Saturday, October 08, 2011

Silent Majority, 2011

This weekend, GOP presidential candidates are groveling at the “Values Voters Summit” in Washington, a noisy minority with frontrunner Mitt Romney defending his faith from attacks as “a cult.”

All this is reported with a straight face by media large and small, who a generation ago would have dismissed such fringe doings as a crackpot sideshow.

Today, the Tea Party and the Religious Right hold America hostage, with few signs of dissent among America’s real Silent Majority (not the one Nixon trumped up in the 1970s).

What’s changed?

"The consumer boycott is the only open door in the dark corridor of nothingness,” Cesar Chavez said decades ago while trying to lift West Coast grape workers out of virtual slavery.

Back then, sympathizers stopped eating grapes, and it made a difference. Now, Wall Street protests sputter on, but there are few other avenues of expression for those who feel their government has been the victim of a hostile takeover.

The Koch brothers, funders of the Tea Party, pull strings from their hundreds of billion dollars a year redoubt, barely noticed let alone punished by a consumer backlash.

If we stopped buying Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups and Stainmaster carpet, they wouldn’t notice. We only hear of their empire when they are caught, as they recently were, trading with Iran and paying bribes to foreign countries.

So we are left with the well-meaning but disorganized Occupy Wall Street protesters.

“My bet,” writes Gail Collins, ”is that these folks will only be remembered for having been there, taken a stand. But that’s no little thing. We all complain, but they showed up.”

If somebody would only tell us where, more of our Silent Majority might show up.

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