If you want to see how angry Americans create change, have a look at what’s happening in Murrieta, California. California may be the only state less likely than Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois to sprout grass roots protests against his immigration abuses. Now we know that even liberal California has a boiling point when people are pushed too far. Barack Obama has done a lot of pushing. Will more angry Americans decide to push back?
People create change, but despite our proud history of protest the success stories of angry Americans forcing government to do something it doesn’t want to do are more common in our mythology than reality. The Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam antiwar protests brought change. At other times the government bulldozes over Americans and cannot be stopped. How did the Volstead Act last for nearly fifteen years? How did we end up with Obamacare? How is the White House able to nullify our immigration system and act as if we don’t have any enforceable legislation on the books to stem the flood of illegal immigrants into the country?
Government lies can create angry Americans.
Every once in a while a government-concocted crisis like the Obama-proclaimed humanitarian tragedy at the border backfires. As the president tries to scratch up more than $2 billion to fix a problem he has told us time and again was all but taken care of by the unprecedented resources he dedicated to the border, we have angry Americans on the news in a state that activists thought they could rely on.
We have heard lots of promises about the impact of immigration reform. A comprehensive bill will be good for the economy. Good for jobs. Good for innovation. Good for creating small businesses. Most important, the people want it, or at least people who don’t live in Murrieta want it. Obama is good at telling us what we desire, though if we sent a busload of illegals to every state in the country what we want would change very quickly. When government puts its problems in our backyards, government creates angry Americans.
Was this an agreement to stifle angry Americans?
The Occupy Wall Street movement wasn’t very popular with conservatives. It worked out well for Democrats who used it as a symbol of the evils of corporate America. Protesters received nods from a party that has done little or nothing for them except forcing the purchase of health insurance policies.
Democratic Party members celebrated the protests. Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chair Raul Grijalva voiced solidarity with the Occupy Movement:
We stand with the American people as they demand corporate accountability and we support their use of peaceful means to improve America.”¹
So did other House members, like Georgia’s Representative John Lewis:
“Occupy Wall Street is saying, ‘We will not take it anymore.’ When the people have taken all they can take, they have to use their marching feet to say to corporate America and to those in power we must humanize corporate and government policy.²
When it came to defending political protest, neither representative stepped up to the plate by rejecting H.R. 347, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. Grijalva didn’t vote on H.R. 347 and Lewis voted for the bill. Popularized in the media as the “Trespass Bill,” H.R. 347 prohibits protests in areas protected by the Secret Service. Protesting corporate America and protesting government are, apparently, two different things. Whoever does the following is committing a federal crime:
Knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.³
Did we stifle free speech? Will adding doubt make protesters think twice? If you don’t know where a restricted area is or the area suddenly changes, it’s hard to know if you have trespassed. These didn’t seem to be issues that worried the House. In a massive show of bipartisanship, only three members voted against H.R. 347 and the president signed the bill in March 2012. It seems that even liberal Democrats prefer not to take a chance when protests might make their party look bad.
Will angry Americans be crushed by the Obama bulldozer?
Bulldozing Americans is the worst offense of this administration. When a law or presidential order is on the books it is hard to get rid of, no matter what was said before it was chiseled in stone. Words are easy, but repealing politically popular bills like the health care law is very hard. Congressional outrage and public outrage are too entirely different animals. It takes a lot of the second type to accomplish something.
While propaganda telling us that Americans are in favor of whatever the White House wants to do can drown out the voices of angry Americans, every once in a while we see a glimmer of hope. We saw that hope last week in Murrieta.
The primary season didn’t give us that hope for change. Too many Americans opted to give those already elected a second chance. That’s why grass roots protests are so important. Government won’t do or say anything it doesn’t want to unless enough people say no because at the end of the day, politics is about cowardice and keeping your job, not doing the right thing. Being an American citizen is about bravery, the kind of bravery that creates angry Americans whose dissatisfaction can spread and create real change.
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