Dismissing Change As Nothing Important
A lot of conservatives in the news are dismissing the Occupy Wall Street movement as nothing worth taking note of. Conservative experts claim that the movement that consists of thousands has not managed to develop a coherent message and is failing at its attempt to bring attention to a single issue. As proof, they ask the question what’s the purpose of the movement. Who are the leaders? Where is the mission statement? Where are the headquarters?
I saw an interview with the latest conservative front runner for the White House, Newt Gingrich. Mr. Gingrich was able to benefit from all of pizza mogul Herman Cain’s troubles, the previous front runner who was able to take advantage of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s troubles, the front runner before that who was able to take advantage of Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann’s troubles, the front runner before that who was able to take advantage of conservative business tycoon Donald Chump’s troubles, and so on and so on and so on as long as the front runner wasn’t former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Anyway, Mr. Gingrich has been making a lot of political rhetoric against the Occupy Wall Street movement. He has accused these people of having hygiene issues saying that they refuse to take a bath. He also said that they refuse to get a job, refuse to understand how economics work, and refuse to do anything to earn a living. It is Mr. Gingrich’s impression that the Occupy Wall Street members, the 99%, believe that the 1% owe them something, everything. Needless to say Mr. Gingrich has no sympathy for anybody who isn’t in the 1% and is not ultra conservative.
People can dismiss the Occupy movement as nothing important. But I saw a panel discussion about the Occupy Wall Street, and one of the pundits made an analogy comparing the Occupy Wall Street movement to the civil rights movement of the sixties. People protesting race based discrimination didn’t have a formal leadership structure or a mission statement. Although Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other influential black people eventually became the face of the movement, it started with a mass of people protesting institutionalized unfairness that was the norm in America.
The civil rights movement never made a charter. Our ancestors and elders who participated in the movement didn’t have a governing body listing all the demands to be negotiated. It had a slogan, “What do we want? Equal rights! When do we want it? Now!”
People knew what the problem was without somebody pointing it out. Black people were not equal to their white counterparts and the racial discrimination that had become part and parcel of the United State’s social fabric was no longer acceptable. The unfairness had reached a critical point where it was not going to be quietly tolerated any longer. Enough people said enough was enough and it was time for change. It took years, but the environment of brazen open hostility towards blacks became a thing of the past. Racism and discrimination had to go underground.
To put the prerequisite of such officious steps as a single mission statement and other such nonsense in order to deem the movement successful is just a distracting tactic meant to minimize the potential of the movement. A few weeks ago the message bandied about in political circles was that America’s deficit was getting out of hand and we had to put everything into getting it under control at the expense of everything else. We need to reduce taxes and reduce spending so that we can grow the economy that seems to be benefitting only the 1%.
While some of us still want to pretend that the federal deficit is the number one concern for the majority of America, it should be apparent that a huge chunk of the population is beginning to see things a little differently. In the past few weeks, a lot of attention is beginning to be paid to the income disparity that has become part and parcel of our American economic landscape. Like the inequality of racial discrimination, economic discrimination is beginning to take center stage of our national consciousness.
People can pretend this movement means nothing. People can dismiss the people as nothing more than a bunch of poor hygiene hippies that refuse to work for a living. But that’s really no surprise, it’s always how the establishment and anyone else who has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo responds to a call for change where the vast majority can benefit. Go ahead and dismiss all the rebel rousers as nothing important, at least until you can’t.