I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really over this Occupy (Wall Street) Movement. I don’t get it, and I’m not sure half of the people supplying them with soup and support do either. In fact, I’m not convinced that all of the courthouse campers are singing from the exact same hymnal.
To be as unified a presence across the country—and throughout the world—for so many months, you’d think the powers that started this snowball would’ve released a clear, easy-to-understand agenda of their demands instead of just loose disgust for corporate America and rich people who “occupy” the upper 1 percent of our population.
But no, we’re left to wonder why they’re pitching tents on the courthouse lawn and waving to passing cars with signs that simply read “We Are The 99%.” What they’re proclaiming is that they, like 99 percent of those reading this column right now, fall within the mass majority of citizens who aren’t stinking, filthy rich. No duh.
However as a friend pointed out to me, the irony of the situation is that they, as only a miniscule fraction of said majority, no longer represent the 99 percent. They in fact now represent only 1 percent (at best). In turn the upper 1 percent percent of rich folk they’re protesting are actually now part of the 99 percent who aren’t ruining the grass 100 percent of us pay taxes to upkeep.
Several weeks after our local group set up camp they actually produced a sign I could sink my teeth into. It read “corporations aren’t people.” Okay ... I get that. Corporations don’t play golf or dine at power lunches—but their minions do, on behalf of the corporation they rely on to live and breathe through another pay period.
Now, it took some online research, but what I gathered from the Occupier’s stance is that they don’t like the fact that (some types of) corporations aren’t held to the same standards as a typical business. Some in fact can seek and obtain the same financial protection under the bankruptcy code that an individual can to protect their business from going out of business. Right? I don’t know.
I do know that I don’t want my bank, or America, to go out of business. That would be bad. We as a nation are in scary debt. My bank was in debt to we taxpayers but is one of the limited few that’s actually repaid the principal it had to borrow during the bail out, albeit without adding the interest it would’ve charged me for the same type of loan. I don’t like that, but it’s not driving me to dig the Coleman stove out of the cellar.
I’m not sure what kind of shell game put our poor country in such bad financial shape. I’ve been told by those smarter than me that the stock market is cyclical and goes through ebbs and flows, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that what we spent on an $800 billion war would’ve gone a long way toward helping pay back our debt to China —or helping Americans and/or American corporations even out their bottom lines.
My bottom line is that I don’t mind bailing out banks and corporations—as long as they are required by law to pay the loan back with interest in a reasonable amount of time. Seems fair, or am I just being ignorant?
Anyway, I think I’m paying attention to the problem, and the Occupier’s messages, although it’s not really clear to me where to focus. I’d like to see some sort of organized message and list of demands from the top down, but the “leaders” of this movement prefer to be called “discussion facilitators,” so I’m not sure who’s gonna facilitate this list?
I was happy to see that they’ve created, or at least adopted from the Quakers, a unified way to communicate their individual feelings in a group setting (see Fig. 1 on the accompanying chart). It’s a really cool way to keep from talking over one another. Maybe if that’s the primary legacy they contribute to the history of protesting then all of those Beanie Weenie’s were worth it.
All kidding aside, I invite the head or lead “discussion facilitator” of the Occupy Chattanooga movement to contribute to the editors of this fine publication their specific concerns and demands regarding wherever it is the problem lay —and a proposed set of viable solutions (not just further protest actions like moving your money to a credit union). I’d like to know for real what all the hub-bub is about and how it can be fixed. Maybe then I’d be a little more apt to wave when driving by, or even deliver the day-old bagels that help feed the cause. Solidarity!
Chuck Crowder is a local writer and general man about town. His opinions are just that. Everything expressed is loosely based on fact and crap he hears people talking about. Take what you read with a grain of salt, but let it pepper your thoughts.