It looks like the Occupy Wall Street protests are finally starting to wind down. I must admit they lasted longer than I expected in some places. GIven the relatively harmless nature of the event, I found a lot of people over-reacting to it. My feelings about the OWS movement are basically split into two camps:
First, I wish everybody would just calm down. We’re talking about a bunch of people camping out. This isn’t a march or a riot. They’re not blocking traffic or stealing babies. They’re simply trying to express their frustration. I’m just amazed at the level of hostility these people received just because they wanted to get heard. If anything, I think the venomous reaction they drew actually prompted me to support them, if for no other reason than simply because I hate seeing people get picked on for no particular reason. They looked like they were getting bullied and that sickened me. No wonder there’s so many thugs in the schools when all their parents are thugs as well.
Bottom line: They weren’t hurting anybody so let them camp out if they want to camp out. Geez, lighten up!
But then, there’s the other side of the equation: protesting by committee simply does not work. Based on the various interviews that took place, these protests drew everything from legitimate gripes to the tin-foil hat brigade. I’d like to say that I agreed with the goals of the OWS, but frankly I was never really clear on what (if any) goals they actually had. They don’t like rich people, ok check. Got that much. Beyond that, it was simply noise.
There are a lot of things to be done for the working poor, both in Canada and the US. Pick two or three… put them on a piece of paper and get everybody to read it aloud in front of any news camera they see. Raise minimum wage? Fine. Ban government handouts to corporations? Fine. Eliminate high income tax exemptions? Fine. Heck, make it whatever you want but at least send a clear message. If those Tea Party fanatics can find a way to send a clear message then surely the OWS could do it as well. Stop trying to please everybody and focus on the battles you can actually WIN!
Bottom line: You’ll never get anything if you never ask for it first!
There’s no denying that OWS made for an interesting autumn this year. It’s actually nice to see normal people being able to vent some spleen over the economic roller coaster we’ve been on the past few years. But, I think both sides could have behaved better. OWS opponents need to calm down. Take an anger management class or two. Better yet, pop a few valium and try to reduce the size of that swelled vein in your forehead. OWS members, on the other hand, need to take a few public relations classes. Make a plan and stick with it, because I guarantee that you don’t get anything in this world if you don’t learn to ask for it coherently.