Okay. Its past due for me to talk about something other than myself. While I’m sure you’re all enthralled by my coming of age story (that’s what I’ve been telling isn’t it?) too much internet introspection is sloppy.
What better topic to talk about than the Occupy movement? Especially since I was in the city when Bloomberg kicked the protestors out of the park and protesters marched up Broadway.
When the movement started I sympathized, to an extent. I felt and still feel that it’s important for Americans to express themselves. Their message, which is largely a message of disgust, is one that the men on Wall Street and in D.C. need to hear. They need to see the overwhelming amount of disproval in this country for their actions and irresponsibility. But there is a big problem with this movement. It is a movement without movement. It can’t go anywhere because there are no leaders and there is no unified message, besides of disgust.
I can’t criticize Bloomberg for kicking them out of the park. He tried to negotiate with them but you cannot negotiate with a mob that has no leaders. You cannot satisfy protestors who have no actual demands. “Change” isn’t a concrete enough demand since the protestors can’t agree on the type of change that would satisfy them.
When I first learned about the protest I told my friends that the biggest problem was that there was no way that the protestors could leave successful because they have no standard for success. They created a situation in which the only things that could bring an end to their protest were the weather or removal.
After two months of breaking New York City’s greatest command, don’t inconvenience your neighbor, Bloomberg had good reason to ban them at last from sleeping in the park. Though if I was him the message I would have delivered to the protestors would have been this,
“We’ve heard your message. Your disgust and desire for change has made a powerful impression. But it’s time for you to put down your signs and find a way to participate in creating a better nation.”
The truth is that U.S. isn’t just in a bad place because of some assholes on Wall Street and idiots in D.C. Though they’ve contributed to our problems, the U.S. is in a bad place because Americans got lazy, irresponsible and apathetic. We let ourselves buy into a lot of stupid lies, like that we needed houses that we can’t afford and that spending is better than saving. We started looking down our nose at service jobs and working with our hands. We began overprizing education instead of action and affluence instead of work. We bought without caring who we were buying from and how it was made. Like teenagers, we felt like the U.S. was invincible. That we could do whatever we wanted without consequence. We were proven wrong.
The truth is also that our nation is in a phase of transition. The philosophies that this country was founded on aren’t our philosophies anymore (and for good reasons) and new philosophies are developing. Some of our pain is growing pain.
While protest is important, participation is more important. Though our economy is still struggling there are some great changes that are happening. All over new businesses are cropping up that are modeling a healthier form of capitalism. Businesses are changing their practices to care more about the environment and the community. Work is becoming more valued. I think that everyone can find a way to be a part of creating a healthier nation and more robust economy. I think it involves more than holding a sign or camping out in public places. It involves actively creating jobs and communities and supporting businesses that are cultivating a better kind of capitalism.