If, in the 1960s, you had tried to judge America by looking at the sit-ins and Woodstock, you would have had a very distorted picture of where the country was heading. You wouldn’t have been able to predict that Richard Nixon would win the youth vote in 1972, which he did. You wouldn’t have been able to predict that Republicans would go on to win four out of the next five presidential elections, a streak only interrupted by Jimmy Carter, who ran as a conservative Democrat.
Similarly, if you look only at the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements that have been getting so much coverage in the news media, you know very little about the wider America. Most Americans seem to understand this. According to data from the Pew Research Center, they are paying less attention to the Occupy Wall Street movement than any other major story — less than Afghanistan, Amanda Knox, the 2012 election, the death of Steve Jobs and far, far less than news about the economy.
While the cameras surround the flamboyant fringes, the rest of the country is on a different mission. Quietly and untelegenically, Americans are trying to repair their economic values.
The salt of the Earth, rock-ribbed masses are embracing austerity and reaffirming their role as doormats for the wealthy, apparently. The meek shall inherit the Earth, well after the people with the money and the megaphones get done pillaging anything and everything of worth from it. Not only does Brooks dismiss the Occupy Together protesters in cities across the country, he then assumes people are angry because government’s spending too much and that people want tax cuts for our precious tax creators and cuts to the social safety net that supports them.
How dare, Brooks says, do these Dirty Effing Hippies demand anything and seek to lift their noses from the grindstone that has eroded household income to 1996 levels. Banks cutting credit limits and charging more fees, energy and food prices rising due to commodity speculation, the wealth gap growing yearly? Tighten your belts like the Puritan strain you are and accept it. Real Americans in Bobo’s world ignore OWS and get back to work. Those with jobs, anyway.
Most of all, Real Americans fanatically embrace centrism and austerity to protect our nation’s greatest resource, the job creators. Trickle-down serfdom is all the rage where Brooks is. After all, we’ve been there for over three decades. Why would the silly masses actually want anything more in a country where the wealthiest 400 individuals have more than the bottom 50% combined, and banks continue to report billions in profit this week after taking hundreds of billions in taxpayer loans?
The Divine Right of Job Creators, indeed. Real Americans suffer in silence, apparently.