Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street's Retreat from Relevancy--& Suggestions!

I have to admit I turned and watched the Occupy protesters as I drove past their little camp in downtown Salem earlier today.  They're an interesting bunch, and in some ways I feel a real ambivalence towards what they're doing--or trying to do, at least.  For several years early in our marriage, we were so poor that we made church mice look filthy rich.  Even at the worst of times, though, I think the idea of protesting our situation would have seemed pretty silly to me.  Instead, I worked three pretty rotten jobs to hold things together, and I was always looking and competing for that dream job.  I suppose it's the fact that I've survived with little myself that I don't have a lot of patience for complainers--especially complainers who can't seem to say anything of consequence regarding their movement or its goals.

If they're complaining about not having jobs, it's just possible they might have more luck if they put down those signs and actually began looking for work. I am not saying it will be easy process, but it's a good starting point.  

My impression is that (1) they can't articulate what they're actually protesting against except in vague generalities, and (2) the union involvement in the Occupy movement belies their claims for financial accountability.  (Let's face it, unions aren't exactly the poster children for accountability or financial transparency.)  

So, I figure that this would be an opportune moment to put on my rain-soaked sweater, dirty jeans, and smelly dreadlocks (clip-ons) to really give these misguided folks some thoughtful advice for turning things around, not just achieving numbers but aiming for meaning, too.

First, remind everyone how terrible a proposition President Obama's stimulus package really was.  Second, point out the foolish and over-reaching pursuit of Obamacare in the midst of this Great Recession.  Third, while their hearts might have been in the right place, the latest round of banking and credit card regulations have really added insult to economic injury for the American people.  Yes, Bank of America corporate leadership may need a good spanking, but the most significant thing you can do is to...close your account.  President Obama's misguided policies have created an ecomonic environment of uncertainty and speculation.

It's unfortunate that these protesters can't recognize the irony and humour of the situation (as suggested in the photograph I shared above).  They're protesting corporations and capitalism itself while simultaneously reaping the benefits and innovations of both.  The power of social media, for instance, is being put to great use by these Occupy organizers.  While they've achieved the flash mob status, there not sure what to do now--or what demands to even seek.

On the other hand, the few protesters that can successfully articulate what they're looking for too often betray a Socialist mindset.  Read the following quote, for instance, from Occupy Portland chat forum.

Why do we care if the people are behind us? I am against "democracy" as a political system for this very reason. We, a minority know that this empire needs to be brought down so why do we care if we are in the minority? Why do we care about trying to convince the majority to be on our side. Are we trying to convince people or change the political structure?

After all, socialism has such a fine track record of economic success and environmental stewardship, doesn't it?  It's sad...a good protest is such a terrible thing to waste.

In conclusion this evening, I'd like to share a wise observation Father Robert A. Sirico of the Acton Institute made recently on EWTN's World Over.  The following is his response when he was asked about the moral obligation of "economic equity."

...I don't think economic equity is the real question.  What we care about most is the vulnerability of the poor.  It's not the gap between the rich and the poor; it's the floor.  That is, how well are the poorest and most vulnerable people living?  So, the fact that Warren Buffet has less money than Bill Gates is not the moral dilemma.  The Gap is not the moral dilemma, and I think they're focusing on the wrong question.  The question is not how do we distribute money, but how to create it...

By the way, be sure to read my second post on this general topic.  


  1. Not to mention: when they start charging the cops, it's time for someone to go home.

  2. Just a reminder... Getting some anonymous comments, but I won't share unless there's some identifiers provided. Thanks!

  3. I came in and was about to comment, when I saw I already had ... how time flies .... oh, in case you're interested, I had a fully updated article on OWS. It was ... fun, I suppose you'd call it.