October 28, 2011

Writer Finley Peter Dunne was talking about newspapers when he wrote a version of this many years ago, but I was reminded of it. the other day when I saw the ongoing media coverage of Occupy (fill in the blank).

I definitely think the comfortable –those who live in their own insular worlds of privilege–need to be prodded, poked and afflicted.

So I asked someone I know who works closely with “the comfortable” (financial institutions and wealthy investors) if they ever discussed the Occupy movement. The answer?

No. It’s not even on their radar screen.

I agree that big financial institutions screwed us all. I feel awful that so many have lost their jobs.

At the same time, something bothers me about this movement. Makes it different from the peace movement of the 1960s. I hate to even talk about it, because it makes me seem conservative, when I’m anything but.

I am, however, realistic.

I’m sure that protesters don’t intend to harm the small local businesses whose livelihoods have been impacted by the protests. And some businesses are actually getting more business from the traffic. But still, many small businesses in the protest areas have been hurt. And that does bother me.

As usual, in Oakland any protest is an opportunity for do-badders to do bad. Such was the case the other night night with throwing of paintballs and hazardous substances at police. And then, there sure are a lot of police trying to keep order. At a time municipalities can’t afford police, diverting them from actual crimes seems counter-productive to society. But they’re needed to keep order. The situation makes me uncomfortable.

What’s more troublesome is that the movement seems doomed to fail because it is unfocused. When you ask for everything AND the kitchen sink–a diverse list of “demands” that range from wanting 15 percent of NYPD and FDNY to be bisexual and a $20 minimum wage to free tuition and ending the Fed, chances are you’ll get nothing.



The peace movement wanted the Vietnam War to end. They didn’t add “and let’s legalize marijuana, give out free condoms in high schools and ratify the ERA” even if they wanted all those things.

And so, what actually can be achieved by this protest? With the peace movement, politicians were influenced, and I suppose that’s the hope of the Occupy protesters as well.

But, the Republicans have a vested interest in keeping this movement alive, in fostering discontent, because they hope it’ll unseat Obama. Times are different now.

I don’t think politicians are going to be influenced to make things better right now. Not so close to an election year in a polarized environment that’s all about power and not one bit about making things better for the people.

And then, take jobs. More jobs is a worthy goal. People do want to work and can’t find jobs. I know that. But: I’ve worked in business my whole life. If there’s no work, and reduced revenue, who’s going to create the jobs? Do we expect business to make jobs out of whole cloth? Put people on the payroll when there’s nothing for them to do? And no money to pay them? Shall we simply mint more money and hand it out?

And then, how will the movement define success? What’s a win going to look like?

And what’s their exit strategy?

With the Arab Spring, hey, I get it, I do. Corruption. Torture. Despots and dictators.

But when I look at protestors armed with the latest Iphones, Ipads and Burbery scarves, well, I just can’t see it as the same thing. In some ways it’s an embarrassment to protest movements made up of people with real problems. If America’s worst problem is that there are insufficient bisexuals in the NYPD (and I am SURE they’re there, they’re just not out), then do we really have a problem that warrants this kind of protest?

And then, who really are the afflicted? This past year I’ve seen shockingly long lines out the door at Apple stores in San Francisco, Los Gatos and Santa Clara: people waiting to the latest expensive Apple toy the day it comes out. Regular people, too. Not comfortably wealthy. I’m sure some are unemployed. I would put money on it.

The contrast is jarring.

People who need help should be helped. But I can’t see how the Occupy movement is going to achieve that.

The whole thing just troubles me and in the end it seems like all this movement is doing is occupying space.

3 comments on “Occupy…space
  1. Anonymous says:

    We had an interesting event in Occupy Tampa where the protestors who had TENTS and such were not happy that homeless panhandlers were showing up IN THEIR PARK (facetious here) and giving them a bad name. REALLY? These homeless people do not have homes they leave to sleep in parks like homeless people they do not even have tents. It is funny how the 99% got selfish with the real people who have NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG it makes me so tired.


  2. Kelly says:

    well said Carol. And anyone who knows you would not mistake you for a *looks around shiftily, then whispers* …conservative…
    you are right. this movement is silly. its very very unfocused and they are asking for everything!! it is a politically driven movement…for the wrong side. The right side is using the youth and the idealistic of the left side to create a divide in the house of liberalism.

    The problem is everyone is so unhappy about everything. Its such a friggin mess. Where to start???? So I get it, but yes, focus and a clean slate would be good. Check whose back pocket you are in, and whose sleeve you are up, protestors.

    The generation leading this has the right idea. This country, all of us, need to get pissed at the government. Not Obama. The government. Everyone is lounging around comfortably and apathetically while this country goes to hell is a hand basket. I’m glad someone’s generation is pissed. It should be all of them.

    The Occupy LA movement had a band playing. a couple even. so then it became a free show instead of a movement. lame.

    instead of getting mad at the homeless people, get on their side. gather every homeless person willing to push their belongings in a unified direction and everyone sleep on the lawn of the *insert city landmark here*.

    there is so much division we can’t even agree on what we are divided about. it all saddens me.

  3. These are the things that make the movement less credible. I hope it’s over with soon and we can work on the real problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.