OK Occupy Wall Street, Here's What You Need To Do
Last week I wrote about why I think Occupy Wall Street is finished. Lack of any kind of clear message and no understandable goals or takeaways has left them in the cold. Other than demonstrations, blocking traffic and beating drums outside of Bloomberg’s house, it’s been a relatively muted movement. But that can all change.
More than two parts
OWS’s main problem is that the 99% is not really 99%. I can’t break it down specifically; nobody can. We can say that the top 1% of the wealth controls everything and if you aren’t part of that 1% then logic would dictate that you are part of the 99%. But a lot of people aren’t. I’m not. There are all sorts of in-betweens. Some are part of the 53%. Heard of them? It’s actually pretty interesting. Take a gander here:
OK, so am I part of the 53%? Meh, I’m not really sure that I want to place myself in any of those camps. But this was inevitable thanks to OWS pigeonholing themselves in the first place. That they can’t even get a political party to side with the movement speaks volumes. Usually one or the other is scrambling to take advantage. But in this case they’re trying to distance themselves with a pivotal election coming up in less than a year.
The problem is beyond the street
So what’s Occupy Wall Street to do? Well let’s think about it for a minute. Is the problem solely Wall Street? Is that even where the problem starts? We could most certainly go back to the days when our government was squeezing lenders to relax standards in order to help create "a nation of homeowners." And don't get all partisan on me here either, they're all to blame. It’s certainly very easy to argue that Wall Street played their part in the turmoil we’re witnessing today, but hey, Wall Street is greedy. That ain’t news folks; and greed is pretty normal. Sure, some are greedier than others. But the bottom line is human beings are flawed at best and greed is there, like it or not. So then it becomes something more than Wall Street doesn’t it? Who let’s Wall Street get away with this stuff anyway?
It’s amazing to think about this statistic, but Congress has about the lowest approval rating of anything going these days. Don’t believe me? I’m sure you do, but it gives me a chance to link in this humorous chart:
Paris Hilton? Are you kidding me? With a 9% approval rating, I think it’s safe to say that Congress sucks and we all think it. And I bet that 9% is padded too. Truthfully I'd be floored to hear anyone say they approve of Congress today. It begs the question of why, and I want specifics.
Making laws and money
Maybe you’ve seen the report titled “Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives” linked here:
It seems cliché to say it’s not surprising, but still it kinda is. Politicians have an “in.” They know things we don’t and they profit from it. That sounds pretty shady doesn't it? As elected lawmakers they are making laws that will favor and dictate certain outcomes; not terribly reassuring. Especially in times like these where we can’t even get these people to hammer out a negotiation on behalf of us, the citizens who elected them.
There is nothing super about this
Right about now congress is getting ready to admit defeat in the “supercommittee’s” efforts to come up with a deficit reduction plan. Extremists on both sides of the aisle cannot figure out a way to meet halfway on anything. And don’t give me the “If only the democrats would…” or the “If only the republicans would…” They’re all there and they’re all guilty. They are taking the responsibility we have given them as voters and stepping all over it in the hopes of pandering to a particular base for the 2012 election. The worst part about this is that their failure was more or less expected. We didn’t think they would be able to get it done. Are our expectations that low? Apparently they are. We are more or less conceding the country to a bunch of inept politicians who can’t get it together. But has it come to this? If there’s something you should be marching on, it should be this.
So Occupy Wall Street, instead of chanting “We are the 99%” and shutting down traffic in Chicago, you need to change your tactic. The 99% is more or less meaningless; that much has been established. But what you could do is change it to “We are the 91%” and gear your movement straight at Washington DC. Instead of calling it “Occupy Wall Street” call it “Occupy Washington DC” or something like that. Because at the end of the day, your gripes with Wall Street are falling on a lot of deaf ears. And hey, at least you've got the data to back you up in this case.
Wall Street and DC are in cahoots; they work together. But remember, Wall Street isn’t elected. Your protests are nothing more than a nuisance to them. Congress on the other hand, well you know that they’re elected. So why not bring it on back to the home of protest? There’s plenty of room and you’re guaranteed to get great coverage on every news network. You can hang out at the National Mall, see the Smithsonian and soak up our wonderful country’s rich history, all the while bringing your message straight to the heart of the matter.
But what do I know?
So OWS, DC should be your beef, not Wall Street. Change your name and start referring to yourselves as the 91%. That will make you much more relatable and I bet you’d attract more support from rational folks all over the country who don’t want to have anything to do with you right now. And remember, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The operative word here is “peaceably” folks, so stay classy.