As the detritus ofthe 99% occupations is swept into dumpsters, the movement appears to be sinking. No leadership or agenda emerged during the protests. Quite the contrary, the occupiers seemed to lose sightof their broader goals, and let the symbolism of seizing public parks become their actual and only consensual objective.
We also learned this week that the Tea Party's popularity has ebbed and that the sixty Congressmen who identify with it may have a hard time getting reelected. The public has as dim a view of the Republican party as they do of the Democrats in the wake of a shamefully stalemated and ineffectual first session of the 112th Congress.
Meanwhile, the wayward course of the Republican Presidential race continues to reveal that the Grand Old Party is adrift. Herman Cain's support in Florida plunged from thirty four per cent to just ten in less than a month. His pitch about being an outsider and a non-politician was catchy, but now the limelight is on Newt Gingrich, the consummate Beltway insider and backroom fixer. Newt's ascendancy has energized the campaign of Ron Paul who despises Gingrich and is eagerly attacking him.
This all has the feel of the end of a cruise, when newly bonded passengers and shipboard lovers make earnest pledges to stay in touch but then don't even bother to send each other copies of their snapshots. We're just along for the ride and when the ship stops, we disembark as fast as we can.
The fact is that no candidate or movement today is realistically addressing America's challenges, all of which are international in scope. That's why the campaigns and movements that break in and out of the news have an air of unreality to them. Passionate fools lay the blame for whatever they don't like at the feet of easy targets: rich people, liberals, Muslims, illegal aliens, gays, abortionists, pot growers, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, etc. Politicians try to shield the populace from all unpleasantness: taxation, war, and the changes demanded of us over time.
The minority in the middle stands ready to support a leader who will eschew blame and chart a course of responsibility and sacrifice. We've been waiting a long time for such a favorable tide.
Poster of the Oranje by Jean Walther, 1939. This beautiful Dutch ship did not need to be repainted when it was pressed into service as a floating hospital during World War II. After the war, it was renamed the Angelina Lauro and saw long service as a cruise ship until a galley fire destroyed it. Her sister ship, the Achille Lauro, was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists in 1985. Click on the picture for a closer look.