19 October 2011

Play Ball

ozier muhammad, nyt
I was in Milwaukee for a couple days and stopped by a local sporting goods store to check out some team clothing to bring to the kids.  Hanging on the rack, lonely and neglected, were several dozen t-shirts touting the Brewers' run to the MLB playoffs, rally towels, and other celebratory fabrics of team spirit.  Twenty-four hours after the season had ended, the fast fade into oblivion begins.  Back at home, in Brooklyn, is a poster left over from the street protests in Tel Aviv this summer.  The euphoria of thousands in the street, united in their aspirational utopias and cathartic anger at the system, it's now three months later and the long march continues. 

There is already much digital preservation of these moments.  There are some very good feelings.  This is how consciousness is raised, we are told. However,  I can't help but submit to my cynicism--despite the relatively short distance to our having just completed Ten Days of Repentance--to question to hubris of such actions in the face of the overwhelming amount of work there is to do to fix a broken system.

I get it:  These types of social events are important for rallying the people to feel the energy to get motivated to do what needs to be done.  Always all this noise before getting started.  And nothing, in fact, has yet to be accomplished.  And one can imagine, that because history moves in large sweeps of time and power, "our side" may not even win a battle it has not yet begun.  The pep rally is still going on.  We've yet to see the kick-off, the tip-off, the opening pitch.

One hopeful sign is that with Governor Cuomo signalling that he will not extend the New York State tax surcharge, there is finally a reason for the Occupy Wall Street protestors to move to Albany for a while.  That's what people in Wisconsin did.  They took over the State Capitol building, occupied it, shouted, made posters, created demands, and then, slowly, saw those demands come unraveled in the hard light of day.  The recall efforts to turn out of office the Republican State representatives effectively failed to have a deep impact; recall efforts to move Governor Walker out of office have stalled; and a rather boring race to succeed Senator Herb Kohl in the Washington barely registers interest.  It's rough out there.  Which is why I believe getting off the street and up to Albany to engage the Governor would seem like the right thing to do for a protest movement that actually hopes to accomplish something more than a party in front of a bunch of cameras.

There is a great opportunity to take the core value of OWS:  the 99% are at an unfair advantage to the 1% and demand that the Governor address, substantively, why he is taking the position that he's taking.  This is how the substance of politics works.  But it requires taking off the warm-up suit, leaving the rally towels in the dugout, climbing the steps and getting on the field. 

I like flowers, too.  But come on:  take those silly daisies out of your hands and play ball.

No comments: