Running out of patience with 'Occupy' protests

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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.

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  • I've been out of patience with them since the beginning. They're focusing all of their seemingly random hatred and energy at a giant red herring. It's aggravating to hear people who complain about their position in life because their absurd masters degree in leisure studies cost them tens of thousands of dollars, yet no company will pay them good salaries for that "knowledge." This is what government guaranteed loans in education does: creates a higher Ed bubble and studies and efforts are misallocated, and when it finally bursts you realize you wasted $75,000 on a degree that's totally worthless. It's the exact same thing that happened in the housing market.

    Americans are ticked and they will continue to multiply on the streets until we have a change of government, and I don't just mean some new clone president. You can count on the government and police to overreact. They always do and it always makes the change far more violent. The police will start shooting protestors with no reason, as they have already started using pepper spray on non violent young people already in police custody. Protestors will go home, pick up some of the 194 million guns in the United States and come back and start shooting cops.

    This is all very predictable and the outcome is all but guaranteed. $195 trillion dollars worth of debt exists in the world and only $150 trillion dollars worth of assets exist. We have to write down the debt and start over with an honest financial system. You cannot have honesty in government without honesty in money. Once the protestors actually figure that out and start demanding real changes, not just unearned handouts, things will actually start to change.

    -- Posted by jlees on Tue, Oct 18, 2011, at 12:41 AM
  • The protesters protest for YOU. They know you don't understand. There is something happening here. Maybe you could try to see it...

    -- Posted by Cookster on Tue, Oct 18, 2011, at 10:26 AM
  • Give me a freaking break!!! You think this mob is filled with thoughtful, committed citizens? They aren't protesting for you or me, they are a bunch of whiners that are bored and spend too much time online and found out there was a party in a park they could go to since they aren't working anyway. If they were thoughful, committed citizens, they would behave that way and come to the podium and give a list of complaints and how they would fix them, not inhabit a private park, deficating and destroying someone else's property and costing the local gov't even more money that they complain is being wasted by everyone but themselves. Guess what, if they spent half the energy they have already, trying to find a job where ever they have to doing whatever they have to, they would be a lot further along. Keep in mind, these are the same people that cheer when and actress calls the Pope a nazi and perfom mock hangings of people they don't like. Forgive me, but not the folks that I want to be representing me!!!

    -- Posted by BitOfCommonSense on Tue, Oct 18, 2011, at 2:03 PM
  • Wow, lots of assumptions and generalizations going on here. Too many to debunk with the facts.

    "Occupy" is not a corporate funded group like the Tea Party. They (we) are not happy with too many things to list. Everyone has their own reason for protesting. The minute they are all pigeon holed into one box, directed by a self appointed leader and corporate funded then it loses all purpose and becomes another political football for the powers that be. That's what happened with the Tea Party.

    This is real. It's spreading world wide. It may take years but this is how cultures are changed.

    -- Posted by helped_myself on Wed, Oct 19, 2011, at 3:45 PM
  • Right on brothers and sisters!!!!!!!!!!

    -- Posted by Cookster on Wed, Oct 19, 2011, at 4:38 PM
  • I thought they were complaining because the officials they elected to take care of problems in the government aren't doing their job. I think our government is a lost cause anyway. No I don't have the answers but I know what we have going isn't working.

    -- Posted by joev on Thu, Oct 20, 2011, at 1:30 PM
  • They're protesting MANY things. Govt may be one, but they also want big business and those with the most to be more responsible to society and more patriotic by showing loyalty to America. They're also protesting or showing support for other unrelated topics. There's no excuse for not knowing what this is about after almost a month and worldwide events.

    OWS may encompass some of the Tea Party complaints, but is much broader.

    Don't try to pigeon hole them or sit around waiting for some politician, media outlet or corporate spokesperson to tell you what to think this is about. Do your own research.

    -- Posted by helped_myself on Sat, Oct 22, 2011, at 10:29 AM
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