Category: Your Opinion Matters

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street began in September of 2011 in the financial district of New York City. The intent of the protest was to expose the corrupt agenda of the “One-Percenters” – the richest 1% of people in the nation. In essence, the movement was originally designed to “…expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.”1 At the inception of Occupy Wall Street, the protesters demanded a separation of money from politics. Since September protests have occurred in many cities across the United States, and as the movement has grown so have the agendas of the protesters.

From what I’ve been able to determine, many protesters believe that the wealthy are dictating laws, elections, foreign and domestic economic policy, and world trade policy. Essentially, they believe that “those with the money make the rules.” Occupiers claim to support the “99-Percenters” who believe that the distribution of wealth is adversely affecting the economy. Some feel those people possessing high interest mortgages and properties that are “underwater” should be compensated or accommodated because it was the condition of the economy that caused their financial problems. Others think that the rich should bear a greater share of the tax load, as well as possess a social responsibility toward those less fortunate. Some believe that the world should go to a single currency and global tax rate, and that the United States should become an egalitarian society. Most also believe that those who attained or enhanced their wealth during this downturn – aided by the recent economic bail-outs and other bills and practices that were initially supposed to help, but in the end adversely affected the economy – should be held legally responsible for the way things are today.

Like most people, the only exposure I’ve really had to Occupy Wall Street is through the news and the internet. I haven’t joined a protest, and I don’t know anyone who has joined a protest. All I know is that people are angry about the condition of the economy, and they’re trying to get someone’s attention. Personally, I am confused about what the protesters are trying to accomplish. According to the debates and discussions being aired and printed, it sounds like the protesters are confused themselves. Occupy Wall Street has come under ridicule and scrutiny for not having a clear, established, aligned agenda, nor a list of demands that they insist be met. They just appear to want to gather in front of public buildings and be noticed. The movement grew quickly, and with unfocused demands and nebulous goals, Occupy Wall Street became a vehicle of convenience for any agenda supported by the inhabitants of that community.

In general, people used to be sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street cause, and agreed with their methods and their intent. After all, we all agree that conditions as they stand now need to be changed for the positive. Now, sympathy has been reduced to the mocking banter of late night talk show hosts. The common impression is that OWS’ers are a bunch of people in their twenties who are lazy, entitled, and still living with their parents. They don’t want to earn the money to support the lifestyle they desire; instead, they want to be taken care of by the people who have a greater amount of wealth. They protest that they are inheriting an economy that actively prevents them from enjoying their own success, and the level of success enjoyed by their forebears. They feel that in past decades it was much easier to attain the level of living that they want to enjoy, and that they have to put in twice as much work to attain half as much financial security. To the people who are currently working two and three jobs, going to school, paying their bills, and not asking for subsistence, that just smacks of whining by the immature.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters completely lost my sympathy when they started getting violent. There have been deaths related to drug use, street fights, sexual assaults, damage to private and public property, robbery, and violence between protesters and law enforcement.2 Tent cities have been erected to support the protesters, which include catered meals, blankets and cots, and even live entertainment – in my opinion, the whole thing has just turned into a big block party. The protesters living in these “villages” enjoy food and shelter for free, while claiming that congregating together provides them with the support and solidarity they need to have “some good discussions.”3 But they contradict their own purported morals by scrutinizing and questioning attendees to make sure the homeless of the area aren’t taking advantage of the amenities the tent cities are providing.

The protesters shut down the United States’ fifth-largest shipping port4, and disrupted other businesses, which adversely affect hard-working citizens who are employed there, for whom they are supposed to be protesting. They negatively impact the fragile economy of the cities and states they are supposed to be fighting for. There has been word of protesters being paid to protest, and the movement is now making money by selling t-shirts and other merchandise. That, to me, just seems like they are taking advantage of the opportunity to make a quick buck while the bandwagon still rolls.

My question is this: would the combined efforts of so many people be better channeled elsewhere? I completely support our right to Freedom of Speech, and our right to gather in protest. But if the protesters put as much effort into bettering their own circumstances as they have in just complaining about them, would they be in a better place now than they were three months ago when this all started? I wonder how effective staging a protest is in this day and age. It seems to me that the people on Wall Street and The Hill will continue to make the decisions they’re going to make, regardless of the number of people shouting and picketing outside their door. If they could demonstrate any level of real progress that has been achieved in the past three months, I might see the merit in this activity. However, the definition of insanity is to do something over and over again while expecting different results. If things aren’t getting better, it’s time to try something else. They’ve gotten as much press time as they’re going to get by now. By continuing on, they’re making it seem like they just don’t know how to deliver a firm message. One thing is for sure, if the protesters of Occupy Wall Street keep committing acts of violence, and continue to contradict their own message by negatively impacting the lives of the “99 Percenters” who don’t choose to protest, they’ll very effectively derail their own movement.

[1] n.d. About Occupy Wall Street (online), 11/7/2011. Occupy Wall Street Website. http://occupywallst.org/about/
[2] November 12, 2011. Officials crack down on Occupy Wall Street camps around the country (online), 11/12/11. The Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/1112/Officials-crack-down-on-Occupy-Wall-Street-camps-around-the-country
[3] November 10, 2011. 40 Portraits From Occupy Wall Street: Tent City (online), 11/12/11. The New York Observer. http://www.observer.com/2011/11/portraits-from-occupy-wall-street-tent-city-slideshow/
[4] November 3, 2011. Occupy Oakland Protesters Shut Down City’s Port (online), 11/12/11. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/11/occupy-oakland-protesters-shut-down-citys-port/

———-

I’d really like to hear the opinions of my readers, those of you who live in the US and those of you who live in other countries. What do you think of the Occupy movement? Are you fired up? Do you completely disagree with me? Do you absolutely agree with me? Do you give a flying phooey?

NaBloPoMo 2011

One break, coming up.

Granny and me, circa 1978-ish.

Granny and me, circa 1978-ish.

I’m not caught up. But I’m less behind than I was, so I consider that good enough to take a break. Plus yesterday Bill was all, “Why don’t you update more often? I don’t know what’s going on in our lives!”

Dear Bill,

We’re still married. No plans to alter that status. You have a cute butt.

Love,
Tiff

———-

Did I mention this? I don’t remember. Bill is going to Chicago in May for a 10-day training extravaganza that encompasses a weekend. Normally his training is such that he flies out on a Sunday night or Monday morning, and is back home by Friday evening. This go-around he’s flying out on a Tuesday and not coming home until the following Friday. How do I say that? Not the next Friday after that Tuesday, but the one after that. Anyway. Yeah. Ten days.

So! I spied with my little eye a chance to visit Heather, plus dork around with my husband in a fun city for a weekend, and perchance stroll along The Magnificent Mile. The plan at the moment is to fly out on Thursday to meet him in Chicago, and hang there until Monday morning.

Then I got ambitious with my bad self. My husband rightfully requested that he not be dragged to Maine again for vacation this year. Not that he dislikes Maine vacations, but we did that last year, and back in ’07, and he’d like to do something different with his limited time off. So, since I have more vacation time than he does, I’m going to take advantage of his forced away-ness to steal away to Maine for a handful of days. I’ll be in Chicago from Thursday to Monday, then fly from Chicago to Maine. I’ll stay with my uncle until Friday or Saturday, then fly back to Arizona.

The main intent of getting back to Maine this year (other than seeing family and friends and eating lobster and crab legs and italian sandwiches, of course) is to scan all of the old family photographs that have been mouldering in the basement for decades. Uncle Fred brought them out during our visit last summer and I was absolutely STRUCK with the NEED to get them scanned as soon as possible. One, they’re fading away. Two, my uncle is the last person on Earth who knows who most of the folks in those photos are – he’s over seventy now, rides his Harley on cross-COUNTRY excursions every year (and crashed it a couple of years ago), and insists on climbing up on the roof to shovel off the snow. Not to be morbid, but… anyway. Yeah. Time’s a-wastin’.

Bill would be the opposite of entertained, sitting there in my uncle’s kitchen for days as I scanned and asked, “Who’s that guy?” over each photo. Frankly, the prospect delights me. It’s Grandma’s house. Grandma’s kitchen table. Grandma’s albums. Grandma’s handwriting on the back of the photos. Sleeping in my old room. Visiting my old neighbors. Eating Simone’s cooking (my uncle’s girlfriend). If all I do is drive there from the airport, and not leave again until it’s time to drive back to the airport, I’ll still be a happy, happy girl.

That three-leg trip deal isn’t exciting me, though. The older I get the less patient I am with air travel.

———-

We’re still trying to figure out the vacation plans for the remainder of the year. I know I talked about heading to the Formula 1 race in Canada, but I think we’re just going to wait until 2012 when Formula 1 hits Austin. MotoGP in Indianapolis is booked for August 25-29 (the race is the 26th-28th), save for the flights and rental car, and we’re toying with the idea of tacking on a handful of days after the race to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. We could drive from Indianapolis to the northern point of the Parkway in Virginia (about an eight and a half hour drive if we’re taking it at a straight shot), then take our time over several days following it south for 469 miles to where it ends in North Carolina. Maybe even rent a motorcycle.

Here’s what I’m wondering, though. Just HOW BAD is the weather (heat, humidity, etc) in Virginia and North Carolina during the last week of August/first week of September? Do any of you guys know?

I love tossing in questions at the end of an entry, just to see if you guys made it down this far.

Hell. Road. Good intentions. Whatnot.

I’m off work this week (AcronymCo, that is), which of course means I have a honey-do list (self-imposed, that is) a mile long. The very first order of business, though, is to venture forth and purchase a new coffee pot. I broke the carafe last night while getting the coffee ready for the morning, and as anyone who has ever done the same thing knows, it’s just easier to buy a whole new coffee pot than try to track down a replacement carafe.

I recall promising Bill that I’d get up with him and run out to the nearby Dunkin Donuts to procure some coffee for him to have with his morning paper (he’s as routine-oriented about his morning cup as I am), but what I DON’T recall is the alarm going off this morning. I woke up when he kissed me goodbye. Ah, well. Hell. Road. Good intentions. Whatnot.

I got up at 6:45, brewed a cup of tea and toasted some rye, and spent the next hour-ish balancing the checkbook and doing a spot of financial planning for the new year. I always approach such tasks with dread, and then feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when it’s over. Stupendously enough, we’re still in the black and didn’t put ANY of our Christmas on credit cards. Go us! That’s a first, I’m pretty sure.

On deck: doodie duty. And major, epic grocery shopping. And wrapping Bill’s presents – I got the kids’ out of the way yesterday. And folding laundry before it gets too far ahead of me. Clearly, I know how to LIVE IT UP when I’m on vacation.

As an aside, how many of you have seen the original True Grit, the one with John Wayne? When I expressed interest in seeing the remake in theaters, Bill waxed enthusiastic and said we’d have to watch the original first. Make a day of it – watch the original at home (I bought it from Amazon, should be here any day now), go have lunch, watch the new one at the nearby AMC. Sounds like fun to me.

As an additional aside, we watched “The A Team” this weekend – twice. I was a HU-YOOGE fan of the TV show when I was little. I don’t know why, but I was completely and thoroughly entertained by this movie. I mean, utterly. Especially by the cameo appearances by the original “Face” and the original “Murdock” at the very end. The VERY end, after the credits – the brief clips that only the die-hard theater-goers (or at-home fast-forwarders) get to see. I’ve taken to fast forwarding past all the credits in every movie we watch, now, just in case there’s an extra tidbit at the end.

Do you guys do that, too?

Older Posts