This post is going to get used to reply to anyone I feel doesn’t understand what Occupy Wall Street and its movement is about.
First things first, the media has decided for everyone that this is a left wing/liberal/progressive movement. Which is completely wrong. They have made this assumption because they feel it is easier to package it as a counter-movement to the Tea Party. Apples and Oranges, with all due respect to a certain Presidential pretender.
The Tea Party, which stands for “Taxed Enough Already”, from its very foundation was a right wing, non-inclusive, movement. Originally, it was an offshoot of the Ron Paul movement that clung harder to the idea that somehow, by not paying taxes, that everything would be better and corporations would be happy and ecstatic to fix roads and provide clean, affordable water and firefighting/police/defense services. Obviously for somehow less than we currently pay in taxes per year. Somehow.
It was co-opted by the media, namely Fox News, as soon as it appeared to have an acceptable number of adherents. Fox News’s people even would report on where the rallies would be and tell people who to call and who to get contacted with. This was sandwiched around various opinion shows that praised the Tea Party and called them “patriots”. Then, buses paid for by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s lobbying firm and PAC would show up and scoot them off to those events so the media could get great shots of how many people were angry about the Democratic Majority and the outrage of them attempting to reform our extremely expensive (to both the customers AND all taxpayers) and inefficient health insurance system.
The Occupy Movement, in contrast, is a movement that has had a very clear goal from the beginning…and even I missed the boat on this early on…it’s a protest of the simple fact that our government is more than happy to bail out an industry that basically ate itself from the inside by making risky bets on bad loans and dealing them for more than they were worth…leading to a bubble that eventually popped (and a LOT of criminals who were responsible for that bubble are sitting on that scammed money right now and not even afraid of repercussions because they’ll never happen). However, that same government can’t seem to agree on a way to help people get jobs. It won’t bail out those who lost their homes, it won’t bail out those who haven’t found jobs, it won’t even make it affordable for those people to get retrained. It just decided to stall…everything. And yes, a lot of this is the result of Republicans in Congress using the cop-out variant of the filibuster to stop anything in the Senate while attempting to pass legislation in the House that has no chance of passing (or even directly putting people into jobs…giving a rich guy a bunch of money isn’t necessarily going to convince him that he needs another maid).
The movement, in and of itself, is a protest of Wall Street corruption and how our government has apparently taken the side of the corrupt over the taxpayers that sustain it. It’s a movement that should be very palatable to both sides-Conservative AND Liberal. As opposed to the Tea Party, which was exclusive from the beginning (obviously they didn’t want anyone with the idea that maybe taxes were okay if they were used to do good things) and thus, excluded Liberals from their movement. So, we get a real movement in this country, and obviously, the majority of the people showing up are going to be Liberal because they have no where else to turn. The Tea Party doesn’t want them. The Republicans don’t want them. The Democrats aren’t seriously fighting for them. The Greens are a joke, a party for liberal, upwardly mobile urban hipsters that want to be a part of a party that helps them clean their conscience but in the end, they vote Democrat anyway to avoid making their vote meaningless. These people who don’t have any way to get their voices heard are doing the only thing they can afford to do…they’re showing up in parks and staying there and trying to get people to hear them…instead of going somewhere and dying like a lot of the rest of us seem to feel like they should do.
I respect that they’re trying to fight for something, even if it leads to nothing. But it hasn’t. It’s already shifted the focus in our government towards jobs, instead of worrying about the debt ceiling and deficit spending and austerity measures. If you put people in jobs, they have more money to spend. If they have more money, they generate more demand because they will spend it a whole lot faster than a billionaire. When you generate more demand, the economy flows faster. This is simple macroeconomics. It’s simple common sense.
This movement is NOT a purely liberal movement. There are disillusioned ex-Tea Party Ron Paul supporters who were there BEFORE Sarah Palin, and had their movement co-opted by rich Republicans that were using it purely as a political tool to regain power in the 2010 election. They’re out there too because they know this isn’t about each of those various liberal people’s ideas, it’s about fighting corruption in Wall Street and Government. Everyone has their own personal issues that they believe in, and that’s what the media is focusing in on. You’re going to have Pro-Choice people and you’re going to have people who think environmental issues are important. But they’re all there for one, crystal clear and singular reason, to protest corruption on Wall Street and its corruption of our government.
Yeah, the drums are annoying. I agree. Kids who bring those drums out are dumb kids who are trying to get attention for themselves. They think they’re the “beat of the movement” and they think that it attracts attention. But their main motivating factor is that they want to play drums in public so people look at them. It’s a purely selfish move and it’s stupid.
Yeah, it’s annoying that the movement is costing the taxpayers a lot of money in regards to police protection. However, the city makes that decision to put police everywhere, not the movement itself. The movement has people who enforce rules and they HAVE a set of rules. If people don’t follow them, they get pushed out. I’ve seen this first hand as I walk by the Occupy Portland event quite frequently, considering I WORK for one of those big banks and I WORK right next to it. (And yeah, I know plenty of other people who work for the bank that have been down there joining into the protests. When you know firsthand what some people have done to everyone else, it’s enough to really piss you off. I don’t do the whole mortgage thing and I don’t work on software that is involved in screwing people over. I just add new features for customers, and help keep the bank up to Federal Regulations, and that’s about it.)
I’ve seen people get told to get the hell out who were smoking pot. I watched them walk a few blocks down and toke up in a different park. And I told them to their faces they were fucking idiots because I could smell their smoke all the way to the street and there were cops all over the damn place. I’ve seen the Occupiers yell at people who tried to go into the camp and take pictures of people sleeping in tents. Do YOU, when you’re camping, enjoy having strangers take pictures of you sleeping? I didn’t think so.
But they’ve never been violent. I’ve gotten a lot of smiles, and I’ve told them I support what they’re doing. And if you’re reading this, I want you to do something. If you’re a guy, look down your pants. Just indulge me here, okay? If you see two things dangling under your cock, then pull your goddamn pants back up, and send me an email. Buy a box of donuts. Meet up with me downtown at the Starbucks on third and Jefferson. There’s a parking garage across the street and you can get the coffee place to validate your fare for one hour. I’ll take you over to the encampment, and I’ll introduce you to some people. They’ll be happy to see you and glad that you’re on their side. They say they represent the 99% because they feel like they do. Those who are corrupt, who ran away with all that money that was built up by the bubble, those who bought all those inflated derivatives and then got themselves bailed out, they’re making record profits right now. They’re in the 1% and they’re doing better than they’ve ever done before. The rest of us? Our salaries have gone flat, and that’s only if you still have a job. Those people out there are fighting for you. Many of them have full time jobs and are giving of their vacation days to represent you and try and make that singular message heard. Many of them are just ordinary people, just like you, who are fed up with a government that will bend over backwards to help the obscenely rich, but won’t do anything to help those who are struggling to get by. If our wage growth is going flat while the value of the dollar is going down, we’re making less and less every year. They’re starving us much more slowly. Some who don’t have jobs are being starved quickly.
Only a coward won’t fight against his own inevitable death. They’re trying to fight against that, and if you can’t see it and you won’t see it, you are either a coward or an idiot.