I'm wondering what would happen if all of us fifty-somethings who are unemployed (or underemployed) were to march on Washington. "Three Days of Peace, Love and Free Prostate Exams"? Perhaps. I can see the Fox News graphic now - "Malcontents March!" Rush Limbaugh would be calling all the middle-aged, ample-bellied participants "communists" though I hope Bill O'Reilly would look at our group with its receding hairlines and think "there but a multimillion dollar contract go I." Rachel Maddow would be on our side but she'd envy our suits and haircuts.
The sheer number of middle-aged unemployed people means we'd break the Guinness world record for "Most Porta-Potties Assembled for One Event" and it would be pretty cool to be part of a world record.
It would be a logistical nightmare. The biggest thing I've ever planned was the Exorcism of Fenway Park in 1992 with Father Guido Sarducci (see us in the HBO documentary "The Curse of the Bambino"). It eventually worked, but it took 12 years. Today's unemployed don't have that much time.
These times being what they are I could actually see someone trying to line up corporate sponsorship of the event. I don't think "A.I.G. Presents the Unemployed March on Washington" would fly but no doubt some company would see the opportunity to reach so many boomers. Most likely Big Pharma would step in with "The Viagra Working Stiffs March on Washington" or something. I hope it's not Cialis. I don't understand their advertising. Who would set up a heavy bathtub when they're right next to a lake? I understand erections cause us to do strange things, but really...
But I digress. Humor aside, it's time something happened to shake up Washington. As Frank Rich points out in today's New York Times most middle-class people think they "got punk'd" by Obama. The banks are back to paying bonuses and holding onto all the money we've been denied for years. Not much has changed in the world for the rest of us.
Jeff Hill, a independent publicist friend of mine had a good point not too long ago. He said companies "cut out from the middle." The executives hung onto their jobs and laid off everyone who actually knew how to do the work. They kept the new, lower paid employees effectively telling them, "Here are your new responsibilities. Your pay is the same. Complain and you'll end up like the old people who trained you - laid off." I can't blame the kids. They're trying to make a living too. But try to get good service these days...that is, if you can afford to buy anything in the first place.
But wouldn't it be fun to see the look on the politicians faces when we all show up? Especially since there's election coming for many of them in November 2010. Al Franken, who has cracked only one joke since he came to Washington (not as many writers as he had in his SNL days that's for sure) would be hard-pressed to say something pithy.
And who would speak at the march? Jay Leno has already entertained the unemployed in several cities and since he has a new show to promote would probably be an easy get. Bill Maher and his crack team of writers would probably offer to fly in on a private jet or something but it would be better to get someone who isn't a wealthy celebrity. Maybe the Autoworkers have a men's chorus or something.
But something has to happen. Let me know if you want to plan it. Me, I'm good at coming up with slogans and stuff. And complaining.