Progressive inspirationalist Katrina vanden Heuvel outdoes herself today in a Rooney-Garland "Strike Up the Band" fever. Then again, she's always in hyperdrive, bubbling with irrepressible enthusiasm for the Progressive Cause, which, I suppose, helps to bolster the often sagging spirits of the truly believing and magazine-subscribing. After all, if the New Testament ended in, Who the hell knows?, there wouldn't be many church-attending Christians.
Yet I come not to bury Katrina, but to parse her -- which is one of those more effortless exercises to properly start one's day. She pronounces:
Occupy is a protest movement — one that has transformed the landscape of politics, by forcing the country to face the reality of entrenched inequality and power and address what should be done about it.
Among the movement's protagonists, this has been the principal response to the question hurled by befuddled agnostics, if not antagonists: But what is the movement all about? Why -- comes the answer -- it is about enlightening America's Everyman about America's "entrenched inequality and power." One must then ask, however: Among the population that is acutely aware of the Occupy movement's message, what percentage wasn't already aware of America's entrenched inequality and power?
It is indeed a rhetorical question, which no honest movementeer would trouble him- or herself to treat otherwise, since the uncomfortable answer -- see R.Q. -- is so strikingly self-evident. Virtually everyone who has bothered to follow the protests has done so with a preexisting, corresponding knowledge of vast socioeconomic inequality and brute, systemic power. The degree to which this knowledge is intimate may vary, but broadly, it is a constant of current-events awareness.
Ah, the movementeer may protest, but we've honed and heightened that awareness. Really? The tea partiers who turned out in 2010 would have concurred essentially with vanden Heuvel's diagnosis, for partisan definitions -- what constitutes the entrenchment of the multitudes' inequality and elitist power -- are quite fluid. And the progressives whom vanden Heuval now rallies then demonstrated, in turn, their heightened awareness of the disaffecting powers-that-be by poignantly staying home.
Now, true enough, progressives and tea partiers may significantly alter their electoral behavior in 2012; but that isn't to note that their awareness will have been altered or heightened appreciably. Same armies, same battle, same situational awareness -- nonetheless a possibly different outcome, given the vicissitudes of political war.
Beware of "consciousness raising" pronouncements. They're very rarely authentic.