Musings

What’s The Point?

October 11, 2011

By now, most if not all of the nation has heard about the protests to the Bank Bail Out, and to Wall Street in general, that are taking place here in New York, at Zuccotti Park, in other parts of the city, and now in other states as well, including Washington, D.C. Celebrities such as Michael Moore, Nancy Pelosi, and Kanye West and Jay-Z have pledged their support, either in words or by showing up and posing for photo ops. Now, I’m a borderline anarchist myself, and if something in government doesn’t seem to be working, or there’s a policy that I’m opposed to, I have no problem speaking out. I went to D.C. in ’03 to protest the war in Iraq (the one that’s still going on, by the way,) and I can understand people being frustrated with the “too big to fail” notion in regards to the banks, especially when many lost their mortgages and jobs, and even now can’t find full time work. That being said…

I can’t really understand what these particular demonstrators are trying to accomplish. The point of a “stop the war” rally is fairly simple…stop the war. But something like this, which just keeps getting bigger and messier, I almost feel like is causing more harm than good. Neighborhood residents around Zuccotti Park- there are families that live around there, incidentally- are being massively inconvenienced by this, whatever their politics. They can’t get to work, their kids can’t sleep at night or study for school because of chanting and drum circles, and the stench of human urine and feces from people just letting fly right out in the open is overpowering. Then there’s the fact that the crowd can’t even seem to decide what it’s really there for. Some of them are protesting the bank bailout, but some of them are Tea Party members, some of them are protesting their high college tuition, or not being able to find work, or just “the system” in general, in the most nonspecific way. There are druggies there, and homeless, and thrill seekers who have driven or flown in from states away just to be a part of a big, disorganized Thing. There are always going to be people like that, rabble rousers, and New York is full of them. They’re drawn to this sort of thing like moths to a flame, the great unwashed. And while I don’t consider myself a corporate stooge (how could I be, when I work full time but still live below the poverty line), I can’t seem to get on board with this. The revolution may not be televised, but it can damn sure be inconsiderate. Obama has spoken about it, saying he understands the frustration, while Herman Cain and Rush Limbaugh have denounced this group as crybabies, filthy hippies who just need to get a job, no matter how few of them there are available. Myself, I think I fall in the middle somewhere. Yes, I understand the angst, but in reality, the bank bailout happened many months ago, the government isn’t suddenly going to retract it or change its policies, and raging against the machine, at least in this way, just seems like a waste of precious energy. You want change, then vote the current elected officials out, when the time comes. In the meantime, if you want jobs so badly, aren’t you better served by going out and hitting the pavement to hunt for them? I don’t mean to sound insensitive; I know times are hard. But I don’t feel like any good is going to come from battering your fists against a stone wall. It’s not going to give; it can’t give, because there isn’t even any concrete goal to reach. We’re here, pissed off, and not going to take it anymore can only take it so far when you ask ten different people in the crowd what they’re there for and you get ten different answers.

I’ll be interested to see what happens with these continuing demonstrations, but I kind of think I already know. Eventually, as the weather gets colder, the people, or most of them, will leave, and return to their homes. Those without homes will return to their shanties and boxes. Because what else can they do? What do they expect to happen? As much as I do sympathize, there are some things that just are the way they are, and general outcry and the chanting of catchy slogans, fun as it may be, just isn’t going to get the job done.

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1 Comment

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