Monday, October 3, 2011

#Occupy Wall Street. Bring Pot.

"This is what Democracy looks like, huh?  To be fair, it's also
what Bonaroo looks like." -Jon Stewart

Yes, I'm taking a break from school work to write this.  I know it isn't what I promised (I WILL get back to that list of the 20 evil guys eventually), but this whole protest in New York is just too good to be true, and certainly too good to ignore.

One would think that I would love and endorse a protest like this.  You might even think I'd head down there and join it myself.  Well, silly, you'd be quite wrong.  There are a number of things about this protest that piss me off.  Despite that, I do agree with it's potential, and it kills me to think that this could have been so much better.

Occupy Wall Street started on September 17th and has been going strong - growing, actually - ever since.  I had heard about it a few days before, but I put it out of my mind.  It was, I thought, doomed to fail from the get go.  With no specific goal, and no leaders in sight, the protest was surely going to falter within days.

Around the 23rd of September, I was in the sauna at my college rec center, and one of the guys in there brought it up as a conversation topic.  "Have you guys heard about this protest in front of Wall Street in New York City?  It's so rad - young people our finally standing up to the injustices of this country."  I walked out shortly after that, holding in my laughter.  Standing up for injustice?  They're waving idiotic signs, screaming idiotic chants, and playing music on homemade instruments!  If anything, the protest is nothing more than an inconvenience for the guys who are still able to go to work, and still able to go home thousands of dollars richer than when they went in that morning.  

Another reason why this whole thing is silly is because of all the anti-protesting laws that this supposedly anti-tyrannical government of ours has instituted.  For example, a few people were arrested for not carrying a "protesting permit."  A permit.  That is some serious horse shit.  Another small group of people were arrested for wearing masks.  I'm talking about Halloween masks, not bank robbing ski masks.  And let's not forget the three young women that were viciously pepper sprayed for doing nothing.

Police officers are using a technique known as "kettling," where they actually pen in small groups of protestors with those orange fences in order to keep people isolated and contained.  If that doesn't scream  ridiculous, I don't know what does.

Why do the laws make this protest silly?  Because the protestors aren't fighting back.  The New York P.D. are trying to make sure that the London riots don't recreate themselves here in America.  Well, fuck them.  I'm not, in any way, advocated looting or violence, but it would be nice to see these protestors put down their joints and actually take the stand that they went to New York to take in the first place.  The media and the right-wing groups speaking out against the protest are doing so because this entire thing is foolish.  It's more of an excuse to get out of college classes and hang out in New York City than anything else.  

With no concrete demands, and no leaders, this whole protest is nothing more than a bunch of angry liberals force feeding the Tea Party and the Republican Presidential Candidates more ammunition to use in the 2012 elections.  This isn't going to change anything.  You know what Roger Ailes does every morning now?  He turns on his television, or looks out the window, and laughs his fat ass off.  

"Seriously, what is our demand?  We don't know."
By the way, nothing says you mean business better than a 
Twitter hash tag and piss-poor grammar.  "Bring tent."

Here's the thing: I hope I'm wrong.  I hope someone will come out to lead and organize these people.  They definitely have determination - I'll give them that.  It's unfortunate, though, that their only motivation seems to be causing a stir rather than actually fixing a broken system.

Take the Joker's advice from The Dark Knight:  "It's not about the money.  It's about sending a message."  Hanging out on the sidewalk and screaming at a building is not a good way to send a message.  There are far better ways to do it that are, surprisingly, not violent.  Try it.  And please... prove me wrong.

UPDATE 10/5/11

I'm not going to say I was wrong.  Technically, I wasn't.  But I will say that I'm more hopeful now than I was at the time I originally wrote this about the future of this movement.

New York City isn't the only place in the United States to see a massive uprising of the young, the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden.  In Los Angeles, Chicago, and even my home state of Maine (I know, right?!), there have been similar, smaller protests.  This is all well and good, but it definitely isn't the best part.

Marines, veterans, and soldiers of all kinds are packing their bags and heading to the areas with the heaviest protests to stand guard against the police officers.  That's right.  In the words of one marine, "I didn't fight for Wall Street.  I fought for America.  Now it's Congress' turn."  He also issued a challenge to the police force watching over the protestors: "Let's see a cop mace a bunch of decorated war vets."

Needless to say, I am extremely eager to see how this will turn out.  The video of the innocent women being brutally maced by the New York P.D. is horrifying and sad, but it won't compare to a video of a cop macing a decorated marine veteran in his dress blues.  The media would literally have a simultaneous orgasm at something like that - well, Fox News probably wouldn't.  Still, macing a marine would be just about the worst thing the police could do; it would be the equivalent of beating a bald eagle to death with a burning American flag.  The public outcry would be enormous, and I guarantee that the numbers of protestors would triple overnight.  

My favorite part about this whole thing?  The protestors don't need to be violent.  They just have to subtly goad the NYPD into overstepping their bounds.  Few things arouse more sympathy than violent acts being committed against people that refuse to retaliate.

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