Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#Occupy Deja Vu

I ran across this old newspaper clipping in a box in my basement.  Almost 140 years old!

Atlanta Sentinel

October 18, 1871

#Occupy Peachtree Rally Reaches 3rd Week

By Farley Balanced, Staff Crier

Protesters gathered on Peachtree Road for the third consecutive week, expressing their frustration and at times anger at prevailing economic conditions that they claim are adversely affecting those at the bottom of the income scale in favor of those at the top.  The protests that seemed to have begun spontaneously in Atlanta have given rise to like gatherings in other cities and towns across the South, and local leaders are expressing concern.

While the message of the protesters has been described as “muddled”, the general consensus among those gathered is clear.  They claim that income inequality is grinding down the middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people.  Because they see an American economy that is not working for all of the people, they have dubbed themselves “The 3/5th-ers”, since 3/5 represents what they believe to be their value relative to individuals in the upper class.

Productivity among these low wage workers has risen during each year of the past decade, while the profits of the farming and food service industries has also grown.  The protesters, revealing their true redistributionist agenda, believe that as business prospers at their expense, they should realize gains in wages. 
“In Atlanta and across the country, thousands of Americans have taken to the streets, certain of the morality of their message: bringing fairness to Main Street,” one of the protest leaders, who preferred to remain anonymous for his own security, said. “The silent masses aren’t so silent anymore. They are fighting to give voice to the struggles that everyday Americans are going through.”

Local citizens were not sympathetic to the protester’s calls for economic change, and resented their calls for what they described as creeping socialism.

“These protesters shouldn’t rally against plantation owners because they’re the ones who create the jobs,” said one shop owner whose business he claimed was being hurt by the gathering.  “Don’t blame plantation owners, don’t blame the white man, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!”

Other passersby commented that the protesters did not appreciate the value of hard work, or the benefits already bestowed upon them by the government.  They pointed out that federal hand outs to the poor, like freedom and the right to vote, were creating a culture of dependency.

“Look, they are free to do whatever they want, and they don’t choose to work, like I did as a kid,” said Tyler Wendall Farnsworth III from his trusty mount.  “I had to work for some of what I got – no one handed me an opportunity to tenant farm.  I had to kill Indians for that right.”

“Corporate America brought them to this great country, gave them a place to live, 2 squares a day, and this is how they thank their country,” he added.  “Where is their patriotism?  By speaking up, they only serve to divide America.”

An elderly woman shouted to this reporter from her carriage, “I hear those protesters singing all the time, even when they are working.  No one sings unless they are happy.  I don’t see what all the fuss is about.”

Local authorities, fearing the worst, were bracing for violence by stockpiling guns, clubs, ropes, cannons, stones, whips, and more guns.  Police insisted that they were interested in only one thing – maintaining order, tradition, and the rule of law.

Colonel Hangum of the Atlanta Civil Patrol offered some tough words for the protesters and their sympathizers.  “This protest gathering is illegal.  They do not have a permit.  We are reasonable people but enough is enough.  If you are dissatisfied, you shouldn’t take to the streets.  You can bring your grievance to the courts, and get a fair and just ruling.  We have the greatest judicial system in the world, and my cousin, Judge Bobby, will see to it.”

“Perhaps these mobs would feel differently about their situation if they had some skin in the game.  Maybe they wouldn’t be trying to pit American against American.”  
One of the protesters commented aloud while being arrested and beaten, “I’ve been working 20 hours days since I was old enough to hold a stick in my hand, and the American Dream seems further away from me every day.  You know, I think the system might be rigged against us.”
Hmmm, the know, that guy might be on to something.

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