Just a couple more thoughts on this and then on to other things…
After last week’s post I’ve received a number of comments on the piece and on the Zuccotti event, which have been kind. What still surprises me, however, is how little interest there seems to be “out there” in general, and I haven’t got a fix — yet — on the why of it. Certainly part of the problem is the arrival, so far, of hard articulation — which many have said is pretty much by design, along with a declaration of goals. But then much of it would seem to be obvious: a clear dissatisfaction with the financial empire, hence the target of the occupation. Maybe the notion of the public getting its arms around this loud business is somewhat wishful thinking, or perhaps there’s a general hope that it will all go away, given the chaotic tone of the demonstrations.
But this much is clear: it will not go away, short of billionaire CEOs standing on a street corner in New York, beating their shirtless breasts and wailing, “We’ve done you wrong! How can we atone for our sins?” Don’t, of course, hold your breath. To date, only a few local politicians have shown an interest in the cause, and none have embraced it as a campaign issue as next year’s elections draw near. I guess that’s to be expected, given the way the protesters have been depicted, along with the scatter-gun approach of complaints; in my visit to Zuccotti Park I probably read at least 40 different slogans, some hand-made on torn pieces of cardboard, others carefully lettered on symmetrical poster board.
Yet the power of what’s being said that’s finally directed toward the corruption and greed only blocks away is undeniable and very pointed. And more, it’s persistent. And still more, no one is arguing about it. Just methodology and often, the appearance of the protesters — you don’t see a lot of neckties and suits — which, as always, seems to allow the general public to assume a rude conspiracy and, OMG, socialism! Thankfully, as the movement continues a better recognition of the bottom-line message is being understood and gaining weight.
What remains to be seen is how that message will move ahead. Since the demonstrations in New York and other northern cities will be hampered by colder weather, as pictures this weekend from snow-covered tents in Zuccotti Park suggested, there may be a lessening of the efforts. But for sure, as the campaigns move into high gear in the spring, look for a resurgence, with still greater strength.
I could be wrong on this, but I expect at least a couple of candidates to make attempts to identify with the rage as a way to point the finger at the bad guys. Among other things, the graphic impact is there to exploit, even as it being used now by the OWS people; in my three days at the encampment I was never turned down for pictures (well, there was one guy at some distance who flipped me off, even as I missed the shot), nor a reluctance to talk. Really, it was a reporter’s dream, and it made sense because getting their message across is precisely the point, which they completely recognized.
So they’re not going away, and what they hope to accomplish in the end game…well, let’s see how they do, with whom and for whom. For now, again, it’s a matter of making a very loud noise and creating some excitement, and they’ve definitely accomplished that.
Enough…for the time being.