Case in point: the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest and all of its extensions. Other than the all-too-casual coverage of police brutality in almost every city, which is its own beast [SERIOUSLY, WHY ISN'T ANYONE DOING MORE?!] there has been a maddening trend of blaming the protesters for what they're protesting. [I can't even touch the whole "class warfare" thing, as it still incites too much rage and I need to give it its own post.] I give you this little gem from infamously offensive and misguided GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain:
I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these [Occupy Wall Street] demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! [...] It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed. [emphasis mine]Okay, quick side note: "I don't have the facts to back this up" should just be the official GOP party line. Seriously GOP, just change it. We all already know. At least own it.
As for the quote... SIGH. "I don't have the facts to back this up" coming out of your mouth should be a big giant clue that you shouldn't say what you're about to say, especially if you're a politician speaking and acting in that capacity. I'm not even going to comment on the Obama conspiracy theory, other than to say Dude, you can't just make shit up. The "not having a job, not being rich, blame yourself" bit is especially bothersome to me. There seems to be a significant misunderstanding and/or deliberate misrepresentation of the issue at hand. The protesters are not protesting because they just wanna be rich, without working, thanks to the magic money fairy. And there's a big logic fail in the implication that protesters are lazy, too lazy to "just get a job," when one considers the amount of work, effort, time, and planning, not to mention risk, that's gone into these protests. The protesters are protesting because of the hundreds of thousands of people who WANT to work hard, who want to work hard JUST TO SURVIVE, but who cannot because THERE ARE NO JOBS. There are no jobs because these assholes who happen to be quite rich fucked up our economy, and continue to exploit the rest of us.
"It's someone's fault if they failed." Our economy has failed. It has failed most of us. Our government has failed. So, Herman Cain, whose fault is it that they failed?
And in keeping with the theme of "protesters are just a bunch of whiners and complainers," there's been a lot of attitudes along the lines of "if protesters are going to protest, protesters should have solutions." (If we should be holding ANYONE to that standard, it should be our politicians.... BIG FAIL.)
That is not how protesting works. That is also not how our country works (or is supposed to work). The lack of transparency and amount of back-door, behind-the-scenes bullshit that contributed to this mess limit the average person from being able to offer a true solution. But then, that is why we have the politicians. That is their job. That's why we vote for them and pay their salaries. Because THEY are supposed to find solutions. The politicians that attempt to attack the protesters with, "well then what is the solution?" are missing the point: THAT'S WHY YOU'RE HERE. DO YOUR JOB.
None of them listen to the people when it matters, but now they want us to tell them what to do. Right.
There's an very well-written piece here at Griper Blade that discusses this problem with an excellent car/mechanic metaphor. And ironically, as he points out, the media and the politicians want to ignore the problem because they don't want to work and do their jobs.
...go to We Are the 99%, scroll through a few pages of posts, and see if you don't notice something. That's right, a lot of the stories are extremely similar. There's a big, big problem out there, all of these people are pointing right at it, but the media are pretending -- completely illogically -- that if you don't know how to fix it, the problem must not exist.
The Washington crowd should not be looking at average Americans for solutions. That's not what we pay them to do. The American people need to tell them...we've told you what the problem is, now quit being a dick about it and fix the damned thing.