I’ve been accused of missing the point of this whole “Occupy Wall Street” thing.
And maybe I am.
I posted on my Facebook page that something told me that if the people who were spending all their time at the tent city in protest of Corporate America would spend as much effort looking for a job, they’d probably have one.
A few people liked that. And handful took issue.
The anti-Wall Street protestors remain camped out in a privately-owned park in New York, but rallied in Times Square on Saturday, as similar protests started in Asia and Europe. Even Canada is getting into the act.
The protestors are angry with financial inequality.
Let’s think about that for a minute. How many of these same people take issue with the notion of fighting a “war on terror?” A lot, I’m guessing.
These battles involving such vague terms are pointless, because there’s no clear solution to the problem. Terror will always be around, because no matter how hard we clamp down on one terrorist group, another will come along sooner or later.
And financial equality? What is that, exactly?
Everyone making the same salary, no matter what they do? (Or don’t do?) Everyone living in the same size house in the same quality of neighborhood? And driving the same kind of car with the same price tag?
Just making sure that no one is under the poverty level — which would be a better idea, I would think — still doesn’t mean financial equality: the rich will still be rich and the poor will only be less poor.
There’s a widely-circulated photo of protesters that someone has annotated with arrows pointing out their clothing and things they’re holding. Things like GAP clothing and iPhones are indicated; those accusations may or may not be true, however it’s certain that some of these people are using products from big corporations with whom they supposedly have such a beef.
Do any of these folks have an iPhone? Or an iPad? Or even an iPod? If so, how do they feel about the fact that their purchase added to the sizable coffers of a company one report
One friend of mine, Andy, who I used to work with a few years ago, had this to say to my original statement:
“First, it’s not all unemployed folks – a lot of the protesters are going on their off days and returning to their jobs after protesting. More importantly, though, it’s not like you wake up on a Tuesday and say to yourself, “Hmmm – I can walk into any company in America and instantly get a job, or I can go protest. Yeah, think I’ll draw up a sign and head to the park.” As someone who applied for HUNDREDS of jobs before finding one crappy one, I know for a fact that it’s not easy to find work during times of double-digit unemployment. So, yeah, after 6 months or a year or more of fruitless searching, I might feel more fulfilled making a sign instead of spending a day sending in resumes that will never be read. But that’s just me.”
I agree that the first point is a very important one to recognize. And frankly, if you’re working a full-time job and you’re providing for your family and you’re paying your taxes and doing all of the other things society demands of you, then no one has the right to complain that you’re protesting lawfully on your own time.
I can understand — because I have a general lack of patience — that it can be very difficult to find a job in this economy. I have been blessed to keep mine, but none of us knows for sure how long that kind of luck will last these days.
What I do know, beyond any reasonable doubt, is that one great way to not find work is to stop looking so that you can move into a park to stage a protest for weeks on end.
Another friend, a journalism student named Joe, added this:
“I covered the protest up in Burlington VT last Sunday (story is on my blog). A large variety of people were there, both young and old. I interviewed an 85-year-old woman who was fed up with business in Washington. I think in these discussions we overlook that it’s not just the unemployed (whether a day or 2+ years), or college kids that are out there.”
Another salient point. And this one begs another interesting question: what does financial equality look like to a college student versus a senior citizen?
Is it the same picture? I’d be willing to wager nearly any amount that it isn’t. One group has worked their whole lives seeing their investments dwindle; the other is barely into the workforce and hasn’t near the life experience to know what’s coming for them.
Which takes us back to square one: what, exactly, do they want?
Meanwhile, some in Times Square couldn’t resist getting caught up in what Reuters describes as a “party atmosphere.” Protesters were joined by tourists snapping pictures, “together counting down from 10 to 1 and shouting, ‘Happy New Year!’”
Talk about missing the point!
Others have asked why these protesters are in New York for their demonstrations. It’s the politicians who’d have more to do with addressing corporate greed than the corporations themselves. It should be common sense: if you believe the corporations have no heart and are only out to pull in as much money as they can, camping out won’t change that at all! You protest by changing the leaders in Washington who set laws that might actually change the situation.
Or you protest with your pocketbooks by changing how you consume goods and services based on the corporations that provide them, choosing to reward those you feel aren’t money-grubbing swine, and punish those you feel are.
We have a capitalistic system. The consumer must operate within that system just as the corporations do.