Wonder why they are protesting in Hong Kong? If you listen to the US media you may or may not get the full story, or any of the story for that matter. See, protests about freedom and free elections are potentially dangerous to the status quo in this country. The media is the arbiter of the status quo. The media here is framing it as students, but like Occupy and the environmental movement, every generation is represented.
The protest is over their right in Hong Kong to choose their own candidates, rather than have some oligarchical politburo narrow the choices while guaranteeing the “right” person remains in charge. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens have rejected that manipulation and perversion of democracy and demand the basic and fundamental right to decide whom represents them best. Think the United States is somehow better? Guess again.
The truth is, the democratic-communist hybrid system in China, for all its corruption and old guard hegemony, is absolutely more transparent and honest than ours. We talk democracy but hardly practice it at all. When was the last time you had a real hand in choosing a presidential, or even a congressional candidate? the media, corporations and government apparatchiks maintain a well-crafted illusion of a democratic process. Talk radio makes you feel like your voice is valuable. The only nominal wild card in the party A or party B, manufactured, marketed and paid for candidates is which of the two banal cookie cutter figureheads will prevail the day after the election. But as we have seen with media attempts to brazenly manipulate turn out, and with republican efforts to disenfranchise millions of American voters, there are evolving efforts to help eliminate even that variable.
But choice, real choice? That has been stolen from you to such an extent that most Americans simply play the two party game without even realizing an alternative. This country must move to a multi-party system or risk sliding into something our founding fathers feared openly. They eschewed national political parties, and feared a two party system would pervert and subvert the constitution, and with that our basic rights and freedoms. But alternative third, fourth, fifth…parties are routinely marginalized, ignored, barred from debates, refused coverage by the media and kept off ballots. If you think we’ve seen too many Bush’ or Clintons already, if you are a free market person then you must admit the lack of competition is stagnating and corrupting the current system.
You wouldn’t tolerate only being able to choose Coke or Pepsi at the market, especially if you knew there were hundreds of other choices out there, but the store refused to let them in the door, and went to far as preventing all other stores from selling them. Why tolerate that purposeful narrowing of choice in something as eternal, historic and life and death as an election? That’s what Occupy was clambering for and that’s why they are in the streets facing a Chinese army and government with a bloody history of reprisals against those who challenge the status quo.
Next time you cheer the authorities here for beating and pepper-spraying protesters, think of China. Those aren’t mindless communist robot soldiers, they are usually kids taken from the poorest regions in the country and thrown into a position in which they have to choose between assailing fellow citizens or losing the only paying job keeping their family alive back home. The US system has done that with police, placing them in the unfair and untenable position of being the blunt force weapon of the oligarchs. We should take a cue from the protesters in Hong Kong who are focused fully on the long term of being an agent in their own futures and fates, rather than simply being the production pool for corporations, and the reactionary tool for government.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com