Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Follow us on social
  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

9/12 demonstrations may not be as ‘grassroots’ as claimed

On September 12, 2001, the entire nation – and much of the rest of the world – mourned the loss of 3,000 innocent American lives.

On September 12, 2009, conservative groups attempted to remind us all of that feeling of unity by marching on Washington, D.C., and protesting what they see as the out-of-control spending policies of the current administration.

It seems like a noble enough venture. Through a handful of powerful, well-funded nonprofit organizations like FreedomWorks and the aid of exposure through Fox News hosts Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, Americans across the political spectrum have been reached and are at last saying, ‘Enough is enough.’

But several questions do arise from this, and the two most important are: Who is actually being reached, and who is actually reaching them?

WashingtonPost.com posted an entire slide show of the protestors, sometimes referred to as ‘Tea Party Protestors.’ The protestors themselves, and especially cheerleaders like Beck, often refer to the group’s incredible diversity – they are people from all across the country and from all walks of life, they say.

But looking at the 13 pictures posted as part of The Post’s slideshow doesn’t suggest that at all. In the entire crowd, across all 13 pictures, I strained to find a single face of color. Probably some were there, but too few to be captured on film – unless the photography of every major media outlet, including Fox, was determined to ignore them.

The observation isn’t meant to suggest anything overtly sinister, and certainly not anything racist, about the protest or the nature of its organization. But for all the talk of how so many Americans are part of the movement, and how the movement encompasses people from so many spheres of life, it is worth noting.

Perhaps part of the problem is that the ultra-conservative message has limited appeal. First off, to be truly moved by the protests one has to believe President Obama is both a fascist and a Marxist, that he occupies both extremes of the political spectrum. There is no doubt that the movement and its unfortunate talking points have roots in conservative think-tanks and pundits like Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came under fire several weeks ago for referring to town hall protesting as an ‘astroturf’ movement, as opposed to naturally-evolved and community organized grassroots movements. She was quickly denounced by many of the conservative talk show hosts, both on television and the radio.

However, there is truth in Pelosi’s possibly crude claim. Take a look at one of the biggest organizers of Saturday’s demonstration in Washington, FreedomWorks, chaired by former Republican Rep. Dick Armey of Texas.

On Aug. 5, its Web site instructed its members to ‘Use the talking points and questions to pin down where legislators stand on these important issues’ (the talking points were provided on the page) and telling them ‘it is essential that we don’t let the pressure up.’ The entire article, including their talking points, can be retrieved at www.freedomworks.org/publications/august-recess-town-hall-meetings.

In any properly functioning democracy, this is precisely what the people should be doing. However, it is a wide stretch to believe that FreedomWorks is a grassroots organization of any kind.

Even giving as much credit to the movement as possible – perhaps saying that FreedomWorks is merely a conduit for their organization, that it is only helping usher along something it had no part in the birth of – it’s hard to accept that the organization’s interest lie with ordinary working people.

A month ago, Armey resigned from his position in the powerful lobbying firm DLA Piper. He indicated that the reason he was resigning was unfair castigation of DLA Piper and its clients, which include major pharmaceutical industries (Bristol-Myers Squibb) and insurance companies (MetLife), as well as the oil industry (BP America).

The health care industry’s involvement should come as no surprise, given Armey’s opposition to President Obama’s health care plans. But the latter is plainly ironic, given FreedomWorks.org’s home page’s link to a Web site claiming to be primarily concerned with lowering gas prices.

Still, conservative media outlets have been painting the picture of a completely democratically-organized grassroots effort sweeping the entire nation. But when the trail of funding and leadership leads to massive corporations, former Congressional leaders (Armey was the House Majority Leader from 1995-2003) and powerful multinational law firms like DLA Piper, one must question the movement’s validity.

The protestors are well-organized, well-funded and loud. Many of them are ordinary Americans with very real fears. Regrettably, it is through these fears that the country’s most powerful interests are working. Democracy and unity have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Respond to Kyle by leaving a comment below or email him at [email protected]

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$1325
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$1325
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *