’s grace..not Walmart’s, Target or the Almighty Dollar. There is NO such thing as “evolution” either. If things have changed, it’s God’s will..not a happen so. So go ahead and do what you all do, but as said, you will find out the day you die. Good luck on that.

Walmart, Target, and the Almighty Dollar…that got me thinking, there seems to be a big misunderstanding when it comes to what “secular” means. I can understand why the religious think secular means what they think it means. From their point of view, you either have a god to give you purpose in life, or you have nothing. If you have nothing, then you try to fill it with material possessions. Therefore, if “secular” means without god, then it must mean that you try to fill the hole in your life with money. As understandable of a train a thought as this is, it is still horribly misguided.

Lets look at the actual definition of secular:

Adj: Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis

That’s it. Secularism is not about filling your life with material things. It is simply freedom from religion. It is not consumerism:

Noun:The preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods

As hard as this might be to understand for some people, it is possible to live a fulfilling and meaningful life without a god and without obsessing over material possessions. Secular is good, especially when it comes to laws. As much as any one religious person might like the laws to be based on what their religion says is true, there are plenty more people from differing religions with the same agenda. The last thing you’d want is someone from a religion you feel is false to be dictating your life. Secular removes this problem by taking religion out of the equation. So as this holiday season approaches, think twice before denouncing secularism as consumerism.

Love letters from hell

23 Nov

Our godless billboards went up aroundColumbiayesterday and we’ve been getting some amazing hate mail. My friend over at Ashley F. Miller did a great write up on some of the responses that we’ve been getting. I highly recommend you check that out here. As for me, I want to share with you a few of my favorites. I have made no edits (except personal info) to the responses. They are copied as they were written. So without further ado, here is a delicious sampling of the hate mail we’ve been getting. (EDIT: I have numbered each comment in order to distinguish between commenters. )

1. TO COLUMBIACOR ORG

THATS OK TO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. ITS NOT FOR EVERYONE.

SINCE THE CONSTITUTION REMOVES RELIGIOUS STATUES, WHY SHOULD YOU BE ABLE TO PLACE A SIGN OF NONE RELIGION

IF YOU WANT PROOF THAT THERE IS A GOD.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS VISIT ME

CARLOS ROBLES

<Apartment address>

COLUMBIA,SC29210

<phone number>

I EXPECT TO SEE YOU.  IN GOD WE TRUST

FOR I HAVE BROUGHT BACK THE DEAD TO LIFE THERE ARE WITTINESS AND VIDEOS OF THIS.

SOLDIER OF GOD

CARLOS ROBLES

KING OF THE ROUND TABLE

FATHER OF THEHOLYLAND

HEAD HIGH COUNSEL MEMBER UN

More crazy:

2. That true God. I was surprise why to say can’t believe God?! They people already know God is true in the Heaven. I believe GOD in Heaven! I never say that unbeliever God before. Should to be change post Believe God, and not say Godless period!

3. What does the year 2011 mean?….. It means the age of JESUS. And he is coming back. Believe it or not.

4. Kewl! Just as it was written many years ago. That only means one thing! Come Quickly My Lord and My God!

GO TO HELL!!!1 (God is love)

5. There are only two races in this world, the christian and non-christian. There is coming a day very soon that those who don’t believe there is A God will open their eyes in **** and wish that they would have believed. Then it will be to late. God is Love1

6. Not alone? You will be soon!

7. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18-23 ESV)

8. Well its simple,believe in god or go to hell!

9. To all you atheist and “agnostics”. Believe or dont believe in God, but the day you die, you WILL come face to face with GOD and you’ll have to explain to God why you didnt believe in him. You are saved by God’s grace..not Walmart’s, Target or the Almighty Dollar. There is NO such thing as “evolution” either. If things have changed, it’s God’s will..not a happen so. So go ahead and do what you all do, but as said, you will find out the day you die. Good luck on that.

10. I would much rather live my life believing that there is one true God and find out later that there isn’t, than to live my life as if there isn’t, only to find out later that there is! I guess we’ll all find out for ourselves on judgement day. As for me, I know in my heart that Jesus died for my salvation and for the salvation of all sinners, and that one day I’ll join Him in heaven with the rest of the believers. Heaven or Hell is your choice… I’ll take the high road, thank you…

11. WIS/TV… Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason, said “Such non-theists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them.” /////////////////////////////​/////////////////////////////​////////////////// In a related story—it’s reasonable to say that what the Coalition doesn’t know, as well Is…if they stay their course—they’ll find their community—a very hot place known as…**** !!!

12. The billboard should read “Don’t believe in God? You WILL be alone one day!!!!”

13. **** is getting HOTTER as we speak! For those who don’t want to believe, that is your choice, but don’t beg for mercy on your day of Judgement!

14. People of all religious beliefs and backgrounds, remember one thing please. When it’s all over and you find that you were wrong, it’s TOO late then to make a change. So, be sure that what or who you believe in or don’t believe in is the right way to go, cause you only get one shot. I know where I’m going. Maybe I’ll see you there. If not, say hello to Hitler and Bin Laden for me, OK!

15. They might as well spend all their money on silly billboards…they can take it (to ****) with them….

16. I THINK WE SHOULD PUT UP A SIGN RIGHT NEXT TO THAT ONE THAT SAYS “GOING TO ****? YOU ARE NOT ALONE” I WOULD DONATE. THE ONLY REASONUSCHRISTIANS “PUSH” OUR BELIEFS ON ANYONE IS BECAUSE WE READ IN OUR BIBLES THAT JESUS CHRIST COMMANDS WE SHARE THE NEWS “SO THAT NONE MAY PERISH”. I SHARE JESUS BECAUSE I GENUINELY FEEL SORRY FOR THOSE THAT DO NOT KNOW HIM. TO KNOW JESUS IS TO KNOW PEACE

17. No, if you do not believe in God you are not alone. But you soon will be.

18. choose this day whom you will serve…you cant serve both…so I quess it would go like this,,,serve God or go to hell….Revelaton 20:10 where the devil,his angels, and the false prophet go. Nite all.

I am offended that you exist!

19. I just want to let you know I am very offended about your billboards. Why can you all put this up and we cannot have billboards with God’s name in it for the good? I really feel this is not fair. Just remember God is watching you.

20. This article made me sick and so do half of you posters. That’s what is wrong with the world today. You should be ashamed. I choose to praise God and if you choose not to, then that is your problem.

21. My heart just breaks, as I read this article I cried. What is this world coming to? May all christians not react in a negative way. Just pray for these non believers and spread God’s word and love with your neighbors, friends, family, and everyone you come in contact with..You never know who doesnt know the True Lord and Savior.

22. Oh my goodness. Ok – YES they are indeed BOTH the holiest of seasons. Good gravy – I’m glad you’re posting and showing everyone how ridiculous you are.

This is a CHRISTIAN COUNTRY!!!

23. This country was founded on Christian beliefs and we are One Nation Under God. God brought us here and He can take us away whenever He chooses. People are free to believe how they choose, but here inAmerica, and some other countries as well, we believe in God. All the evil you see is from Satan. God is love and the highest power in the world. God blessAmericaand God bless us all. I am very thankful for all the blessings God bestows on me and my family daily. My question is this…when something bad starts happening, do you pray…I do. Prayer is powerful and I love Godwith all my heart and I am thankful He is in my life and my heart.

24. “But he whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father who is in heaven” Matt 10:33. I believe in God, and I believe that there are plenty of people who use atheist to do whatever they want without conscience. I actually take offense to this billboard, this country was founded on Christian beliefs and those same laws that our forefathers used to create this country are the same laws used to take our beliefs from us. If you don’t respect our beliefs please explore countries that support yours.

I KNOW GOD EXISTS!

25. First of all I am a believer and I do believe in God and in satan. Well it has been said in the Bible, which I know was written by man, and passed down through the ages that satan is preparing his army for when the end of the earth comes, and yes it will end. This is satans way of getting into your mind if you let him, but if you have your mind stayed on Jesus they can flash their signs until the end of time to no avail. The $7000 that the signs cost could have been used to help feed the hungry but its their money so they can use it however they choose too. I love everybody but I do not have to like your beliefs .If you don’t believe there is something else besides you try holding your breath until YOU get ready to breathe. You can’t do it. Something MAKES you breath again, just like when you’re dead. The drs. can pump air into you ALL day long, but you will never breathe again, because that power says your existance here is over. JUST MY OPINION AND YES I’M FIGHTING ON GODS SIDE.

26. King James Bible For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. For this is God’s word not mine. But I beleive there is a God and I know I don’t stand alone.

27. I don’t know about anyone else but I am a Christan I love the Lord God and his son Jesus who died for my sins everyone has a right to believe what they want and God give them this free will to decide I think that these bill boards are wrong they go against every thing I know is right. I know God is very real and I know he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for my sins and yours all you have to ask him to for forgiveness these bill boards give these people a chance to say my God is not real well I am using it to also let every know that he is very real and very alive and he is coming back for his children soon I am so thankful he saved me from hell.

28. For those who dont believe will be the ones who when the time comes will be demanding to be let into theArkwhen the world does come to an end. For the way of life is through Jesus Christ and for the way to Death is those who choose not to believe. He exists and existed and he will come back to judge the living and the dead. How he will come back is written in the bible. I know that God and Jesus are real. I have survived a lot of things that should have killed me along time ago. I been through a ton of car accidents, been hit in the head by a softball, had illnesses that should have done me in but because I believe in God and Jesus they both make sure I am protected, provided for and guided to do what is right. I hear God in everything I do. I have seen signs of God watching seen signs of his creations and felt his presence when ever things are dark and hard.

29. we have our god and he know’s everything he’s great he gives us life and nature everyday praise our god

30. Thank God that I do believe in Him! Merry CHRISTmas! GLORY to GOD in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.

31. I still celebrate the holidays because of the One and Only!! I still believe in God and He is the Reason for My Seasons.. God BlessAmerica…

Atheists are fools

32. The billboard is fine for non-believers.They can all celebrate their atheist holiday..April fools day.

33. THIS IS STUPID AND ITS FROM SATAN AN THEY WANT US TO SEE THIS BULL CRAP…THEY CAN HAVE GAY PARTYS THEY CAN HAVE SINFULL STUFF TO HURT JESUS…BUT WHEN WE PUT SOMETHING ABOUT A GAY OR OF THE BIBEL ON A BILLBOARD THEY TAKE IT OFF…BUT WHO EVER DID THAT I HOPE GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOU FOOLISH GODLESS PEOPLE…IF GODS NOT REAL HOW DO YOU WAKE UP IF MY GODS NOT REAL HOW DO YOU HAVE LIFE IF GODS NOT REAL HOW EVERY TIME WE GET IN A TRAP AN THE FIRST THING WE SAY IS JESUS CHRIST…WAKE UP AN SMELL THE AIR…MY GOD IS SENDING YOU WARNINGS…there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

34. Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:5-6)Mark 1:15 …The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel…Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God…Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4…J-E-S-U-S HE IS MORE POWERFUL THEN THE WHOLE US HE IS…CANT DO HIM LIKE JUDAS DID CUS IF I DID THAT WOULD BE WHAT FOOLISH IS…YUNG

35. Nothing times nobody equals everything. This is the atheist thesis of utter nonsense. That there is a creation implies a creator. How this creator is manifest is a matter of faith

36. just dont pay thesecolumbiacor fools any attention. they are looking for something but dont know what.

37. The Columbia Coalition of Reason is made up of four Midlands groups: the Freethought Society of the Midlands, Secular Humanists of South Carolina Midlands, Pastafarians at the University of South Carolina and Camp Quest South Carolina…who all have reprobated minds…carry on fools…as the Bible says the man that says God does not exist is the greatest fool of all. God help you all.

This is the work of SATAN!!!

38. Why is it important that you tell the world you don’t believe? This is the work of Satan, you better believe it. I am sadden by this display.

39. It is our Christrian duty to witness to others and teach them that there IS a GOD, and he will return to collect us VERY SOON! Satan is having a field day on this earth collecting the non-believers, so pray for them. Heaven awaits those who walk in blind faith. May God’s peace and grace go with you always!

This is reverse discrimination!

40. You know, I find it appalling that this advertisement is being defended by those who criticize religious beliefs of others because of a differing opinion. You want to have your right to say you do not believe, yet you want to criticize a Church for advertising; or you belittle those who do believe by posting some inane top 11 list of how to spot a Christian. It is nothing more than reverse discrimination. I also find it appalling that the groups who want to “advertise” atheism also advocate the removal of prayer and or religious references from all facets of the public/State and Federal levels. You demand your right but want to take away mine? Very disturbing. But, again, reverse discrimination. In a society as advanced as we like to think we are, WHY does it have to be an argument for one or the other? Why are your rights so much more important than mine? Why is it important to you that I understand why you DON’T believe when you could care less if I DO believe? If EVERYONE is entitled to what they want to believe or not believe, and live in peace and be happy, then why do some feel the need to work so hard to make everything and everyone conform to their beliefs?

Vague Threats

41. i do believe in God: so people need to watch out what the put on a sign. boy if my sister get hold of this she will be calling on God to take it down:

HELP! HELP! I’m being oppressed!!!

42. I am very much a believer in God, and I believe there is truth in the statement, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” HOWEVER, I whole heartily support these people’s right to express their personal beliefs. Where I draw the line is when these people, who are a very small minority, try to force their beliefs upon the general population.

43. why don’t they do this campaign in countries likeIranorSaudi Arabia, i bet those atheists feel even more lonely! American Christians don’t force their religion on people,they, just like the CoR, like to get The Word out, but what you do with it, its up to the individual. TheUSAstill has religious freedom last i checked.

44. “We’re your friends…” really? Friends don’t slam your beliefs during your holiest of months. If you’re our friends why not put the billboard up in June? The answer is because you enjoy slamming Christians. Give me a break. You have the right to do whatever you want, but have some class and put your signs up during another time.

45. My question to the atheists and agnostics, what is the real purpose of the billboards during one of the most holiest times for Christian and Jews? Where were you in June?

46. Another example of the liberal left forcing atheism down peoples thought. Atheism is a religion by the way

I’ll pray for you…

47. All you can do is just like Jessica said… Just pray for these non believers and spread God’s word and love with your neighbors, friends, family, and everyone you come in contact with..

48. For us that beilieve in God we will be praying 4 u! Just remember God can save anyone who believes in him and give them greater things than any worldly posessions

Misc

49. To all atheists: If as a Christian I’m right …. then you lose. If you’re right … then you still lose. Good luck with those odds.

50. What happens if a person doesn’t believe atheism exists?

51.”Don’t Believe in God? You are not alone.” Unless you look at the really big picture and realize you are. Completely. Alone.

52. You know, if Hitler and Lt. Worf kissed, their mustaches wouldn’t touch.

53. If you choose to disregard God, you are alone

54. The liberal left so scare that they will have to pay for the destruction they have cuased in the world that they refuse to face the truth. God bless us all. I may put up pro Christmas billboards up on the other side of their stupid signs for a few years. Or on the LED on just as you come intocolumbia…Yep I think I should look into thatah…. the 1%

55. Never met an atheist on the battlefield!

56. I wonder if these people realize they are part of God’s plan for us. He said before His Son returns there will be multitudes turning away from Him.  Isn’t it nice to know that we can see His plan unfolding right before our eyes.  Praise God for His Word will not return void.  I am so happy the Atheists posted this large billboard.  They are fulfilling the Word with their actions. Now let’s see how many want to be part of fulfilling the Bible prophesy.Ive never met an atheist on his deathbed.

And all of this is just after the first day….

Launching the Columbia Coalition of Reason!

21 Nov

Today marks the first day of the Columbia Coalition of Reason campaign! We’ve launched two billboards around town that you can see here:

“Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.” Is the message. We meant for it to be non-offensive (if that’s possible) since we are trying to let other atheists out there know that we exist. We’re not saying your god doesn’t exist, we’re not calling people stupid for holding such beliefs, we simply want to reach out to others like ourselves who might feel isolated and alone.

It will be interesting to see how the public reacts.  A Charleston group did the same thing earlier in 2009 and recieved a big out pouring of support. Hopefully the Columbia community will be just as supportive!

The casual fascist

20 Nov

Lately I’ve come to the realization that a few of the people I know, and I get the feeling that a lot of society as a whole, are casual fascists.

That’s quite a bold statement, so let me clarify:

The bill of rights has really been a hot topic these past 10 years since 9/11, and especially so now given the Occupy Wall Street protests. What does free speech entail? Are there limits to it? Are there limits to freedom of assembly? If so, what are these limits, and how do we decide where they lie?

I guess I would call myself a First Amendment purist. I recognize that you can’t shout fire in a crowded theatre when there is none and claim free speech, but other than that, have at it. I also recognize that you can’t invade someone’s private property and claim freedom of assembly, but as long as you’re on public property, anything is fair game.

The issue that has raised the most conflict between me and the people I know is what the First Amendment rights were meant to protect. For me, the first amendment rights were created to protect the people you disagree with the most, the people who disgust you, those whom you might even hate. The rights are there to protect those people and what they might say. Popular speech does not need protecting from the majority that supports it. For me, and many of my liberal friends, the people we find to be disgusting and repulsive tend to be people like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, religious fundamentalists, anti-feminists, anti-choicers, and the Westboro Baptist Church.

For my conservative friends, they might be disgusted and repulsed by Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, Bernie Sanders, Julian Assange, etc.

I know people on both sides of the aisle that would have no problem curving, if even only slightly, the rights of those with whom they vehemently disagree. I, on the other hand, find this equally disgusting. For example, while I might despise the Westboro Baptist Church and anyone else who stands on the street corner shouting, “Fags go to hell!!”, I would never want to see their rights curbed.

A few people who I’ve talked to about the OWS movement mentioned that the freedom of assembly does not include disrupting traffic and the daily business activities of a city. Wrong: the freedom of assembly exists to protect exactly this kind of unpopular assembly. If the goal of the protest is to shatter your comfortable sense of normalcy in order to make you wake up and see an issue, then they have every right to be an inconvenience. We wouldn’t need freedom of assembly if everyone protested in designated little corners, far removed from the people they’re protesting.

I would like to make an important distinction here that often gets thrown up as a straw man. There is a saying that goes, “my rights end where your nose begins.” Meaning, my rights do not include physically harming you or your property. People have the right to assemble wherever they want on public property as long as they are not destroying things.

When I use the term “casual fascist” to describe someone, I don’t mean that they’re a Nazi storm trooper that wants to beat people they disagree with, or that they condone full scale censorship. No, what I mean by that is simply that, while they might be perfectly nice people, they are alright with the erosion, however gradual, of the rights of the people they disagree with.

“I believe in the first amendment, but….”

Permits, protests, and pepper spray

19 Nov

In the above video you can clearly see a police officer walk up to a group of students who are sitting down, and casually hose them with pepper spray. Unfortunately, this seems to be a common police response to peaceful protesters. Some of the more famous victims include an 84 year old woman, a 19 year old pregnant woman, a priest, and a small group of women who were just standing there before being penned in by police and misted with perfume de fuego.

A common argument I’ve personally seen and heard used to defend the officers is “They are just following orders…” and “the protesters did not have permission to be there.” Since when did the Nuremberg defense excuse someone from their behavior? Secondly, requiring “permission” to protest defeats the whole point of protesting. No shit we don’t have your permission to protest you, we’re protesting specifically because of you!

State and local governments have long been employing various tactics to crack down on dissent. Let’s not be coy here people. Bloomberg didn’t really send in the storm troopers to zuccotti park because he was concerned for the health and safety of the protesters occupying it. No, he wanted them gone and just needed some bullshit excuse since expressly crushing a protest because you don’t like the protesters is bad press.

No, permits and requiring permission from the authorities before you protest violates the freedom of assembly. Some might argue that permits and permission are needed so business as usual isn’t disrupted. Well what if the point IS to disrupt business as usual? What if the point IS to bring the whole system to a screeching halt? To make people be inconvenienced? What? No? We can’t have our protest in the first place? I’m sorry, you seem to be missing the point of the first amendment. It’s not there to protect people you agree with, it’s there to protect those you disagree with, no matter how fiercely you disagree with them.

Lastly, I just have to wonder about the contrast to how the police are treating the OWS protesters and the Tea Party.

The OWSers tend to be more liberal.

The Tea Partiers tend to be very conservative.

The OWSers show up with drums and tents.

The Tea Partiers show up with guns.

The OWSers protest the deregulated banks and corporations that destroyed the world economy and doomed my generation to a life of wage slavery, debt, and unemployment.

The Tea Partiers protest the half-assed regulation of the above mentioned banks and corporations along with universal healthcare.

The OWSers are a grass roots movement with no leaders.

The Tea Partiers are bank rolled by some of the largest corporations in the country.

The police do nothing to the Tea Partiers.

The police protect and serve the shit out of the OWSers.

I really have to wonder, how would everyone who is defending the police brutality respond if instead of liberals, the police were crushing the Tea Party? I bet they would be singing a different tune…

Job searching sucks

11 Nov

Earlier this morning I dragged myself from bed, shaved, donned the business clothes I had spent late last night ironing, and drove off into the bright cold looking for work. When I got into town I found the office structure where I was hoping to find employment. A tall foreboding structure, encased in iron, it looked like a prison. I pulled into the parking garage, pressed the button, and the machine spat out a ticket. After several minutes of circling the garage, I finally found a spot and made my way into the building and up the elevator.

At the front desk of the office suite where I was to beg, sat a large grumpy looking old woman. “Hi, good morning, is this _____?” “Yes.” “Ah, great, I saw that you had a _________ position open. I just wanted to show some inititive and submit my resume in person.” “We don’t do that. Go online.” “Oh, ok, well do you know who is in charge of hiring?” “Here’s his card. Have a nice day.”

After 10 minutes I was was back on the road home after having paid $1.25 in parking fees for the privilege of getting rejected yet again.

It’s like that everywhere. I’ve applied to so many places online that I’ve lost count. Just yesterday I drove two hours out to Greenville to go door to door. We left at 9am and came crawling back at 6pm. No dice. Exactly a week again I drove another two hours to Charleston for a job interview that lasted four hours, only to get a “we’ll let you know in 5-7 business days” and drive another two hours back home. (It’s now the 7th business day and they haven’t called.)

I’ve gone door to door all over town, up and down elevators, through parking garages, and traffic. Nothing.

What kills me the most about this whole process is how much having a job is starting to feel like a privilege. “Please worshipful masters! Please! Let me labor for you! I’ll do anything!” Employers are in a position where they can be extremely picky to the point of being cruel. You can spend hours crafting a cover letter that will take them a fraction of a second to delete. You show up in person and the tiniest aspect of your appearance displeases them? Forget it. You can drive for hours to go door to door and get nothing.

The effort to success to soul crushingly bad. But what else are you going to do? You don’t have a choice. It’s a choice between banging your head against a wall till it bleeds, or starve.

The Occupy Wall Street movement will fail….here’s why:

2 Nov

We don’t live in the same world that saw the civil rights movement succeed. Ours is a world of more control and more distractions.

The Occupy Wall Street movement will fail just like the anti-Iraq War protests failed. Why? Several factors, but most of all, timing:

Ok, let’s think about this.

On one hand we have a bunch of angry protesters sleeping in tents in New York city. On the other hand we have the world’s most powerful business men working in ivory towers and going home to their mansions.

The protesters need to eat, and to eat they need to have food, and to have food they need to have money, and to have money they need an income, to have an income they need a job. Eventually these people are going to run out of money for food and will have to go home to try and get more income. On top of that, winter is coming, it will be snowing in New York city and many of these people will freeze. It is a race against time, and the mega powerful people in wall street have all the time in the world. They’re not sleeping in tents, they’re not running out of food. The worst they have to endure is possibly a slightly longer commute to work past all the protesters.

 

I pointed this out to a friend of mine and she remarked “Yes, well many of the people are there protesting precisely because they don’t have jobs to go home to.” Yes, this is true, but it’s a null point. The fact is, they still have to eat, whether they have a job or not, and the restaurants around wall street are not going to take to charity. You can also be damned sure that the powerful are not going to let the most expensive real-estate on the planet turn into something akin to a refugee camp.

Eventually the numbers of protesters will drop and the movement will lose momentum. Winter and the long stretch of time between now and elections will only exacerbate this decline. Eventually people will go home out of exhaustion and necessity.

The movement also has to contend with the news media. Angry people sleeping in tents is only interesting news for so long. Eventually people will get bored of the same old thing over and over again. This is not to mention the fact that many of the news outlets are owned and controlled by the very people the protesters are protesting. Inevitably there will be negative spin control on the movement. Fox “News” predictably has already taken the stance that the protesters are evil slobs aiming at destroying capitalism. (Which is ironic because a lot of them are protesting big government bailouts of firms that were so fiscally irresponsible that they fucked the world economy. You’d think that a principled conservative could get behind that, but no, hypocrisy is always the soup du jour at Fox “News”) Eventually the news media will stop covering the movement all together.

This type of media control and spin did not exist during the days of the civil rights movement. The powerful have more tools at their disposal beyond just beating protesters and sicking dogs on them.

Which brings me to the only hope for the Occupy Wall Street movement:

Police Violence

Nothing keeps a movement alive and energized like martyrs. Martyrs get the fence sitters off the fence and in the streets. It galvanizes those already committed to the movement, and most importantly, it makes great news, keeping the national spotlight on your cause. (Although there is no guarantee that the publicity will be good publicity. Hell, there have been several occasions where police have either beaten of killed protesters in wheelchairs and Fox News always seems to defend the police.)

“But GP, even if the protesters have to go home for winter and to get food, the conditions and factors that caused the protest will still be there…”

Yes, that’s true, but I think the conditions have to get a lot more extreme before more people take the protests seriously. Yes things are bad, yes unemployment is at 10%, yes foreclosures are at an all time high, yes we’re being robbed blind by the mega rich, but the general populace won’t take up arms until unemployment soars much higher. Only once the majority of people can’t put food on the table, then perhaps things will start to change. I have no idea when that will come.

If if that day does come, there is no guarantee that the protest will have any real effect. You see, there is an entire industry of “non-lethal” and “less-lethal” weaponry that serves authority, enabling them to control and disperse crowds in new and innovative ways that the police in Birmingham Alabama during the civil rights movement could only dream about.

S0 enough bullshit. What’s the endgame?

Let me just say that throughout history, the powerful have never voluntarily given up that power.

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