While we've seen plenty of headlines, and many hours of television coverage of the "Occupy" movement since it began with a march on Wall Street in New York City on September 17, its goals are as nebulous as its leadership.
Claiming to represent the "99 percent," those protesting have yet to provide a platform, demands, or solutions. They take aim at the 1 percent of those very wealthy among us, and the banking sector in particular, who are, they say, enjoying economic gains on the backs of the rest of us. The group generally says the richest Americans are sucking all the money and energy out of the economy.
And the protesters aren't happy about it.
OK, I think a month of marches, sitting in parks, waving signs, and telling personal stories of how the economy has harmed them guarantees the country knows they are unhappy.
Now, it's time to put up or shut up.
I think I'm a compassionate person. And, by their definition, I'm one of the 99 percent. But frankly, I'm losing patience with the movement.
While the protesters like to compare themselves to, and claim they gained inspiration from, the "Arab Spring' uprisings across the Middle East, they lack the organization or desire to do much beyond sit in parks (and occasionally march) and complain.
The movement is, at the moment, and by design, leaderless. One spokesman, Kalle Lasn, of Adbusters Media Foundation, a Canadian-based group that publishes a magazine by the same name, says the lack of a figurehead is an important component of the movement.
"Not every one needs to have a leader with clear demands. That's the old way of launching revolutions. This revolution is run by the Internet generation, with egalitarian ways of looking at things, and an inclusive process of getting everyone involved. That's the magic of it."
OK, so you have "everyone" involved. Now what?
The group has started a conversation. Unfortunately for them, it's not always a conversation they would like to hear. Many question the motivation of some in the group to help themselves. Upon hearing one unemployed young person complain that he has "thousands of dollars of college loans to pay back, and I can't find a job in my field," I thought to myself, "Then find a job in another field."
And who made them take out the student loans anyway? And who guaranteed a job doing exactly what you wanted?
I understand that unemployment rates are high. I understand the rising costs of education are scary. But I don't have time or patience for those who wait for someone else to fix all their problems. I'm not a big fan of whiners.
Which is why this movement, at its current ideological impasse, has me frustrated.
Without a plan of action, platform, or coherent message for political leaders, the movement may founder. They need to move beyond venting frustration to forming policy. They've gotten attention. Now they need to do something, or lose momentum and relevance.
Taking the importance of big money out of politics? I can get on board with that.
Stop rewarding big corporate honchos despite poor returns? Yep, I can support that too.
Have politicians start a civil conversation on the challenges facing our country, instead of fighting tooth and nail to gain and hold power? Yes, that's a good idea.
I think we can all agree that we're frustrated with the current toxic political climate, its gridlock and name-calling. We're equally frustrated with the start-and-stop, "will we double-dip or won't we?" economy. We'd all like to earn more, get more for our savings.
However, many of us are just way too busy actually dealing with the problem on a micro-level. We're working, saving when we can, going out every day to give it another good go, so we don't have time to make signs, or sit in parks.