There’s something familiar about all this Occupy Wall Street business that I just couldn’t put my finger on until this afternoon. It wasn’t the zombified remnants of the anti-war movement (take your pick which war, the same aging hipsters were in attendance) or the fresh faces of rage against the machine post-tweens who are using the movement as a means to fit in for what they perceive to be an ethically “good” cause. There’s a whole other article waiting to be written by the way about the inherent contradiction in terms like good, evil, greedy, etc being bandied about so readily at these things when a basic moral standard is actively argued against by those holding the protest signs. No, something seemed familiar about OWS, but what?
Much like my inability to remember what they remind me of, these protestors can’t put their finger on what exactly they’re there for. The duly-designated representatives of the City, County and State of bizzaro encamped New York proved in their interview with Stephen Colbert that no one can actually represent “the movement” and that they spent more time developing elaborate hand gestures to communicate mood like a seventeenth century physician testing ones humors that crafting a coherent message. In fact, it takes some 79 committees to manage the squatters encampment. Look at the deer in headlights expression permanently plastered on this girl who seems to just accept that people are being sexually assaulted while only able to muster a “here’s what I felt” about what the protests are about.
That’s the issue here. That’s the key to understanding what this is all about. It isn’t some spontaneous expression of frustration at the upper class by those who inexplicably feel they have an inherent right to take more from others when they likely don’t pay any federal income tax based on their purported economic station to begin with. It’s an unorganized mob of liberal special interest supporters (single issue, if that makes it more a palatable turn of phrase) who are coalescing because they have nothing better to do. They no more represent 99% of the country than do herpetologists. Sprinkle in the fringe that would be protesting somewhere anyway if it wasn’t already at this event, freeloaders and the homeless — you’ve got it. Still, these groups (save the homeless) all in one place can’t all have one thing in common given the multitude of messages coming out of the communes, can they?
Ah, but they do. Every last one of them is dumping their hopes into something meaningless and vapid.
99% to one person means forced income equality. To another it means a federally funded job, regardless of its relative worthlessness to the country or taxpayers. To a third, 99% means stricter environmental regulations, again regardless of economic impact. To a fourth it means a free buffet table.
Occupy Wall Street is the Barack Obama of 2008.
Hope and change. Something to project whatever pet policy positions you please onto without regard to what is actually occurring. An empty suit for you to try on and dazzle them in. This is the committed left, or the too lazy to care left (post-college students), and Obama has disappointed them. They actually believed all the things that he said during the race. They believed the stimulus would turn the economy around. They believed that health care reform would lead to a flourishing of artisan jobs without want or worry in regards to an apple a day. They’re liberals who haven’t been mugged by reality but if things keep deteriorating the way that they have been, they’ll be mugged literally soon enough.
The only consolation here is that in 2008 it was a good swath of the American voting populous who were dumping their dreams into an empty suit. Now, in 2012, after those polices and promises have either failed or been discarded, you’re left with the brighter burning core of the left in America — and despite the daily whitewashing of the media (compare that to the slanderous Nazification of the Tea Party) independents aren’t pouring into the streets this time.