Having given the civil dissidents of the ‘Occupation’ a few weeks coverage under the watchful eye of the new media, it seems like a good time to weigh in. I’ve taken the time to read media accounts from all perspectives, listened to participant interviews, and routinely visited (and actually joined) the Occupy Wall Street website. Having tried to discern their specific demands, a sense of ideological structure, a vision of how they intend to legally pursue whatever their desires may be; I have come to a very simple and basic(man) conclusion.
The Occupy movement is a bi-product of the evolution of American society. To be entirely fair, so is the Tea Party. Both stem from a sense of sociopolitical dissatisfaction however the similarities end there. The Tea Party has grown into an influential political action committee whereas Occupy Wall Street appears to be peaking as an adult temper tantrum.
I admit to a bias; a bias towards work, risk/reward, benefitting from and investing in my own labor. You know, the old fashioned free market theory and basic capitalism gig. I don’t know if it was taught from childhood or if I was born with it because its all I’ve ever known. What I was given in life is opportunity and average talent. With only a certain number of years allotted to me, squandering such has always compelled a feeling of laziness.
In a piece written for the Wall Street Journal, former Clinton pollster Douglass Schoen outlined the demographics as researched by his polling firm. The linked results are disheartening but not entirely surprising.
They’re an angry mob of socialist Progressives that wants to see a good portion of corporate America, especially the successful C-suite class behind bars. They keep forgetting that the feds have already put away guys like Skilling, Ebbers, Kozlowski, Rigas(2), Waksal, Fastow, Schwartz, Forbes, Skelton, Kumar, Brown, Sullivan, Grass, Kopper, Rice, Olis, and Causey for their corporate crimes. Come to think of it, that’s probably a better conviction rate than our judicial system gets for murderers getting away with murder.
While Wall Street Occupiers deliver sermons on social justice in front of NYPD officers working overtime on their behalf, decry success and capitalism while camping for free on the private grounds of a global capitalist conglomerate, and Tweet their musings on every Apple product Steve Jobs ever brought to the marketplace – they either turn a blind eye to or refuse to make any connection whatsoever between American fisc, their perceived malaise, US politics, and politicians. If they did they’d be calling themselves; Occupy DC.
Simply put, Occupy Wall Street as a group represent the self serving takers within our society unsatisfied by the degree of largesse provided by others than flows their way. A participant published some revealing demands on the official OWS website, although not sanctioned by their General Assembly. Their foot stomping (civil disobedience) in NYC’s Zucotti Park and other locales is a call to anyone listening that they want more – now, and don’t feel they should be obliged to work for it, pay for it or get it through the usual route..
Free health care, free college education, salary for life (not tied to any form of work), totally open borders, and forgiveness of all (I mean all) debt of any kind. What we have here is a case of not being able to connect the socio-economic dots past the end of their own noses. What could possibly go wrong?
We have raised a generation of takers because we have given them anything and everything they have ever wanted. From candy and video games to keep them quiet to good grades in school so they can get promoted; from competition where everybody is a winner, to state and federal programs that provide free access to just about anything their feelings desire. They took it all and now it’s their way of life. There is no fear of failure, zero sense of responsibility, and absolutely no disgrace in demanding more.
It used to be that one would grow up wanting to seize an opportunity, take on the risk, and achieve a certain level of accomplishment and the rewards it could render. Occupy Wall Street illustrates how this paradigm has morphed into finding opportunities to take away the rewards earned by those that did the achieving.
They call themselves the 99%, but they are not a majority. Thank the Founding Fathers for delineating their 1st Amendment right to think they are. This too shall pass as the entertainment they currently provide will dissipate much like it did in the 60’s. After all, for them to continue would take commitment, means, and actual work – things in which they seem to have no interest.