Okay, I am back. I know I said one day and it was four but you should know by now that I sometimes have time warp issues...
Anyway...on to the Occupy movement or OWS as it's being called now. Even though Occupy Wall Street has branched out in to many cities and even other countries so I don't think the Wall Street part of the name really holds much sway anymore. And that brings us to my take on the whole OWS situation.
I believe that what you say about the movement says so much more about you than the movement itself. Especially at the beginning when it was first starting to take shape I saw a lot of posts about it and what people thought. It was really interesting. I have a varied friend base politically. I have friends on the far right and far left and every where in between. And the posts have been pretty reflective of their politics. The far far left see it as a referendum on oppression and corruption and police brutality and sliding into a system where the sheeple all fall in line waiting to be slaughtered. The far right see it as a referendum on a younger generation who aren't willing to work for what they want and hate capitalism and think rules don't apply to them and the sheeple all want everything handed to them on a silver platter and besides that they smell bad. The responses from the middle seem to fall along the....well this is interesting, lets see how it goes peppered with a healthy dose of permits would be nice, don't block the roads and from me at least...a posting on how much I hate the word sheeple. Seriously, is there a more condescending choice of terms to make? The implication that those that disagree with you only do so because they are incapable of thinking for themselves is so insulting.
And why is it that we are all painting our own take on the OWS movements? Well I think it's because they don't really know exactly what it is they are protesting. Or maybe they are protesting so many things that it's easy to put whatever face you want on it. If they would pick one message and get behind that I think it would be easier for everyone to understand. But since it's such a varied group of people protesting you aren't seeing that. Some people are there because of the economy, the 99% crowd, some are there because they want an end to the wars, some are there because they want the drug policies addressed, some are there because they love a good protest, and some are there because it's a place to cause trouble and have a crowd to hide in to get away with it.
For the 99% crowd, I am there with you. Not there, camping out, because I don't camp for fun let alone for protest. But I understand the feeling that the system is rigged and people are struggling to succeed in a place that makes it extremely difficult to happen. But you aren't making your voice clearly heard as to why you are so upset. Screw Wall Street might be fun to chant but it doesn't really get the message out. This article was really well done, charts and graphs and everything. It really solidifies that vague feeling of something isn't right with THIS is what isn't right!
For me when the President announced that the reason no one has gone to jail for the entire housing, investing, Wall Street tank our economy mess that we all lived with, dealt with, bailed banks out for, yet still saw no real fix for the majority of the country is because nothing that happened was illegal I was appalled. When I first heard Elizabeth Warren explain what happened and how it happened all I could think was this is fraud. And if it was fraud and it wasn't illegal what in the hell is wrong? And do we really need LESS regulation then if this was okay? I just don't get that. So there is a part of me that says, yeah, 99% I am there with you! There are different rules for some of us than there are for others.
But then on the other hand you get the idiots. When OWS came to Portland they were interviewing someone on the local news about it and how they weren't getting permits or letting the police and city officials know where there were going because you shouldn't make your oppressors comfortable. I said it at the time and I will say it again, you aren't oppressed. Not in any sort of drastic way. Yes, I am there that there is something wrong with our balance in this country, but the fact that you are able to protest without a permit without being hauled straight off to jail says more about what is right than what is wrong. We had 8 arrests the other morning because after two days of protesters blocking a road downtown the mayor finally had enough and opened it again. Two days. I'm sorry but you aren't oppressed. You are unhappy, there is a difference.
Maybe it's because of where I live and we have a lot of practice protesting here that things haven't been as violent as other reports. Maybe it's because our media is focusing more on the bigger picture where national media only hits the highlights and violent uprising is more exciting of a news clip than showing a group getting together and voting on where they march next. I am not sure, but it seems like our OWS group is a little more well behaved. Which gives me a lot of hope for this country. A police car was vandalized downtown with permanent marker and the Portland OWS talked it out and paid for the damage. When the Portland Marathon hit town two weekends ago the staging area (that they had reserved legally and with all proper permits) was where the Occupy people were. It looked a little tense at first with a lot of speculation...but the OWS group cleared the majority of the protesters out of the area for the day and didn't return until after the marathon was over. Those that stayed were in an area away from the activity and volunteered to help out with the event. That to me says more about what we can get done in this country when adults get together and have a rational discussion than anything I have seen out of Washington lately.
And maybe that's the take I want to put on the OWS movement. I am not in favor of screwing with people who are trying to get to and from their jobs or houses or just move around where they need to be so stay out of the roads please and thank you. I am not in favor of screaming random slogans without any sort of real idea as to what next, what do you want to do to fix it? I am not in favor of people dismissing the OWS group who embraced the Tea Party movement just because OWS camp out and Tea Party shouted down and then went home. But I am all in favor of people being able to say you know what isn't right? This...and then pointing it out so we get a chance to say yes or no. I agree with that or I don't. I am completely in favor of a variety of people getting together and talking things out and making decisions that are fair and reasonable even if you do smell a little from camping out for two weeks.
So do you agree with me that what you see when you look at OWS means more about who you are than who they are? Or are you part of the sheeple that can only form an opinion if it's spoon fed to you by your political party/news cast/guru/favorite blogger? Yeah...nope...it's even a disgusting term if I use it...