Given that I missed most of the student rebellions of the mid-1960s (my lame excuse then was that I was a new daddy), rapt attention is due the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York a couple of weeks ago and has now spread nation-wide; I’m eager to plug in, one way or another. More on that in a minute.
The consensus seems to be that OWS is primarily about justice, also defined as fair play, or commonly, the 99 percent versus the one percent — and you know what that’s all about. Columnist Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post provides a helpful description , with more details in yesterday’s edition.
What remains vague is where it came from and why. Who was the first person to open his window and scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore?” To be sure, the electronic means to round up a crowd are at hand, but who brought about the idea that motivated people to take action? One of aspects of the movement that frustrates media and politicians alike is its disjointed nature, with the one rallying sentiment a disgust at a growing sense of class distinction. To date, there have been no slogans or easy points of focus — which to me is the beauty of the entire effort. You get the notion that there are no guiding hands, only the dismay of the thousands of people involved. Which, truly, is enough.
Will it die out with just the smallest of wimpers? Or will it gain the kind of strength to reach the polling place? Depends, I guess, on the staying power of the originators — who have announced no goals whatsoever. But at the very least, as I have alluded, we haven’t seen its like in more than a generation, and that time the student protests actually ended a war. There does exist that kind of power, especially when it is used in a non-self-serving way.
So tomorrow I intend to see what it’s all about first-hand — if I can score a plane ticket to New York, the veritable scene of the action: me, my Nikon and the audio recording function of my cell phone that is said to be good for at least 15 hours…and keeping mind that it is always prudent to treat New York’s finest with courtesy and good humor.