Monday, February 20, 2012

Football Season is Over...

"All things are possible for those who believe - we always believed."
Coach Tom Coughlin

“Super Sunday, dawn!” A few hours before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVI, I paced and pranced around our apartment in a state of giddy disbelief that "my" New York Giants had actually made it into the big game. Of course, I'd never doubted Tom Coughlin’s disciplined coaching, Eli Manning’s skills, nor the efforts of talented running backs Hakeem Nicks and (this season’s savior) Victor Cruz. But, it did once seem (at least, way back in November, after that nasty four game losing streak) that the Giants wouldn’t even make it into the post-season. But something changed, New York began fighting and playing like never before and, now, stood to win another Super Bowl title.

While I awaited the big game, there was little to do, but sip on cool drinks and mentally prepare for a New England clam chowder feast at Sung’s in Brooklyn. To appease my anxious pre-game anticipation, I drank cranberry and vodka with Ena, Denise, and Nadir. During such joyful moments, the Campaign Trail of 2012 was thankfully, far from my mind.

* * *

I suppose on Super Sunday, Feb. 5th, the Republican Primary was, as it had been this entire primary season, completely out-of-touch with America and continued to be unable to express any clear direction on where the country should go. And who would be the GOP’s presidential candidate? Mitt Romney, estimated to have earned more money in his lifetime than the past 8 presidents combined and "makes" about $57k a day, can certainly buy a lot, but seems unable to purchase Republican votes.

As last month ended, the stable ground that Mitt Romney once stood on - shifted. First, on January 19th, when the Iowa Republican Party Chairman declared Rick Santorum the actual winner of the state's primary; subsequently, altering what was previously thought to be a Romney win. A few days later, Gingrich (with the help of casino owner, Sheldon Adelson) won the South Carolina primary. Newt’s South Carolina victory rant ultimately characterized the fear and loathing agenda used by the feeble minded haters to whip-up a reliably racist conservative base. I would like to think the Republicans cannot win with a Culture War or on the stability of their “beliefs", but sadly, America is a stupid, stupid place. To drive the last nail into the stigmata Gingrich decried a “growing anti-religious bigotry of our elites.”

Admittedly, Mitt Romney was able to win (after buying...) Florida, but still not definitively enough to clinch the nomination. Corporate candidate Romney cannot seem to shake his base-bating loudmouthed family value “conservative” colleagues - Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Even Libertarian Ron Raul earned a close second place in Maine (even declared first place in Washington County). At this point, it seems very likely that the Republicans will roll into their convention in Tampa Bay with an undecided nomination.

Good. Nothing could be more boring than seeing Romney easily coast into the convention season with an easy victory. I'm personally rooting for Newt. If his victory speech in South Carolina was any indication of what’s to come, I want to see how inflated and insane Newt’s ego can get. Imagine Newt declaring victory in Florida? The debates between Obama and Newt would be great fodder for the late night comedians . But alas, these are the strange, sick, and sad fantasies of a hollow soul. At this point, we're left, as we seem to have always been, with nothing but speculation and little need to care about who gains the nomination. Big surprise.

* * *

On Tuesday, February 7th, as primary voters in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado went to the polls to ultimately pick Rick Santorum as their “non-binding” (still unclear on how this works exactly...) choice for candidate, I would wake up early. But politics was far from my mind.

Instead of reading, then listening to the news on my way to work, I decided to play hooky and go to the New York Giants Super Bowl victory parade. I took the train to Wall Street, sipped coffee and held my piss while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a million other shouting and howling Giants fans. As the streamers and confetti tumbled down the side of gray buildings, bagpipes blew, marching bands marched, and for, at least a moment, it felt good to celebrate a win - "Let's GO GIANTS!" The roar of the crowd reverberated down this “canyon of heroes” as Eli Manning held the Lombardi Trophy high above his head for all to see.

What a better conclusion to this football season? Yes, it was euphoric and epic for any Giants fans, but now, “football season is over...” and it is time to get to work.

While the Giants accepted the “key to the city” at City Hall Park, I sat in a bar with Denise and Calix (who was also skipping school for the day) drinking a Bloody Mary. I then used the bathroom and waited while the large crowd dispersed. Eventually, I made my way back to Wall Street and Broadway passing the clusters of t-shirt sellers. The ground was littered with confetti. There hadn't been a real winter in New York this season, but fans seemed content to roll in confetti and toss it around like snow. Ahead, I heard the beeping and rumbling of sanitation trucks. Workers in masks used leaf blowers to push debris up into the air along the streets that were already busy with a fleet of beeping and grumbling machines hauling away the parade's waste.

I shielded my face from the debris being kicked-up by the trucks as I walked toward Liberty Place to meet my brother, who was sitting on a firetruck patiently awaiting the conclusion of this entire logistical operation. We were standing besides, what had been - less than six months ago- the epicenter and origin of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. But today, only a few activists were there banging on drums, while another danced. The occupation had been replaced by Big Blue's victory day parade.

Certainly, OWS had not gone away for good; but, there was something bitter and grim about these NFL fans now chanting "Let's go Giants" in the same place we also chanted, "We are the 99%!" Some will say OWS is not as strong nor coalescent as it once was - I disagree. Certainly OWS has moved off of the streets, but they have succeeded in changing the narrative of the overall political discussion (one could use Obama's recent State of the Union Address as an example). But what will be the real comeback for OWS? Once winter is over, will the beast awake from hibernation?

After the NYPD forcefully removed the occupiers from Zuccotti Park in the early hours of November 15th, 2011, the Occupy Wall Street Media Team issued an official response, "You can't evict an idea whose time has come."

As Obama includes some, arguably, OWS talking points into his State of the Union and Chris Hedges writes about his concern of a radical "Black Bloc" element infiltrating the 99%. There is no doubt, OWS remains relevant. At first, I agreed with Hedges's concerns, there's no reason for this group to isolate. Then my colleague Mark Grueter reminded me the "Block Bloc" is not a group, but a technique. Thus, the current struggle of OWS is about technique and the way the message is, isn't getting out. OWS may survive the winter, but with the Spring approaching, OWS must plan its next steps. Is OWS more concerned with reform or radicalism?

Halfway through this past football season, the Giants looked like they would have no chance at getting into the post-season. They came back to win the Super Bowl. I want OWS to also have a big comeback. I believe they can win. Let's begin fighting and playing like we never have before. I believe OWS can creatively and effectively bring together these forces of reform and radicalism to really change America and the world. Unfortunately, there is also another team playing this game too and they are the Republicratic Party, so make no mistake, another "under dog" could also have a big comeback.

We are a long way from November.