At first I didn’t “get” the Occupy Wall Street protest, or the related protests that have sprouted up around the country (including Occupy Chicago just down the street from where I live). Then it started to make sense, particularly in light of the GOP presidential debates and the candidates talking about flat taxes. The Congressional Republicans holding us hostage, and those wanting to invade the White House, are all about maintaining the disparity between rich and poor. As a liberal who thinks President Obama is too conservative and the Democrats in Congress are spineless, I’m all for any effort to spread the wealth.
But these Occupy protests? What have they accomplished besides aggravating politicians and the public? Seriously – what have they accomplished? I see a bunch of unemployed people with nothing better to do than stand around and complain. What solutions have come out of these protests? What suggestions have the protestors made to resolve the inequity they see?
I e-mail and even write old-fashioned snail mail letters to my elected representatives. I don’t always get what I want, but that’s the nature of a republic; I express my dissatisfaction at the ballot box, and even right here in this space. I support candidates who will make the decisions I favor. I’ve even taken part in protests before. The difference between Iraq War protests, say, and the Occupy protests, though, is one of message: We’re thousands strong, and we want you to stop the war. Didn’t do much good with a hawkish warmonger in the White House, but the message was clear.
What do the Occupy protestors want? Anyone? The impression I get is that they’re just unhappy with their lot in life and tired of working. I’ve had income below the poverty level, and I’ve had income in the upper tax brackets and everywhere in between. I’ve struggled during this never-ending recession just like so many others. And, yes, I’d like to see us take a little more from that 1% and give it to the 99% – but sitting around in the park all day and all night isn’t going to accomplish that.
The good news is that winter is coming, which means the end of the protests is in sight. Here in Chicago, at least, you’d be stupid to spend a winter night in the park. I give Occupy Chicago another month before they call it quits for the winter. Hopefully by spring, they’ll have decided to actually do something instead of starting another useless park occupation.