Why are they protesting in the Ukraine (where the pro-Russia government was deposed in a matter of days)? Why are they protesting in Venezuela (where there is a fair to middling chance the Maduro government will not survive)?
Here, excerpted from his latest piece at townhall.com, is Michael Barone\’s opinion. Then I\’ll give you mine, and what I think it means for the USA:
Whatmotivates people to demonstrate in central squares, day after day andweek after week, against repressive regimes at the risk of life andlimb? It\’s a question raised most recently by events in Ukraine andVenezuela.
Froma distance, it\’s impossible to gauge the motives and backgrounds ofall the protesters, and surely there are among them some whom almostall Americans would consider repugnant.
Butit\’s noteworthy that they are taking grave risks — dozens died inKiev\’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti and many have died in Venezuela cities –to oppose governments with roots in the political Left.
Theprotests against Yanukovych began when he shifted away from theEuropean Union and toward Russia\’s Vladimir Putin, who characterizedthe dissolution of the Soviet empire as the greatest tragedy of the20th century (a title for which there is vigorous competition).
InVenezuela, Chavez and Maduro embraced socialism, with the statetaking over oil operations and revenues, and vigorously proclaimedtheir support for Fidel and Raul Castro\’s Communist Cuba.
Americanmainstream media, nostalgic for Vietnam War protests, tend to regardprotests as the province of the political Left.
Theyhailed the Occupy Wall Street encampments, despite their violentcrime and gauzy pronouncements, as heralding an uprising of thevirtuous 99 percent.
Despitesuch encouragement, Occupy fizzled and polls showed that the demandfor redressing “income inequality” was so weak that,contrary to advance word, President Obama scarcely mentioned thephrase in his State of the Union address.
Chavezand Maduro also won elections, though there is plenty of evidence offraud and intimidation.
Ithink it\’s more helpful to see the protesters as rebelling againstthe absence of the rule of law.
Therule of law is hard to establish and easy to dismantle. Something tokeep in mind as our president keeps unilaterally rewriting Obamacareand our IRS targets his political opponents.
In my opinion, the most important part of Mr. Barone\’s piece (which I urge you to read in its entirety) is that last paragraph.
Until recent years, organized protests in the United States were almost exclusively the province of the left. And, other than basic freedom issues (i.e. racial equality, gay rights) the reasons for those protests were almost always demands that more and more be taken from people who earned at least a good-sized amount of money, and handed to people who earned little or nothing.
At some point that bubble bursts. At some point, people who are successful – and there are still plenty of them in the USA, along with plenty of others who aspire to be – are going to react negatively.
Please note that I am not talking about the super-rich. I am talking about a combination of the super-rich, the well-to-do and large parts of the middle class – all of whom the left in this country appears to see as their enemies, on the grounds that anyone who is or wants to be an economic “winner” – even just a modest winner, must be an evil exploitative oppressor.
As we go further into debt, to pay for more and more entitlements, funded through a combination of deficit spending and more taxation, who do you think will be protesting? Who do you think will be out in the streets?
Five years ago the “Tea Party” movement was born – spontaneously and virtually instantaneously. It scared the pants off of the left, who, along with a substantial portion of what, sadly, passes for mainstream media these days, have spent all this time denouncing, condemning and accusing the kind of people who would be Tea Partiers of everything they can find in their saul-alinsky handbooks.
I am no Tea-Partier. But I do know a grass roots movement when I see one. And this is a true grass roots movement.
If the “Tea Party” movement has not died after five years of nonstop opprobrium, it isn\’t likely to die at all. And the combination of more taxes, to fund more entitlements, for more people – including millions of illegals – coupled with less and less concern about the actual laws embodied in our constitution (“I have a pen”), will do nothing but grow that movement.
I\’m not trying to scaremonger here. I think there is still more than enough time to reverse field before we see anything like what is going on in the Ukraine and Venezuela.
But I also hear a clock ticking…and the distant sound of a canary.