Occupy Wall Street at critical juncture
Editorial by Ranger Staff
They have our attention; now the time has come for them to do something with it.
When the Occupy Wall Street protest began Sept. 17, it was almost impossible to ignore.
Quickly, the movement spread across the country as others took up the cause and began similar protests in their own cities.
Soon after, Occupy movements were popping up in cities across the world in a show of solidarity. That moment may have been the critical mass for Occupy Wall Street. Even President Obama was acknowledging them in speeches.
It was the point of highest momentum, and now attention is starting to wane. We don’t have a long attention span here in America.
Now, with a New York winter bearing down on the original Occupiers and public officials losing patience with them in other cities, they may not have much longer.
Occupy Oakland has turned violent, and other cities have passed laws to stifle Occupations in their own jurisdictions.
In New York, the police have confiscated generators and heating devices, which means the original movement probably won’t last through the winter unless it can adapt its approach.
Some are saying that approach should be to set a clear agenda and name a few leaders and then follow the example of the Tea Party to get people into office and become a real force.
And maybe that is what they should do, but that’s not the point of the protests.
These people want the officials they’ve already elected to look out for them and do the jobs they were chosen to do.
They want the already established political powers to listen to the 99 percent rather than working for the wealthiest 1 percent.
That’s the problem, right there. They are angry at the way things are done in this country, and they are asking for change, but they have no real power behind their rage.
People obviously agree with them, based on the Occupy movements springing up in other cities, but it’s easy to agree with something.
The hard part is doing something about it. They have been at this for nearly a month and a half without doing much more than creating a circus environment and frustrating the locals who have to pass them on their way to work each morning.
At first, people may have identified with their outrage that 1 percent of the population controls undue influence over the other 99 percent of us.
At first, it may have given a lot of people hope. But after this long, and with nothing substantial happening, the movement is in danger of becoming a toothless oddity that can just be ignored until it goes away.
No matter the outcome, people will remember this moment 10 years from now.
The only question is: Will it be remembered as a historic moment in American democracy or as something that had real potential and the participants wasted it to play bongos in a park?
Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2011