Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Death at Lunch

Posted on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 1:55 PM

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With zombie hysteria at an all time high – scratch that; real unemployment numbers dipping perilously into the double-digits – you might expect that your standard downtown vegan-wrap stroll would be interrupted by rigor mortis on the sidewalks, some Thom Yorke-ian dystopia of ragged bodies rendered prostrate to the heated pull of the apathy of concrete. Well, this afternoon it really happened! As part of its "Declaration of a Jobs Emergency," Central Florida Jobs with Justice pulled the old death-in trick right outside the fountain-fronted downtown offices of U.S. Senator Pepe le Pew (er, George LeMieux, R-Orlando). The results, well, there probably won't be any. But the spectacle was as effective as it was disturbing.

"That's why we took to dying," said Yesenia Garcia of the Student Labor Action Project, which is affiliated with Jobs with Justice. "Because it's an emergency."

The rather morbid action was in response to LeMieux's recent statements revealing that he would in no way support any policies that would further increase the federal deficit, though he did just break ranks with his party on the small business tax-cut vote yesterday (because small businesses aren't people, and who cares about people?). LeMieux notoriously came out against the unemployment extension this summer. Jobs with Justice contends that all of this deficit talk is a sham, naturally, and that the real deficit is in real Americans not being able to find real jobs: 15 million unemployed, one job for every five applicants, cuts to public service that threaten even more jobs and the general downward spiral that occupies all of our minds in this time of horrific uncertainty. The tourniquet the group is suggesting involves a new tax on financial speculation (read: Wall Street) that could generate $200-$500 billion annually. It's a controversial view in the political shark-tank of the now, but it's not as far off philosophically as some might have it. The assembled coalition of mostly college-aged activists think it's time that our legislators know that in the long run what they're doing – basically playing politics with the big word, "deficit" – will only increase the nation's debt.

"It's going to fail, because the foundations [meaning the working class] are going to crumble," said Garcia.

Garcia – and some of the other zombies we managed communication with – were well aware of how these symbolic actions go, but cited the desperation of the moment as cause enough to basically die on the spot. Most of the 20-or-so assembled had their eyes closed while playing dead, so they didn't get much of a sense of its impact as a spectacle; one, however, was able to squint enough to see a Lynx bus stop to take in the carnage, a television news camera surveying his carcass and several passers-by reading his fact-filled tombstone (see above). When they all miraculously came back to life and bullhorn-marched up to the senator's lobby, they were met by a man in a suit who disappeared, came back, and told them that LeMieux's office would agree to greet just three of them... and NO MEDIA. What are we, dead?

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