Friday, November 11, 2011

Finally On The Right Street

I was in Chicago one week ago, taking a fun day trip with my 3-year-old son Ethan, doing 'ooh ahh' touristy stuff.

It was a concise little route to begin the day, arriving at Chicago Union Station via Amtrak. We walked across the south branch of the Chicago River on Jackson Street to the Willis Tower. After looking out over the city in those glass balconies, we had Chicago style pizza at Giordano's, which is just a block east on Jackson, across Franklin. After lunch, we walked towards the Lake along Jackson Street as I looked for a cab to hail. Before I could find one looking for a fare, we arrived at the intersection of LaSalle & Jackson. One the northeast corner, I saw the Occupy Wall Street protesters- outside the Bank of America building.
The thing that immediately struck me was that nobody was protesting on the northwest corner of LaSalle & Jackson. This is the location of the Federal Reserve of Chicago.What struck me next was that there were protesters carrying anti-war signs. They were protesting Bank of America, for funding wars.

Looking at the protester-free Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Protesters at the Bank of America, to the right, and this well-intentioned man, on the wrong side of the street.

I didn't want to have a political day. I was there with my 3-year-old, who is fascinated with trains, tall buildings, pizza, and fish. I wanted to get him to the Shedd Aquarium, post haste, and not get involved in protracted political discussions. That would have bored the crap out of him.

But damn! At least OWS is on one of the right streets now. They're just on the wrong side of the street. Is it possible, really, that people who one might suspect are politically aware, could be so ignorant to not know that it is the Federal Reserve, with its printing of money out of thin air, that funds these wars? That, if we were on a gold standard, and not able to deem ourselves able to spend massive gobs of money on war machinery, we simply couldn't do it?

The Fed! That is where you should be protesting! If I accept that the protesters are politically aware, my only possible conclusion is willful ignorance- that blind adherence to anti-corporate rhetoric comes long before striking at one of the roots of the problem. I'm not fan of corporatism, but corporatism is enabled by fiat currency and politicians who don't mind to direct the printers to whip up more cash, and who want to thump their chests as the World's Cop.

So yeah- protest at the White House and at Capital Hill, too. OWS is still largely at the wrong street. Protest at the Fed. This is all the more pertinent on this Veterans Day.

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