Now I am Angry Too
Or, if that video isn’t available, just Google “UC Davis Pepper Spray”
You want to know why your fellow Americans are in the streets? You want to know what their message is? The message is that the power and the money are in the hands of fewer people, and that these folks at the top feel entitled to grab more and more and stomp on anyone who gets in their way. Getting angry over numbers is a little difficult, so this cop decided to illustrate the core problem by simply spraying peaceably assembled young people in the head.
The Occupy movement is giving voice to our collective anger. It is an anger we too often stifle for the sake of getting along in our own lives, but most of us know that things have gotten out of whack and this country needs to correct the way it manages things. Oh, but you say you want a fully-formed political agenda? I don’t have one. Nobody does and nobody should. Its called Democracy. But here are a few things, off the top of my head, that we could do:
- Raise taxes on the rich. The top marginal tax rate has been as high as 90% and our nation somehow survived.
- Simplify the tax code. Capital gains is income. No more deductions. As an upper-income American seeking to buy an expensive house, I say get rid of the damn mortgage interest deduction. It only benefits a minority of upper-income Americans who buy expensive homes. Children need a good education more than I need to save a few bucks on an expensive house.
- Stock transaction tax. There are people who make money simply by looking at the squiggly lines in the market and making intelligent bets where those squiggly lines will go. The purpose of the stock exchange is to efficiently allocate capital to companies who will use it to invest in our economy. Betting money on squiggly lines is a distraction.
- If corporations are people, and a corporation commits a capital offense, the corporation is to be executed. All of its assets will be seized and sold and the money goes to the victims as restitution.
- Equity compensation to executives doesn’t even begin to vest until about three years after its awarded. Don’t fudge the numbers to make the numbers work for the quarter, manage the business for long-term success!
I’m sure you have got an idea or two that may be worth talking about as well. Let us talk about these ideas. Let us promote these ideas. Heck, maybe we could even pass some of these ideas in to law. And let us give thanks to the radicals out there who by provoking Power provoke the anger within each of us.
UPDATE: studentactivism.net has an excellent summary of the events and their aftermath, and excrementalvirtue.com has good commentary regarding the above video, which if you can stand to watch through the first six minutes, you then see the angry student protesters calmly invite the cops to leave: “You can go! You can go!” Although one guy is waving tear gas canisters in the air, the cops huddle and back-step away. (Some of the cops have very clear body language that they do not want to be there.) “Whose quad? Our quad,” the students cheer upon the retreat of the police force. The eight-minute video is a beautiful illustration that starts with an abuse of false authority which rapidly gives way to a retreat by the abusers as the people proudly and non-violently secure their right of peaceful assembly.
These Davis students deserve an A for demonstrating how non-violent resistance can overcome oppression.