General Question

woodcutter's avatar

What do you think would have to happen to start an "American spring"?

Asked by woodcutter (16249 points ) June 22nd, 2011

With all the action in North Africa and other countries in that region where the people are revolting against their leaders, is it too far fetched to expect the Americans to loose it and cause what James Carville describes as civil unrest?

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53 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

If Palin was ever elected President, I think we might see an American Spring.

woodcutter's avatar

Palin? really. I imagine her really too vapid to do much in the way of tipping things that way.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Welfare (public assistance) and social security payments reduced dramatically due to tax cuts given to those that make greater than $200,000.

There’d be plenty of pissed off welfare recipients and elderly with lots of time on their hands willing to take to the streets.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

If the “Patriot Act” ever became required reading for every adult American, that alone might set the wheels in motion for such a social and political renewal of America.

woodcutter's avatar

I probably should have put more into the details so I’ll do it right here. What would be an expected positive outcome, what would change? Not talking about armed riots although that could happen, but what leverage could be used to make our leaders concerned?

atlantis's avatar

I think the Americans had their chance when their life savings were decimated by the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I firmly believe that it’s coming, and perhaps sooner than most think. The rising prices of almost all goods and services due to inflation will supply the pressure, and I would imagine the initiating incident will be when riot police attack a demonstration protesting higher food prices. This will galvanize a major portion of the US population, particularly in the cities, and politicians will ignore it at their peril.

woodcutter's avatar

It sure looks like using the vote is useless any more. They all lie.

zenvelo's avatar

We’ve had a taste of it in Wisconsin. It will be interesting what happens after the recall elections.

In California it might erupt over the refusal by Republicans to permit tax increases to be put on the ballot. If taxes are not increased, we are facing a reduction of a month from the school year, we’re already closing a third of the State Parks and Beaches, and we have abandoned state higher education.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@zenvelo

All the chickens coming home to roost.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Actually, the initiating incident might come when a farmer is told he can’t sell his produce that he’s been cultivating all season. You DO realize that the Agriculture Department has forbidden the direct sale of home-grown produce, yes?

woodcutter's avatar

@CaptainHarley I fear that same thing too. It won’t be like in Syria where the govt thugs shoot into a defenseless crowd….oh no, that will not fly here. For that reason I believe riot cops will want to use restraint, __I hope__. This scenario has been simmering for a long time. There just haven’t been enough people yet to be negatively affected to kick it off.

WasCy's avatar

The trigger might be something as idiotic and reprehensible as the US Park Police arresting people for harmlessly dancing at the Jefferson Memorial or even – incredible as it is to contemplate – even stupider than that.

woodcutter's avatar

Because of the internet we all are connected really tightly. It could be organized really fast and those in power realize this. It needn’t come to people killed but I think a nationwide organized strike or work stoppage for a few days would bring this country to its knees.

peridot's avatar

I’m having a cynical moment…

In order to have such a sea change, it would have to be induced by sustained action on the peoples’ part. That would include, aside from having a collective attention span longer than twenty seconds, putting aside differences and actively exploring common ground. As in liberals and conservatives/ Christians and non-Christians/ financially better-off and not-so, making real long-term effort side-by-side. We’re way too individually insulated and self-interested as a nation anymore to transcend those perceived barriers.

There are plenty of examples above where we had the motivation to really rise up, but did it happen? No. We grumbled and swore—then went back to watching football and updating our Facebook statuses. Those who do have less to lose and work up the mojo to try an uprising quickly get shut down by being dismissed as crazy or aggro… see, you can’t be that sort of person in a great nation like the U.S. If you’re that unsettled or desperate in the world’s richest country, it’s because there’s something wrong with YOU. Obviously.

I hate feeling this way, but that’s my observation (and to a lesser degree, experience).

CaptainHarley's avatar

@woodcutter

Which might be the very thing needed to wake some people up!

Judi's avatar

There are two armed groups that might participate in something like this. The left leaning people that see the writing on the wall and fear the collapse of our civilization. They own arms, learn to plant organic gardens and pray that the day never comes when they will HAVE to be dependent on both.
Then there are the right leaning people, who see the writing on the wall, buy guns, plant an organic garden and CAN’T WAIT for the day that they will have to rely on both.

CaptainHarley's avatar

LMAO @Judi !

Your opinion of those on the right seems rather cynical and misinformed. What about those of us who support Ron Paul?

woodcutter's avatar

I think there are those who are in a position to avert this are waiting for it. Napolitano is worried about people hoarding small arms and ammunition, even to go as far as labeling those that do, domestic terrorists. And it did strike me oddly the even “W” would be willing to sign another AWB into law if he got a chance, a Republican? It sure looks alot like they fear something.

Judi's avatar

@CaptainHarley; I agree with a lot of what Ron Paul says. Where I disagree is where he abandons the weakest among us. What separates us from the animals is that we are not a “survival of the fittest” species. We, as a society have a responsibility to our poor, sick, and disadvantaged.

woodcutter's avatar

There is talk that this rate of unemployment could last for years. People are turning 18 every day in this country and where are the jobs for them, let alone those who have lost theirs and those who just flat out quit looking? I’m no economist but it’s easy for even me to see this can’t continue. The wage disparity has widened to the point that when wages adjusted for inflation it shows no net rise in expendable income, never mind income to support the bare necessities for working families. We need a hero and we need one a long time ago. The American worker cannot be squeezed any further, there just ain’t nothin there to get. What will it look like on the news when people become so desparate they snap and get the similar news pictures we are used to seeing in other countries?

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

If Americans are willing to truly see what is going on…blinders off…leaving partisan politics behind…yes. If Americans are willing to see how they have been hoodwinked by the banksters and how they have been sold a bill of goods, not just in this administration, but in the last few decades…yes. If Americans are willing to switch off their IPads, IPods, stop listening to the mainstream media and doing research to find out the real truth…yes. If you are willing to stop trashing Palin or Pelosi or whoever the whipping girl is these days that are tossed in the fray as merely diversions from the real problem which is the erosion of your liberties….yes. But for so many people, politics has become “Hollywood” and that means that looking for the “next attractive fab soundbite politician” is more important than the essence of what the people who can really help are saying.

The only way is to stop the bickering between “you are right, I am wrong” and “CNN is right and Fox is the devil” or “CNN is socialist and Fox is the only truth”....“The Democrats care for people, the Republicans are the party of the rich”....all that is ridiculous pablum to keep your eyes off the real issues and to divide you so that you become weakened and more anesthetized to the truth: that you can do anything if you are united and if you are willing to see that all of you are enslaved in one way or another…it is just to the degree that you differ in that enslavement. America is gradually going to become a country with only two classes: the rich and the poor. You cannot control a people who are doing well, but you can control a people when they have no food on the table. Learn to be more self-sufficent_ turn off the boob tube_ stop listening to the sound bites, begin to organize, know your neighbors, get off the consumer grid as much as possible.

Living in the UK, I can tell you that America is not respected here anymore. I moved here during the height of the 9–11 fervor and it was amazing how sympathetic and pro-American people were. They were outraged at what happened, they were on our side. But then, the honeymoon was over. It started with Bush’s cowboy policies and Obama along many of the same routes. (Not bashing either one of them, simply stating what the thought is here). What happened to ending the wars? What happened to abolishing the Patriot Act (and furthering the cause of Big Brother)? This is what I mean. When Bush (and I am not a fan of his either) enacted the Patriot Act, he was chastised by the left. When Obama extended it…nary a whimper. Why is this? It is the same policy, nothing has changed in it. Why did Obama who could have absolutely done something stellar for himself, back down? (Well, it’s complicated, yes, I am aware that it isn’t simple…but the Patriot Act is one of the most heinous things ever introduced into America.)

You have to live in a country where you are watched constantly, where you are not given the right to decide your country’s fate (as in the UK and all the members of the EU) in order to truly recognize what you had in America one time. In the UK, the Brits were not given the choice whether to join the EU or not. The Prime Minister simply signed over the country so to speak without a referendum to decide its own fate. Now, we are privy to the rights of the EU, and not sovereign. We are now having to bail out Greece, and next will be Portugal and Spain. Ireland (gorgeous Eire) attempted to fight the vote, they voted it down the first time and the EU made them vote again and were strong-armed into the acceptance. Guess what happened? This thriving nation (they were doing so well) tanked completely when it had to take on the Euro. It is a huge mess on this side of the pond and I fear that this sort of “union” will next be introduced in the United States. Are you willing to start bailing out other countries when your own country is flailing? That’s what we are having to do to the tune of 40 million pounds a day (that’s 65 million US). I live in a nanny state of handouts and amazingly mind-boggling benefits (welfare in America) fraud. With people on welfare living in 6million pound homes paid for by the government. Or three and four generations of families never having worked at all. Meanwhile, the elderly go without care in our NHS hospitals, left to die in their own excrement and education is cut for students…but we are enabling strong men, boys and women who can work to sponge off the system. And we continue to send billions of dollars to the EU daily for them to line their pockets, have huge salaries and parties and bail out other countries. We do need to help others, but we need to help countries help themselves through trade and commerce as the EU was first intended. Now, it is this devouring monster eating up our cash and liberty. It is absolutely appalling. I realize that Michael Moore extolled the virtue of our National Health System, but I’ve been there, it’s awful. If you want to have a baby, or get some penicillin for an infection_great_, but most of the care is abysmal. You hope to God you get a good and caring doctor, but most can’t be bothered to help you or they are so exhausted, they just ship you through like on a conveyor belt. America, this is your possible future.

You don’t have as much control anymore_ you just think you do_. The difference is that in America you still have a chance to change things if you are courageous enough to step up to the plate _and stop bashing your neighbor because he doesn’t believe exactly as you do. All of you are in the same boat. Do you want to argue about who is manning the ship? Or do you want to row to shore before you sink?

There are only two mainstream American politicians today who are willing to stick their necks out for the truth and they are ridiculed. We know who they are and in Europe, they are considered heroes. Will they ever be President? Probably not because they don’t cater to any special interest groups. Someone once said, “we may elect a President, but we don’t select them.” Most candidates are groomed years in advance, vetted to see that they can tow the mainstream line. If they step out of line…well….the Kennedys, case in point.

An American spring? Perhaps…but Americans have to recognize first that they are living in an American winter. That means facing the truth, beyond politics, beyond Palin and Pelosi and beyond the pap that is churned out daily by people more interested in protecting their side of the fence instead of tearing it down and working together. And I don’t mean in the Congress or the Senate…I mean in your own towns, farms, and all across America as a grassroots movement to take back what you have lost.

You can still do it. You really can….but you won’t do it with politics as usual. Politics has little part in redeeming the sovereignty of a nation, it is all done primarily with individual courage and vision.

(I am sure I am going to naff off people…I didn’t write this to start an argument. I write from an American who has lived what is on the other side of the fence for you…if you don’t wake up. I am not here to play |partisan politics or anything like that. Nor do I want to get dragged into some silly argument. The time for division is over. Let me say this again…it’s not about the Dems or the Repubs or the Tea Party or the men on the moon or the slumber party….its about your future.)

josie's avatar

When a few more people realize what the 10th amendment actually means.

jlelandg's avatar

People who think it’s only one side of the American political spectrum are funny. It’s SURELY not their guy, their party, or their congressman!

peridot's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus GA! You put it much more eloquently than I did, and from an outside-the-U.S. perspective. Thank you.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@peridot…Thank you…very much. I really care and I can see it from outside and from a way of life that is quietly being exported to your country . It’s easier to view the extent of a firestorm when perched on a mountain rather than from its starting point.

By the way, just for the record…the British (No Ireland, too) and the (Republican) Irish are amazingly wonderful people as are the Europeans. They just didn’t reckon on all this happening when they signed up back in the 70’s to have a “free trade” agreement. This wasn’t part of the bargain. It’s a real shame it has turned into this fiasco that is bringing so many countries to their knees. I still harbor hope for a referendum , somehow, in this country.

P.S. It took me so long to write the above, I didn’t see that you had posted something very similar and much more succinctly well done!

woodcutter's avatar

I can’t see how something like this won’t happen. Even the rich know how bad they are sticking it to the rest of us but they believe that is the way it was meant to be. Even if there is a mass disobedience an attempt at change of some kind I’m not sure anything better will come of it. More liars will step up to help and it begins all over again. We need more than hope. All hope is, is a damned catchy election ploy as far as I see it anyway.

wundayatta's avatar

Beautiful rhetoric, @DarlingRhadamanthus. A little short on specifics, though. What are you on about?

It’s about our future! So stirring. Do I hear them playing The Star Spangled Banner in the background?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus

Excellent post! Really!

@wundayatta

Quit being so damned cynical, willya!

woodcutter's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus that was a pretty good one there.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@woodcutter….I am working here in this country…to overturn the EU rulings. I really am not just hoping honestly.

I am not in America. If I were there, I would be doing the same thing to help somehow. But I would not be doing it within a political party. Even the Tea Party has been co-opted now by the Republicans. It started out as a good idea. But it was immediately tarred and feathered as a “right-wing crazy fundamentalist group” by the media and that’s a good way to keep the two party system going. The two party system——which is really just one party with two names. (No, I am not a supporter of the Tea Party, just saying that it looked like something “different and interesting” might happen in politics, but it has summarily been squelched from its original independent and outside-the-box rhetoric.) That included putting people who make huge gaffes at its forefront to discredit them completely. Yes, they will win a few seats to make it look as if they are viable, but whatever is to happen will have to be outside any party.

woodcutter's avatar

Worst case scenario (or best case depending where you are thinking from) is the economy will collapse to the point that the govt __will__ have to take over most services because the private sector would be crippled. I could see the presidential directive HSPD-20 or “directive 51” come to bear and there goes a free US. Once the state gets its hands on the workings of society it will be next to impossible to pry them off. The irony of it all is that capitalism being the mainstay of a free society would ultimately be what destroys it.

woodcutter's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus I couldn’t agree more with you there.

woodcutter's avatar

On another related observation the effects world wide could be the big disaster if the US citizen just “sits down”.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@wundayatta…Tough, buddy…I don’t care if you hear the Star Spangled Banner playing or even God Save the Queen. Your cynicism is exactly what keeps people afraid and enslaved.

Good luck to you…I’m out of this thread. Don’t bother posting, I don’t read slams. You deliberately attacked me for fun, right? Just for the sport. Where is your plan? Where are your specifics? If you are going to attack someone, be ready with something better.

I often think there are people who attack people who still have a vision…who still believe in the goodness of people to overcome obstacles. You can never have a revolution without someone holding the vision. That’s my first job. The vision brings other people together. You’ve made it clear you are not interested in plans, you just want to be incendiary. You want to continue the bashing. That doesn’t work and that is the fundamental problem countries face. No one is willing to be kind and thoughtful and respectful of other’s opinions. Amazing what you just wrote to me. Amazing and very telling. But not surprising.

You underestimate me and you have no idea of my involvement in what I do grassroots-wise in this country, working on peaceful solutions to conflicts and I would never share that with you and certainly not now.

This is what I mean….let’s attempt to ridicule, intimidate and divide and conquer…especially if it is a silly woman ..you epitomized it all in your posting. I rest my case.

And by the way…to the millions of people who have been killed in senseless wars…in the last decade in the US…I doubt that the Star Spangled Banner should be a point of contention. It’s too bad it is for you…no wonder the country is losing its identity and its history.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@CaptainHarley…...You rock and thank you for fighting for freedom.
@woodcutter…..Thank you for your comments…they are very appreciated.

Lurve coming to you.

woodcutter's avatar

You don’t need to take off on account of one negative comment, I’m interested with what you have to say.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think just about the only thing that could get Americans to rise up, en masse, in revolt would be if you took away their automobiles and forced them to use public transportation and share Zip cars.

flutherother's avatar

American politics is dominated by big business and special interest groups. This is not healthy and it is not the way it is meant to be. A country should be run by the people who live in it. We need an American Spring so that every leaf in the land can shine.

wundayatta's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Once again, long on rhetoric, and little of substance. You spin a lot of rhetoric and I have no idea what you stand for other than people being nice and standing together no matter what they believe. I have no idea what proposals you would have. You sound like a politician to me. They all talk big, but offer no specifics. I’m really quite surprised that people are drawn to what you say, but then, I was never good at politics. I was always very specific about what I believe in.

I would agree that we need to rescind the Patriot Act. I don’t understand what the economics of the EU has to do with it. We are an interconnected world, and that would be true whether or not there was an EU. Greece and Ireland and Portugal would be having significant problems anyway, and their European brothers and sisters would not let them collapse, I don’t think.

National Health—first of all, we are never going to get there and we are far far from it. No one here has ever seriously talked about the UK system. The model here is Canada. And people who are willing to let there be millions of uninsured have no idea the suffering and economic dislocation being caused because people have no health insurance.

Courage. Stepping up to the plate. We are all in the same boat but we have very different ideas about how to row that boat. Those differences are not going to be ironed by saying we should all make nice.

Now here’s where it gets weird. You say there are two candidates that Europe would cheer about, but you don’t say who they are? What’s with that?

The time for division is over? Ok. Great. What’s your proposal for uniting people? It’s all well and good to propose unity. Goes along with Mom and apple pie. Who is against unity?

It is an entirely different thing to actually do effective work to create unity. Lobbing rhetorical bombs from overseas isn’t going to do the trick. Myself, I prefer to do work that makes a difference. In fact, I have done work that makes a difference. But you probably wouldn’t think so, since my work had to do with health care reform, and I don’t think we went nearly far enough.

WasCy's avatar

Actually, @wundayatta, I believe that “letting them collapse” is exactly what is needed. After all, it happened in Iceland a couple of years ago, and after some yelping and gnashing of teeth, they seem to be well on the road to recovery now. People didn’t starve in the streets over a financial / monetary / government collapse. It’s a good thing, in fact. We’d be having a great recovery now, ourselves, if we hadn’t tried to “support” all of the systems that we deemed “too big to fail”. “Too big to fail” is simply a delay tactic until “wait until it really fails”.

The pain of the Great Depression was not in the initial collapse, it was in “trying to support prices” after the collapse. Sixteen years of Depression and a World War… some “fix” that was.

mazingerz88's avatar

@WasCy I wonder what would have happened if the “fix” was not executed re: the Great Depression that makes it so easy to belittle it now. And I hope you are not saying going into war after Pearl Harbor is a “fix” that again, deserves belittling.

mazingerz88's avatar

@woodcutter It is farfetched. The only springing I will do is go out and vote. And there is no such thing as an honest politician. Revolt? Against your own? Sounds more like “what about me?” revolution.

tinyfaery's avatar

America is filled with people who will never agree. I don’t think America will ever rise-up. Not in my lifetime.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I think @DarlingRhadamanthus hit some pretty good points. By in large we Yankees are sheep. We as a society might as well be bovine led around by the nose. The government is like a bad employer who looks upon the citizen as poor hapless workers. They offer a lousy job that is going nowhere, but they know you have to buy gas, clothes, and groceries so they pay you just enough to keep you from quitting but not what you should, and promise you a promotion is coming.

As long as us Yanks can have our creature comforts, no one really cares what is going on. Kind of a larger scale of what the US does in Africa, dole out aid to the poor African nations and they are like children fighting over the few toys that are available. The government makes sure the people have their gadgets and smooth roads to drive on they will be to busy entertaining themselves to see what is going on. The classic case of the butler having the keys to the penthouse; they are public servants but act anything but. They spend tons of our money on their private gym and have the audacity not to tell us, their boss how much of our money they spent on it or even let the media inside to see what our money bought.

Partisan politics, this nation is the poster boy for that. Divide and conquer, they have that right. There will never be any type of up rising because people would not want to give up or risk their creature comforts for anything better. Yanks fear loss more than their desire to gain. Here people will camp out two days on the sidewalk like a homeless person to be 1st in line to get this gadget or that. Half way around the world they are camping out because they are homeless and hoping to get a liter of millet, and 5gal of almost fresh water.

The only way to get an uprising here is for the government to try and take away people’s guns, iPods, video games, boob jobs and booze. They care little about anything else.

Forgot, if the government exempt the rich from paying any taxes that might do it.

WasCy's avatar

@mazingerz88

I’ve tried to be plain. The “fix” for the Depression was 16 years of hell, which included a World War. At the end of WW II the US economy was booming.

Where would we have been without that “fix”? A short, sharp and painful correction of the type that the US has endured ever since its founding, and a stronger, longer and more powerful recovery. (About where we would have been in the 1950s, for example, but ten to twelve years sooner.) The problem with The Depression (the capital-D depression) was “trying to fix things”. That’s the problem of the current (and previous) administration. The cause of a depression is not “crooked bankers” (although that certainly doesn’t help things), but easy credit, malinvestment, overproduction of things for which there is no demand, in short: bubble economies. Trying to prop up the prices for things that a depression is attempting to correct (real estate, for example), simply delays the correction that will be made.

gorillapaws's avatar

@WasCy what makes you think the correction would be short? If we did nothing there’s a good chance that the US simply never would have recovered. If every major financial institution in the US failed simultaneously, the value of the dollar would plummet by orders of magnitude. Not to mention the expense to the taxpayer with FDIC payouts alone would be around 5 trillion dollars. Next factor in all of the other payouts for things like unemployment insurance and then factor in the reduced revenue from massively lower taxable income and you would be looking at an annual deficit that would have the potential to absolutely devastate the USA on a scale worse than we’ve ever seen before.

Where are you getting your information on economics anyways? Is it the same source that is trying to re-write the history around Paul Revere’s ride just so Sarah Palin doesn’t have to admit that she’s a moron?

WasCy's avatar

You’re entirely missing the point, @gorillapaws.

FDIC? Wuzzat? If you want “an insured bank account” then you should expect to pay for that. If you run a bank that depends on insurance to cover “investment loss” on the investment side of the house or “massive default” on the business of lending, then expect to figure that into your (reduced) rates of payout and profit.

Furthermore, where do you get the idea that “every major financial institution in the US” would fail simultaneously? Did all of the managers drink the same Kool Aid? I guess it could happen in that case.

When markets crash there are always buyers waiting for prices to hit an acceptable level. When that occurs, they buy, and they rebuild, sell parts to improve the business they wanted in the first place and move on. It’s Business 101. It’s how business was done prior to bureaucrats and politicians saying, “This will hurt some of my favored constituents. We must’n’t let this business fail quickly. Let’s prop them up for now, and let them continue to fall in slow motion, so that I’ll look like I care, with other people’s money.”

The US would certainly have recovered, only maybe “under new management”, which is what the managers are so afraid of.

Unemployment insurance? C’mon, get real. Humans lived for millenia without “unemployment insurance”, and now it’s a cornerstone of our economy? Nonsense.

gorillapaws's avatar

@WasCy so you still aren’t providing a source to back up these claims? I got the idea that they would all fail because they are all intertwined and the bad banks would cause a collapse in the responsible ones. There was regulation designed to keep things separate, but the people beating the anti-regulation drum removed all of those protections. The money supply would shrink exponentially, credit would be impossible.

Those buyers you speak of would have to be foreign, and most foreign banks were also intertwined with ours. Perhaps you should look up what “too big to fail” really means. When multiple PhD’s in Economic theory call something too big to fail, that is advice worth listening to. That’s also Business 101.

How many college level or higher classes have you had in economics by the way?

mazingerz88's avatar

@WasCy Even Bush who is a Republican approved the stimulus. It is much harder to second guess things when you are in power and betting on what you think is right is never easy when economists smarter than you are, are saying it’s Armageddon if you don’t do anything and let it self-correct. That may not be ideal but that is reality.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Stufy up on the Austrian School of economic thought. It’s totally different from Keynesianism, which is what got the US into this bind in the first place .. that and the Federal Reserve.

WasCy's avatar

Bush is to Republicans as Benedict Arnold was to Founding Fathers.

I haven’t met an economist smarter than me yet. I know that some of those have lived, but they’re in short supply now, and not so popular among “the ruling class” (because if we listened to them, then we wouldn’t be listening to “the ruling class” as much as we do). @CaptainHarley is on the right track again (as usual).

Bagardbilla's avatar

I like to say “revolutions don’t occur on full stomachs”. Until these crisises start to really hurt their wallets, this cold grey winter will continue… although I do smell an ‘Indian Summer’ in the air. :)

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