Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why I Am Not A Part of Occupy Anything

When I first heard about Occupy Wall Street, I thought it was pretty cool.  It was encouraging  public awareness of a great discrepency.  The numbers weren't totally right, but 5 percent of all Americans own about 2/3 of all the wealth in the U.S., so the principle was correct.  "I am the 99%" is a catchy slogan.  And it talked about real people's real lacks and how the system ultimately wasn't working.   I am for all that.  Creating awareness is great.

But as it went on, I became more uncomfortable with the movement.  It wasn't the internationallity of it.  That was fine.  It wasn't the protest nature of it-- I personally don't like participating in such protests, but I don't have problems of others protesting.  And massive protests can do some good.

Ultimately, my discomfort was the fact that it was just a huge blame game.  The purpose seemed to say that the 1 percent (which is really five percent) are bad people and "something should be done".  That "something" seemed to be blocking city streets and generally making a nuisance of oneself.   Again, I don't have a problem with protests or inconveniencing a few in order to benefit many more.  But the movement seemed to emphasize the negative, while not really unifying behind a positive action.

In the end, the protesters were excellent at attacking.  Of course, there's a lot of people we could blame.  The banks, corporations in general,  CEOs in particular, the government-- whichever branch you like, consumerism society, political parties, and on and on.  Lets face it, our society is broken.  The Occupy folks, just like the Tea Partiers before them, makes that clear.

But at least the Tea Partiers had a positive message-- "let's vote in the right people with the right values" seemed to be their main message.  That had a positive impact.  Perhaps many people don't like who was voted in, and perhaps the values didn't always make practical sense, but the movement did have an impact, an action.

The Occupy folks just seemed like a lot of whiners, really.  It seemed to boil down to rich people are bad and the government is bad for supporting the rich people and the cities are bad for trying to stop the Occupy people from possession public parks and streets.  In the end, everyone is bad.  It's all bad.

But if you want to make change, you don't tell people how bad they are, even if they are bad.  Instead, you show how they could do something more positive than they currently are.  I would have joined the protests if they would have recommended to the 1% (who is the 5%) that they create more jobs.  With health insurance. For the people who really need jobs now.  These guys have the wealth to create jobs, they just aren't working on it.  Why aren't they?  But more than that, why aren't the protesters speaking something positive into the arena?

I am not opposed to the Occupy folks.  In my heart of hearts, I agree with them.  But I hope that this movement can actively do something positive with their energy.  They lived on the street-- can they help the people who are stuck there permanently?  They caught the world's attention-- can they use that media outlet to bring positive change?  I hope and pray that they will.

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