Nov 16, 2011

Occupy American Culture!

The Occupy Wall Street movement appears to have started to fizzle out, as tents are uprooted and insanely dirty laundry bags are summarily packed up.  Looking back at the "purpose" of this movement, I am reminded by the Michael Ramirez satire in Investors Daily on 11/07 that the message of these protesters has been lost ... and in a BIG way.

The original purpose of the movement was to give voice to the discontent among individuals of "main street" toward the negligent behavior of the few financial institutions responsible for leading our country into a catastrophic failure of our financial and economic framework, and the subsequent bailout of these few financial institutions with tax payer money, and the subsequent subsequent failure of these few bailed-out financial institutions to work toward repairing the financial and economic framework they were responsible for destroying.  Indeed, this all sounds like a very worthy cause to speak up about.  Hurrumph!  Hurrumph!

But the message has been lost completely, although the irony of the fading significance has not.

Slowly, the movement became an indictment of not just a few financial institutions, but all of them.  Then, it became an indictment of corporations, then of ALL businesses, large and small.  As more and more "99%"'s joined the movement, the weight of the argument turned to income disparity and "fairness of the system".  This new purpose seemed to gather steam, but unfortunately, instead of focusing the energy on the very few individuals and institutions responsible for the meltdown, it turned to a mob-mentality toward ALL corporations.  Protesters began to focus their angst toward ALL businesses, disrupting businesses, small and large, in an effort to thwart "The Man", even if "The Man" is a small restaurant owner.  Really??


I understand and I get it ... not all protesters $hit on the steps of small community banks or vandalized grocery stores, but this is no excuse in my mind.  Just as a few financial institutions have given a bad name to so many others, the Occupy Wall Street purpose, and a valid one at that, has been soiled by the actions of a few ... and in this case, many more than just a few.  When you consider they are closing down the ports in an effort to drive home their message, this says it's time to rethink that message. 


The movement is losing support, and even after two months, it has yet to provide a path to a better America.  It's time to stop harassing small businesses, the economic backbone of this country, and refocus this energy toward a cause that will help move this country forward.  I, for one, would be an advocate of a "Retaking American Culture" movement!  Do we really need shows that encourage us to work toward the "one big payoff", instead of instilling the hard-working values that this country was built on?  Not everyone can win the lottery (cha-ching), find an original copy of the US Constitution at a garage sale (cha-ching), compete on American Idol (cha-ching), become a multimillion dollar basketball star (cha-ching cha-ching), marry a multimillion dollar basketball star (cha-ching), be injured on the job or slip in the parking lot of a big corporation (CHA-CHING!).  Instead, we need to understand that if we work hard, even if that means more than 8 hours per day from time to time or doing things we don't exactly want to do, we can achieve the American dream.  Of course, there is much, MUCH more that goes into success, but needless to say, this still remains the only country where the opportunity for hard working individuals is still the greatest.  This is what our American Culture should be about ... not creating public sector jobs for cleaning $hit off stairs or re-landscaping parks-turned-to-camp-grounds.  Let's get real ... and let's get to work!


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