Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

If you're like me you probably have not given a whole lot of thought to this whole Occupy movement.  I have known from the beginning of this movement that the 99% were protesting the 1%, the numbers referred to your economic standing, and that the movement was spreading across the country and the world.  But exactly what they were trying to accomplish somehow escaped my cursory review of the news surrounding them.

Because I am not a protester (it's just not in my nature) and most of the news seemed to focus on confrontation and problems occurring around the occupied sites, I found myself not being overly sympathetic to what they were doing.  And if I thought about them at all, it was mostly along the lines of "Don't we have enough problems without your protests adding to them?"

Now I have no problems with someone working hard, making a lot of money and experiencing a life style that is more luxurious than mine.  It is not something I crave, but I don't begrudge it to others.  But I do take exception to making and maintaining that standard of living at the expense of others.  And so, at heart, I guess I really am in sympathy to at least some of the goals of the Occupy movement which seem to center around jobs, bank reform and the reduction of corporate influence in politics.

Protesting has been used throughout the life of our nation to effect change, starting with the Boston Tea Party and including Woman's Suffrage and the Civil Rights movement of my youth.  And recently, in the wider world, we have seen the results of relatively peaceful protests upend the governments of Egypt and Tunisia and lead to the civil war that overturned Gaddafi in Libya.  It seems that at times the only way to effect change is for the common  folk to raise their voices loud enough to be heard.

So, all in all, I guess I have become at least sympathetic to the Occupy movement, so long as the movement remains peaceful and does not over-strain the limited resources of the occupied cities.  It is their right as American citizens to make their voices heard, seeking to bring about change.  Who knows, something good may come of it.

But one thing I would like from them.  It is one thing to say they want jobs, bank reform and reduction of corporate influence in D.C.  I suspect most politicians running for office this coming term are going to express those same 'goals'.   I think it would be more effective for them to more clearly describe how they feel their goals might be met and maybe even work to elect those with a similar vision.  Otherwise they come across more as just complainers, a nuisance to others living and working around them, than folks who have a positive vision for change.

UPDATE 11/17/11
I have just read an article that indicates the general assembly of OWS is struggling to reach a consensus on their demands.  The concern among some is that once they have specified their demands that it will narrow the appeal of the movement and attract fewer groups to the movement.  I must say that I find this disturbing. If they are intentionally trying to keep their complaint vague and focused on expressing discontent rather than  dealing with specific issues then I don't know what hope they have for success.  Unless success is defined as making the problems worse, causing even greater division within the country.

1 comment:

  1. I actually have given a lot of thought to the occupy Wall Street movement and in a very large way it thrills me. I agree they need to be clearer on what they want - but for the first time in decades I see people actually getting involved. The premise of this country is based on people being involved in the government. For so long the people of this country have been incredibly apathetic, and just blindly following whomever would lead. If we want this country to work we need to be involved.

    I am happy to find out we have people who actually are willing to fight for this country - not as in the military - but as a citizen trying to make this country better and stronger.

    To some, protesters always come off as complainers - and at times deservedly so. But it is the people who stand up for what they believe that make things happen, and I believe this is a good thing.

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