Goddamned hippies in Austin, Texas
Andrew Sullivan in The Daily Beast:
The revolts in the West require nothing of the courage displayed by Egyptians or Syrians or Tunisians standing up to tanks and bullets and torture. But they have a similar dynamic. They have occupied public spaces in the center of cities, as if to reclaim ownership of a society they feel has been privatized into nonexistence. This is not Protest Wall Street; it is Occupy It. It does not march through; it stops and sits and waits—as if the genie of Tahrir Square could not be kept bottled up in Egypt for very long. The very act is empowering, a form of theater as well as politics. But the theater works only when it reflects underlying truths—truths that cut through cultural divides. Because this is not the 1960s. These are not the children of the affluent acting out for sexual and personal liberation. They are the children of the golden years of hyped-up, unregulated, lightly taxed capitalism—now facing the same unemployment and austerity as the rest of the world.
And that’s why polls have shown unusual support for the basic complaints of the hippies. The Occupy movement has, according to recent polling, significantly more general support than the Tea Party, and its specific demands are highly popular. Huge majorities agree that corporate special interests have too much clout in Washington, that inequality has gotten out of control, that taxes can and should be raised on the successful, that the gamblers of Wall Street deserve some direct comeuppance for the wreckage they have bestowed on the rest of us. Polling data do not show a salient cultural split between blue-collar whites and the countercultural drum circles in dozens of cities around America. And the facts are behind the majority position. Social and economic inequality is higher than it has been since the 1920s, and is showing no signs of declining.