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I Think, Therefore I Care

October 10, 2011

When the Occupy Wall Street movement began, I got a heads-up from reading The Daily What that it was going to happen, so I followed the story, and I’ve been following it ever since.

It’s a hard story to get my head around, because I am not there, although I might start spending more time hanging out downtown with the Occupy Dallas protesters — to see the spectacle, but also to be part of a bigger presence. I want to see whether the reality matches up with what I’ve read.

The movement has done a good job of articulating itself. It’s got a clear message: that unregulated corporate greed has had a devastating impact on millions of Americans. The movement claims to have no leadership, although someone, somewhere is doing a good job of getting a consistent and clear message out there — We Are the Other 99% — and of organizing peaceful protests nationwide. And of staying out of the spotlight, which is harder than you might think.

It looks like a movement of young people, kids in their early 20’s, the mini baby boom who were born in the 1980s, kids whose professional prospects have been stymied by their inability to find a job. Kids who grew up hearing their parents natter on about the glory days, the 60s, when protests against the war in Viet Nam and Jim Crow laws were in vogue.

What do I think? I think they have a point. I think the relationship between money and political influence is too great.

I think Wall Street is dominated by flawed hiring and HR practices which perpetuate a culture of exclusion and exclusivity in which the other 99% are often the subject of derision and cruel banter, with no one to say, “Hey wait, that’s my father, my cousin, my friend you’re talking about.” I think that for far too long too few of the same types of guys have been eating all the cookies.

I think that my favorite long shot Presidential candidate, Buddy Roemer, has been both smart and wise to align himself with the movement — after all, he’s been talking about the unhealthy relationship between corporate America and our government since he came out of the gates.

Am I going to go hang out my freak flag and live in a tent downtown? Absolutely not. I have a family to take care of. My kids need a mom who will listen to them, bathe them, feed them, and kiss them, not be off chanting and banging drums and what not, and I don’t want Chris to come home from work to a dark house with cold pots.

But I will continue to watch, and read, and clutter my facebook feed with re-postings about the protests. I have never before witnessed how a social movement takes hold and transforms, although I have read about it. Now that it’s happening five miles from my house, I’m not going to miss the chance to check it out.

I think this is going to go somewhere.

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  1. Jennifer in NC permalink

    You might be interested to hear that the movement is spreading:

  2. ER, this was the position I took in the mid-’60s when my kids were little. Like you I managed to speak out, to write out, to work through my church for justice.
    Good for you, keep up the good work, and know that your children are watching you.

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